By Chris Henry
PORT ORCHARD — Little has changed in the Fathoms O’ Fun Festival over 45 years. True the carnival skipped town in 2009 and has yet to return, but there’s still the quaint frog jump and snake race. There’s music to dance to and plenty of sticky sweets to consume.
The festival’s Grand Parade, nicknamed by organizers the “Granddaddy of Parades”, still includes 112 entries. The parade, sponsored by Columbia Bank, is set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at Port Orchard Boulevard and wind its way along Bay Street.
This year’s entries include the usual bevy of pageant royalty, public officials and candidates who hope to become public officials. Dancers, horseback riders, gymnasts and high steppers will take to the streets along with marching bands and other musicians. One of the more unusual musical entries is the Mullenix Ridge Screaming Eagles Pennywhistle Band. The crowd no doubt will hear them coming from blocks away.
The parade will feature floats and classic cars, biker brigades and pets on the march. Nearly last but far from least will be Billy the Bull, the Mattress Ranch mascot.
The festival includes a craft and vendor show sponsored by Clearwater Casino Resort that runs Friday through Sunday.
The fun continues on Wednesday with the Fourth of July Grand Fireworks Show over Sinclair Inlet. The display, sponsored by Wave Broadband, will be visible from downtown Port Orchard, Beach Drive and the Bremerton side of the inlet.
Here’s the lineup:
6:30 p.m. Friday: Concert in the waterfront gazebo.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday: Port Orchard Farmer’s Market, on the waterfront
Noon Saturday: Frog jump and snake races (BYO critters). Watch Fathoms royalty kiss a frog.
6 p.m.: Grand Parade
Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday: Puppet shows at the gazebo.
Ponies and children’s activities all weekend.
Noon to 10:30 p.m. Wednesday (Fourth of July): Concerts at the Gazebo
10:30 p.m.: Grand Fireworks Show
Fathoms O’ Fun is a volunteer-run organization. Beside the summer festival, it hosts a scholarship pageant and Concerts by the Bay. For information, visit www.fathomsofun.org.