Port Orchard’s Seagull Calling Contest may be the only event at
which bribery of local officials is not only tolerated but openly
All rules and decorum are deep-sixed at the annual spectacle on the Port Orchard waterfront, in which mayors, fire chiefs and county commissioners have in past years stood in judgement of the most authentic call, best costume and most seagulls landed. The contest, now in its 24th year, will be part of this year’s Kitsap Harbor Festival, Saturday through Monday on both sides of Sinclair Inlet.
The seagull calling takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday, preceded at 11 a.m. by a “Seagull” Wings Cook-off. The birdbrained events are one small slice of a Memorial Day weekend crammed with nautical-themed fun. The Harbor Festival is sponsored by the Port of Bremerton with help from merchants, booster groups and city officials in Bremerton and Port Orchard, both with marinas operated by the port. The two towns are linked by the Kitsap Transit Foot Ferry, which operates seven days a week throughout the summer.
Steve Slaton, the port’s director of marine facilities, describes the Harbor Festival as the first of two “bookends” for the summer boating season, with the second bookend being Bremerton’s Blackberry Festival over Labor Day. As with the Blackberry Festival the Bremerton Boardwalk will be brimming with activity, including vendors, food booths and a beer garden with live entertainment. Over in Port Orchard, the Farmers Market will operate on both Saturday and Sunday for this weekend only. The Port Orchard Bay Street Association is sponsoring its own beer garden, with a separate root beer garden for kids and teetotalers.
Back this year are the Kitsap Car Cruz (Saturday on Pacific Avenue in Bremerton), an arts and antique show (Saturday on the newly repaved Fourth Street in Bremerton), and the Kitsap Harbor Regatta sailing races, both days on Sinclair Inlet. New this year is a Motorcycle Cruz (Sunday on Pacific Avenue).
Port Orchard’s Murder Mystery Weekend, hosted this year by Fathoms ‘O Fun, will spill over to Bremerton, with pirates and other characters from the interactive game roaming both towns. Contestants gather clues to solve the crime. Winners are announced at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Port Orchard.
Also new this year, the Seafair Pirates will invade both towns, drumming up excitement for Seattle’s Seafair Aug. 1 through 5.
In recognition of Kitsap County’s military heritage — and the true meaning of Memorial Day — there will be a historic military vehicle display in Bremerton on Saturday. And on Sunday an ensemble of the Navy Band Northwest will play traditional music from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Bremerton waterfront.
On Monday, the local chapter of the Navy League will host a Memorial Day service at 10 a.m. aboard the USS Turner Joy, on the Bremerton waterfront.
For a complete schedule of events, visit kitsapharborfestival.com.