Full sails ahead for Drayton Harbor Days this weekend

Published on Fri, Jul 31, 2009 by Jack Kintner

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Good weather, tall ships, sailboat races and steamboat parades with a calliope playing music that can be heard from Ferndale to Spuzzum (or Tsawwassen). A hilarious amateur raft race through the marina. Games and treasure hunts for the kids. A costume contest and an arts fair.

All this and more should draw you and yours to the Blaine waterfront and downtown this weekend for the annual Drayton Harbor Days festival.

Both Saturday and Sunday the Northwest Steam Society will have an array of steamboats docked for public viewing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Blaine Harbor, 235 Marine Drive, at gate two.

The steamboat parades are set for Saturday at 12:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. Piano maestro Don Stagg will be at the keyboard and believe me, you can hear this guy everywhere.

Downtown activities will begin at 10 a.m. and include children’s games, a treasure hunt, arts and crafts fair, a motorcycle show and shine, a merchant’s sidewalk sale and Caribbean-themed costume contest.

The prestigious George Raft Race will commence at 11 a.m. (not one o’clock as reported last week) at the Blaine Harbor public boat launch ramp and will conclude under the ramp at gate two. All are welcome to join in the raft race.

Rules state that the rafts need to be homemade, out of recycled materials. The first place winner will take home for one year the prestigious George Raft Trophy currently held by Blaine’s Tommy Ryser.

Drayton Harbor Maritime’s community sailing school will be holding its second annual West Marine community sailing regatta using the school’s three-meter Clancy sailboats.

The course runs around “Monkey Island” in the inner harbor at the Blaine Harbor just west of Gate three. Racing begins at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Tall ships arrived Tuesday
This year plans came together for the tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain to be here for the duration. They arrived in Blaine Tuesday afternoon to the sound of cannon fire and will be in port at the Blaine Harbor.

The ships will be open for tours on these dates and times: Thursday, July 30, 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, July 31, 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. followed by a three-hour romantic sunset sail at 6 p.m.

During Drayton Harbor Days, held on Saturday and Sunday August 1 and 2, the ships will welcome visitors from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A three-hour family-oriented adventure sail is scheduled for 10 a.m. August 2.

The Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain will also face off in two Battle Sails, which feature booming cannon and close-quarters maneuvers.

The cannons are fired with black powder and are very loud even though they’re just five-pounders (fire a five-pound ball). When you hear them, imagine what it must have been like on a British man of war at sea, firing 120 or so thirty-pound cannons all at once. Battle sails are set for 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, August 1 and 2.
Tickets for the sunset sail and adventure sail are $55 for adults, $45 students, seniors, and active military, and $35 for children under 12. Tickets for the Battle Sails are $60 adults, $50 students, seniors, and active military, and $40 for children under 12.

A limited number of space available tickets can be purchased at the ships, but to guarantee your place tickets are available online at www.ladywashington.org or by calling 800/200-5239. For more information, call 360/332-4544.
Drayton Harbor Days schedule of events:

Saturday, August 1
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tall ships dockside tours and sailings in Blaine Harbor
• Sea scouts demonstrations and boat tours, gate two
• Steam boat displays and Don Stagg’s calliope music, gate two
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Arts & Crafts and food vendors, downtown
• Noon to 3 p.m. Motorcycle Show & Shine downtown
• 11 a.m. The Prestigious George Raft Race from the boat launch on Milhollin Drive to the ramp at gate two.
• Noon to 8 p.m. Historic Plover rides, board at gate two
• 12:15 p.m. Steamboat Parade off gate two
• 1 p.m. West Marine Sailing Regatta at gate three
• 3:30 p.m. Caribbean costume contest judging, Kids’ treasure hunt prize drawing, prize drawings for Smuggler’s Inn B&B gift certificate and more, H Street Plaza.
Sunday, August 2
• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tall ships dockside tours and sailings
• Steamboat displays and Don Stagg’s calliope music, gate two
• 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Historic Plover rides, board at gate two