By Katelyn Doggett
The Drayton Harbor Days festival returns this year on Saturday and Sunday, August 1–2, offering fun for the entire family. The festival is held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at the Blaine Boating Center located at 235 Marine Drive.
The festival has been held annually since 2002 and attracts a few thousand people from all over the county and surrounding areas, said Blaine Visitor Information Center coordinator Carroll Solomon. The festival plays up the location at the marina by loosely following a pirate theme.
“The festival brings people down to the marina and shows them what it has to offer while being a fun, family event with hands-on activities and educational exhibits for both kids and adults,” Solomon said.
The biggest change to this year’s festival is that the two tall ships, Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain, won’t be available for festival attendees to tour. The ships normally travel up and down the west coast and make a stop in Blaine for the festival, but this year they are sailing the Columbia River, Solomon said. Festival organizers are working to bring the ships back next year.
The festival starts off with the 15th annual Run to the Border 5k, which begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at Marine Park. The route follows along the water, through the Peace Arch and back to the marina. Run to the Border also features a 1-mile kids fun run around the marina. Register online at letsmoveblaine.org or at the park the morning of the run.
The festival this year will feature 45 food and arts and crafts vendors, kids games and crafts, a treasure hunt, a bounce house, a pirate costume contest, a model boat display and vintage steamboats.
The historic Plover ferry will also be running. On Saturday night the community can enjoy a free showing of “The Goonies” at Marine Park.
Each year the Prestigious George Raft Race is part of the festival. Participants make a handmade raft out of scrap materials and paddle it from one side of the marina to the other. The winner of the race receives a trophy, and anyone can enter.
“This year’s Prestigious George Raft Race is going to be more spectacular than ever because of the new entries and the fierce rivalry between my team, Bob’s Catnap, and Captain Sturgill’s team, the Salishan Black Bear,” said Bob Knapp, who started the raft race 14 years ago.
“This annual struggle between these two major competitors will continue until there is an unequivocal winner or when one of us is dead,” Knapp said.
On Sunday participants can enter his or her pet in a contest. Previous years’ entries have included many dogs and cats, and even a duck. Some people choose to dress their pet up as a pirate in honor of the festival. Solomon said there will be prizes for the winners.
Prizes for the various contests will be gift cards to local restaurants and businesses, passes to the Birch Bay Waterslides and donations from local businesses.
For more details contact the Blaine Visitor Information Center at 360/332-4544, the Blaine Harbormaster’s Office at 360/332-1042 or visit blainechamber.com/annual-events.