Fathoms O’ Fun Committee Addresses Merchant Concerns

The Port Orchard City Council on Monday addressed concerns on the part of some local merchants about the annual Fathoms O’ Fun Festival, set for June 30 through July 4. Fathoms O’ Fun, now in its 40th year, includes a carnival, parade and other events.
Mallory Jackson, president of the Port Orchard Bay Street Association, in a letter to the council, said her business, Bay Street Custom Framing, and others have been “negatively impacted” by the carnival.
Jackson complained about loss of parking spaces behind Amy’s on the Bay restaurant, where the carnival set up last year. She also complained about garbage left in private parking lots and on city sidewalks, and about security.
“Last year several merchants voiced serious concerns about carnival personnel shoplifting, using vulgar language and drinking alcoholic beverages in public,” wrote Jackson. “It is our hope that this year’s carnival employees will be more respectful to our business community and our patrons.”


Judd Turner, a long time volunteer with Fathoms, addressed Jackson’s concerns before the council. The festival committee has been working with the city council and the Port Orchard Police Department to head off any potential problems with this year’s event, he noted.
On the issue of parking, Turner said the carnival will not occupy the lot behind Amy’s as it did last year, leaving more spaces available for downtown shoppers and festival patrons.
On the issue of garbage, Jessie Turner said the festival committee contracts with the carnival to clean up their own garbage, and committee members check on the site regularly.
“We will continue to work with our carnival folks to make sure they abide by their contract with us,” she said.
Port Orchard Police Chief Al Townsend spoke to the issue of security, saying the number of incident reports did not increase significantly during the carnival. “In comparison to other years they were very similar,” he said. “We received very few complaints last year.”
He advised merchants with concerns about the conduct of carnival employees (or patrons) to notify the police department immediately.
Jackson wrote that “most merchants” responding to questionnaires after last year’s carnival “noted a considerable loss of revenue/sales during the lengthy run of this event.”
Fathoms runs from the last Saturday in June through the 4th of July. Judd Turner said that, because of the calendar, last year’s carnival ran for an unusually long time, which may have added to the merchants’ sense of being impacted by the event. This year’s festival will cover fewer days, he said.
Not all downtown merchants share Jackson’s take on the carnival. Rudy Swensen of Rings & Things said his business is farther away from the carnival than Jackson’s, so he may not be as directly affected, still, “I don’t think they should take such a hard line against the festival, which has been in our community forever.”.

12 thoughts on “Fathoms O’ Fun Committee Addresses Merchant Concerns

  1. If we could see some community support for South Kitsap Park becoming a Kitsap County Park-it would be an ideal location for Fathoms of Fun Festival! Kitsap transit could pick people up from various places around South Kitsap and it would take care of most of the problems the merchants complain of.

  2. “(The South Kitsap Park) would be an ideal location for Fathoms of Fun Festival”.

    Hmmm…Not a bad idea. People could park at the SK Mall if there were regular shuttles to the park. Maybe even have a shuttle run to Bay Street to provide potential business for the downtown merchants.

    That seems like a reasonable solution regardless of who has stewardship.

  3. I don’t believe that SK Community Park needs to be owned by the County for the Fathoms o’ Fun carnival to be held there.

  4. I would think any business adversely affected by a large community event, would close down. Or come up with a bright idea to bring people into the business and gain revenue, not lose it.
    I’ve seldom heard business owners complain about too many people…
    have heard lots of comments about not enough help to take care of the business.

  5. Melissa -Kitsap County has the resources SKPRD never had because voters chose not to pass levy’s to maintain and operate it. Do you remember how hard it was to put on the Folk Fest? Did you forget the lack of interest for the Sunday Concerts at the SK Park. With resources available only through Kitsap County our SK Park will recieve a long needed face lift and with it opportunities for SK residents to help design this jewel of a park- for recreational as well as leisure time activities.

  6. The Fathom’s o’ Fun carnival committee could use the park without the physical help of either the SK Parks Board or the County. They coordinate cleaning, advertisement, security, etc., so these burdens do not fall on the stewards of the park.

    The problem is visibility concerning the fireworks show, distance from downtown and the foot ferry that brings in Bremerton visitors, and transportation to the park.

    The transportation issue could be addressed by using Kitsap Transit vehicles in a circuitous route between designated parking lots and downtown Port Orchard, but that leaves the fireworks show concern. I have been talking to my fellow Soroptimist Jessie Turner about this, and tend to agree with Sharon that the best answer is to try and work with the downtown merchants for an outcome that benefits them, yet keeps the carnival downtown.

    Concerning SK Park itself, I still believe that the County does not need to have “ownership” to be a supportive associate to the citizens of South Kitsap, SKPRD, and the Chuck Jeu Foundation.

  7. Once again, I need to remind you that there is a document called the Interlocal Agreement between the SKPRD and Kitsap County that spells out how the two municipal organizations are to work together. Yes, the SKPRD floundered without tax support, but we have been paying taxes to Kitsap County for years, why didn’t any of our SK County Commissioners step up and offer needed support. Even help with grant writing and professional planning would have been welcome. The SKPRD is not at fault alone for its lack of stewardship. The County is as well.

  8. Pointing fingers, excuses for non performance, the ‘blame game’ wastes time and siphons energy.
    Move on…do the job…never mind who ‘shoulda’ …get moving…
    Sharon O’Hara

  9. Are you really suggesting putting all those amusement rides at the Park? Does anyone really see that as safe and environmentally sound? I’ll have to do some research, but I remember a spill of some kind that was environmentally damaging. Amusement parks of this type fit at fairgrounds that are designed for that type of thing, but a park as beautiful and green as this one? I think not.

  10. No-I didn’t mean take the the amusement rides to the park. I meant change “Festivals By the Bay” into “Fathoms of Fun at the Park.” The “Cruise” could still go on downtown as a seperate event but the festival/Vendor sales could take place at the park with entertainers on stage with music and dancers, 3 on 3 basketball tournaments,soccer and football competitions, dunking booths, Rock climbing apparatus, air-filled jumping “toys.”We could fill the park with activities for several days.

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