Yachts, fishing and funnel cake — that’s what’s in store at the Edmonds Waterfront Festival this weekend.
The 31st annual festival is June 1-3 at the Port of Edmonds Marina. It’s the first of three major events in the city from June through August, including the Edmonds Art Festival (June 15-17) and A Taste of Edmonds (Aug. 10-12).
The waterfront festival, hosted by the Edmonds Rotary Club and Edmonds Daybreakers, typically draws more than 10,000 people. Plenty of entertainment is on tap for everyone, including heaps of kids’ activities that make it popular with families.
Young couples pushing strollers through the marina were hard to miss last year, festival director Valerie Claypool said.
“It was really unbelievable,” she said. “I love seeing the young parents bringing their children to the festival.”
The kids’ area includes carnival games, face painting, inflatable obstacle courses, a bungee trampoline, a climbing wall and a paintball gallery. Kids can get up close and personal with a python, alligator and other creatures at a reptile show or crawl inside a 25-foot fiberglass fish to learn about local watersheds.
The Beatniks, The Afrodiasiacs and Nite Wave are among the bands that will play classic rock, disco and retro music on the main stage. The stage is near the festival’s beer and wine garden.
The SeaJazz Big Band, consisting of high school jazz musicians from the Edmonds area, will perform at 3 p.m. Friday on the family stage; the band is also performing at the Port of Edmonds Public Plaza on Saturday and Sunday.
Fifteen food booths on “Food Row” will serve everything from bratwurst and macaroni and cheese to gyros and garlic shrimp, while arts and craft vendors will show and sell pottery, paintings, jewelry and other artwork.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a waterfront festival without boats and fishing.
About 20 vintage yachts will be berthed at the marina as part of the 13th annual Classic Yacht Display, sponsored by the Pacific Northwest Classic Yacht Association. The boats were built as early as 1928 and are up to 73 feet long.
There will also be hydroplanes — among the fastest boats in the world — on display.
The Willow Creek Fish Hatchery, just down the road on Pine Street, is offering free fishing for kids from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Shuttle transportation will be available.
The Edmonds Waterfront Festival 5K Fun Run is at 9 a.m. June 2, beginning and ending at the Edmonds Civic Playfield at 310 Sixth Ave. N. Proceeds from the race will be donated to Washington Kids in Transition, a volunteer organization that provides for homeless children.
Craig Cooke, the festival’s entertainment director, said this year’s goal was to make the 31st event as family-friendly as possible.
“The people who go, they’re just looking for a new experience,” Cooke said.
The festival is the youngest of Edmonds’ three summertime events. It began as a swap meet between boat owners in a parking lot on Admiral Way led by the Port of Edmonds. Over time, it became an attraction that demanded more effort and resources than the port’s staff could manage.
The port handed the reins over to the Rotary Club of Edmonds, which had turned it into a bona-fide festival by the mid-1990s.
This is the third year the Edmonds Rotary Club and Edmonds Daybreakers have teamed up to host the event. All proceeds support the Rotary Clubs’ programs and services, including funding college scholarships, transitional housing for women and their children, and international water projects.
Jim Blossey, who directed the festival in the early 1990s, is proud the festival is about more than entertainment.
“Franky, I’m impressed, I’m astounded and I’m not the least bit surprised,” said Blossey, a member of the Edmonds Daybreakers. “This community is unbelievable for its support for things like that.”
Dave Earling, mayor of Edmonds, echoed Blossey’s sentiments.
“It’s one of the ways in which we build the identity of the community,” Earling said.
Evan Thompson; 360-544-2999, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
The Edmonds Waterfront Festival is June 1-3 at the Port of Edmonds Marina, 336 Admiral Way, Edmonds.
Parking is available at the Sound Transit/Amtrak lot, adjacent to 190 Sunset Restaurant, for a $10 fee. A free shuttle service will run every 45 minutes from 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Pick-up and drop-off locations are: Union Bank on Third Ave. S., Bank of America on Third and Main Street, and the Sound Transit rail station on Dayton Street.
Admission is $4. Kids ages 12 and younger get in free.
A full schedule of events and entertainers is at www.edmondswaterfrontfestival.org.