Tall ships coming to Blaine for Drayton Harbor Days

Published on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 by Steve Guntli

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The Drayton Harbor Days festival will take over Blaine Marina August 3 and 4 with food, arts and crafts, activities, races and an appearance by two famous tall ships. The festival draws an average of 3,000 visitors to Blaine each year.

The tall ships – Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain – are expected to be the main attraction, said Carroll Solomon of the Blaine Chamber of Commerce.

“Blaine is one of their most popular stops, since we’re so close to Canada and you can see the ships from White Rock,” said Solomon. “They book up so fast, so we recommend people start reserving tickets now.”

The ships will be on display in Blaine Marina on Sunday, August 4. The Lady Washington is the official ship of Washington state, and has been featured in movies such as the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Star Trek: Generations.”

Walk-on tours will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Lady Washington will set sail at 11 a.m. for an adventure sail, where families can learn to hoist the sails, sing sea shanties and take turns at the helm. Following that, the battle sail will let participants experience an authentic naval battle between the two ships, using real cannons, gunpowder and naval warfare tactics.

Tickets can be purchased online at historicalseaport.org. The adventure sail is $39 for all ages, and the battle sail ranges from $40 to $60.

The Prestigious George Raft Race is another big draw for Drayton Harbor Days. Participants race makeshift rafts made of found materials and row them through the marina. The race will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 3.

More than 40 vendors, with offerings ranging from food and arts and crafts to educational exhibits, will set up along the harbor all weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Food will be provided by Polynesia Rising, Joe’s Concessions, Pizza Factory, Excellent Kettle Corn and Surfing Pig Barbecue.

Runners can kick off Drayton Harbor Days in style at the 11th annual Run for the Border 5k race, Saturday, August 3 at 8:30 a.m. The race route runs from Marine Park through the Peace Arch and back. 

Kids can participate in the 1-mile Kids’ Fun Run around Marine Park at the same time. Runners can register at letsmoveblaine.org. Entry fees range from $6 to $20. 

Kids looking to live the pirate life can register for Pirate Daze, starting Saturday, August 3 at 10:30 a.m. in Marine Park. 

For $10, kids ages 7–12 will get to dig for treasure on Semiahmoo spit, learn authentic pirate songs, win prizes and make their own pirate costumes, which will be judged at the Blaine Boating Center at 2 p.m. 

Pre-registration for the event can be done online at nwparkandrec.org.

A ‘movie under the stars’ will be screened in Marine Park at 9 p.m. Saturday, August 3, weather permitting. In keeping with the nautical theme of the event, Steven Spielberg’s 1991 film “Hook” will be shown free of charge, courtesy of Paso del Norte restaurant.

Pet owners can bring their pets by the Blaine Boating Center at 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 4 for a pet contest. 

If your pet does an interesting trick, or just looks cute in a costume, it could stand to win one of several prizes donated by local Blaine businesses.

All of this will be supplemented by a pancake breakfast, museum exhibits, boat displays, games and scavenger hunts.

Drayton Harbor Days began unofficially in 1998 as the Plover Swim, a pledge race held to raise money for a boathouse for the Plover ferry. The following year, the event was held again under the name Plover Days. The current name, Drayton Harbor Days, was adopted in 2003.

Richard Sturgill, founding director of Drayton Harbor Maritime, which operates the Plover, said the new boathouse was paid for in five years, but the festival took on a life of its own.

“It’s been a great ride,” Sturgill said. “It’s gotten bigger every year, and now it’s one of the bigger events that Blaine has.”