arts and entertainment community
Name them “uncancelled.” Or “Third time is the charm”. Or just “back!”
They’re the festivals, concerts, fundraisers and other events returning this summer after being shut down for two years by the pandemic.
And each is a reason to celebrate.
The start of the Summer of Returns is the popular Maritime Gig Festival, which this year has the appropriate motto “Celebration”. The gig takes place the first weekend in June along the downtown waterfront, from the History Museum to Skansie Park.
The Chamber of Commerce-sponsored activities begin Saturday, June 4 at 7:30 am with yoga and a pancake breakfast from 8-10 am courtesy of the Kiwanis Club. A fun run and the Grande Gig Parade – complete with pirates, decorated floats and marching bands – complete the Saturday morning activities. Live music, food, kids’ stuff and local business stalls fill the afternoon.
Music starts at 10:00 am on Sunday and the Wheels on the Water car show opens at 11:00 am. The highlight of the day is the annual Fleet Blessing at 1pm when the local commercial fishing boats gather near Skansie Park. A priest from St. Nicholas Catholic Church blesses them in preparation for their trip to the Alaskan fishing grounds.
Some of the bands that take part in the Grande Parade and play on the gig stage also have concerts scheduled in June.
Harbor Winds Concert Band will take part in the parade on Saturday. Then on June 5th they will celebrate their return to public live performance with a Young Artists concert at Gig Harbor High School. The concert will feature several middle school musicians and a cello performance by GHHS student Leah Everling.
Harbor Winds is part of the Narrows Music Society, which also includes small ensembles like the Dixie Duster’s Dixieland band and the NMS Ceremonial Band (both playing at the gig on sunday noon). According to Corey Berman, NMS board chairman, the Ceremonial Band also performs on Memorial Day and other events. As with most other upcoming music events, Harbor Winds concerts are free and open to the public.
That Gig Harbor High School Band will march in the parade and then wrap up a near-normal year of performances with a Jazz Night Show on June 8 and the final concert on June 9, both beginning at 7 p.m. in the high school.
After a long break is the Gig Harbor Peninsula Civic Orchestra will be back in live performance mode with a free concert on June 11th at Peninsula High School. One of the area’s lesser-known artistic gems, GHPCO has been making music since 2004. Conductor Matthew Underwood, who also conducts the Peninsula Youth Orchestra, founded the orchestra.
That Peninsula Youth Orchestra will perform at the Maritime Gig on Saturday, June 4th at 1:30pm. Her spring concert on June 12 will be her first full-scale public concert in two years. The concert will take place at 3 p.m. at Peninsula High School, according to PYO executive director Noelle Brambila. Admission is free and places will be allocated based on availability. PYO’s String Camp will be held again this year, from August 15th to 19th at the Agnus Dei Church on Peacock Hill.
Sponsored by the city Summer sounds The concert series returns to Skansie Park on Tuesday, June 28 with Soul Searching, a cover band playing hits by Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley. The series continues every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. through August 30. The concerts are free; Seats are assigned based on availability. Visit the City of Gig Harbor website for information on saving seats.
Monday night movies, sponsored by the Film Festival, returns to the Galaxy Theaters on the last Monday of every month. Most begin at 6:30 p.m. according to Film Festival Executive Director Pam Holt.
The next film, scheduled for May 30th, is a special pre-screening of Small Town Wisconsin. Award-winning director Niels Mueller will answer questions after the screening.
The festival’s fundraising auction is also back in Canterwood after a three-year hiatus on July 1st. E-mail [email protected] for details.
And the film festival itself returns September 22-25 with 65 films including documentaries, shorts and full-length features. Several of the documentaries focus on Gig Harbor and Tacoma, Holt said.
Sponsored by the city Movies in the Park are in a new location. Every Friday in July, the city screens films at Sehmel Homestead Park. The first is Back to the Future on July 1st. Movies are free and most start at 8:30pm
groceries and flowers
That Waterfront Farmers Market returns to Skanise Park starting Thursday, June 2 with locally grown farm produce and specialties. New seller Chelsea Farms’ shellfish will join recurring favorites such as produce and freshly baked bread from A Simpler Past, as well as freshly cut flowers, homemade ice cream, wood-fired pizza, berries, honey, crafts, key lime pie and more, per Waterfront Alliance Special Projects Coordinator Josh Sherwin. There is also live music and cooking demonstrations every week. Opening times are every Thursday through August from 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
That garden tour takes place on June 25th and 26th after a two-year absence and will feature five gardens – including the community garden on Rosedale Street, three gardens on Fox Island and an additional appearance in the garden of one of the tour’s founders.
Garden Tour funds support literacy programs in the Gig Harbor-Key Peninsula community. In 2019, when the tour last ran, scholarships totaling $22,260 went to Minter Creek Elementary School, Peninsula Pediatric Therapy, three Little Free Libraries in downtown Gig Harbor, Voyager Elementary’s STEM program and Olalla Elementary School’s Outdoor Education Program to Tour Director Jan Reeder.
The tour also funded stationery for the Curious by Nature preschool and for the Pioneers classroom at the Harbor History Museum, new technology for the Harbor Heights Elementary School library, and supported middle school students attending a summer technology camp, she said.
In 2020, tour operators tapped into their rainy day funds to help several organizations weather the pandemic.
Yearbook of the Peninsula Art League Summer art festival returns to downtown Gig Harbor on July 16-17 after two years of COVID-related cancellations. The free festival features more than 100 artists and craftspeople. Food trucks, children’s activities, and a Literary Corner featuring local authors, poets, and illustrators are also part of the fun.
There will also be an exhibition of PAL members’ artwork in the lobby of Timberland Bank on Judson Street.
“We are very excited to bring the festival back after two years of cancellation,” said PAL President Colette Smith. “Times have been difficult and it seems that COVID is not done with us, but this is a time to appreciate and embrace the arts, as the arts promote well-being in our daily lives and bring us together as a community.”
Festival funds provide arts scholarships for local high school graduates and PAL members, and also support other community arts events.
A free shuttle service will take attendees from the medical center parking lot on Kimball Drive to the festival site.
Chalk the port will also be held on Harborview Drive on Saturday, July 16th. The Downtown Waterfront Alliance provides the chalk for this family-friendly event, and artistic talent is not required. Just a desire to grab a bucket of chalk and decorate downtown sidewalks with chalk art, Sherwin said.
Two of the most popular “events” at the Hafenhistorisches Museum – the Middle School Field trips and history rocks — are back, according to Stephanie Lile, the museum’s executive director.
The school is already fully booked on Thursdays and Fridays for the remainder of the school year. Some places are open on other days. Midway School gives students a taste of what it was like to visit a one-room schoolhouse in the 18th century.
history rock — the museum’s big annual fundraiser is back, too — with Jr. Cadillac providing the entertainment.
“We hope the third time is a stroke of luck as this is the third year we have booked Jr. Cadillac to perform a concert on the museum grounds. We had to cancel twice. But they always said yes to come back,” Lile said. “We’re thrilled to compile their 2022 gig schedule and bring this incredible, legendary group of musicians to Gig Harbor for the first…ever.”
Gig Harbor in mid-September Open workshop tour returns in full force as 16 artists open their studios to the public in Gig Harbor, Fox Island, Key Peninsula and South Kitsap. Some of the studios also host guest artists. A total of 23 artists are showing their work. The self-guided tour is free.
Also in September brings back the Asia Pacific Cultural Center ChuSeok, the Korean celebration of Harvest Moon. The free event at Skansie Park features food, games and entertainment.
Harbor WildWatch will resume its guided beach walks this summer in partnership with the KGI Watershed group. The schedule will be posted on the WildWatch website shortly.