Olympia Harbor Days Changes Course

The South Sound Maritime Heritage Association Board of Directors announces a late schedule change for Olympia Harbor Days Lite, a scaled-down version of its popular 48 year-old tugboat festival.  The event will now be offered as a 1-day only event on Saturday, September 4, from 10 am to 5 pm at the Port of Olympia’s Port Plaza Park, with companion online safe at home activities on their website running from 8/28 through 9/6, according to SSMHA President Don Chalmers. Note that Sunday, September 5 has been cancelled and is replaced by Olympia Harbor Days participation in the LoveOly Summer Fest finale on Saturday, August 28 with a booth, displays and mini tugs on.  All events are free, donations accepted, and organizers request all attendees to be masked and adhere to social distancing for the safety of the community.

The September 4 event will feature a few information booths, mini tug displays, a hands on LEGO Harbor Build Activity for the kids including the professional building and display of a 5’ by 4’ LEGO tugboat, a free custom LEGO Tugboat giveaway drawing, some live music and plenty of photo ops.  The award winning Hands on Children’s Museum will also host a booth offering a make, race and take tugboat activity.  And be sure to catch the display and demonstrations in a 30’ x 24’ pool of remote controlled tugboats.  This year’s event will not include any tugboat touring, tugboat races, vendor or food booths.

Members of SS Maritime Heritage Association will be on hand to share the restoration history of Tugboat Parthia, a new attraction and shelter coming next year adjacent to the Farmers Market.  This display will be part of the National Parks Service state designation of Maritime Washington – National Heritage Area opening in 2023.

The Washington’s Lottery Tower Stage at the Port Plaza will feature local musicians on September 4 including Choro Tomorrow, Cool Breeze, Cosmos Dream, the Terry Ness Band and the Samba Olywa troupe dressed as pirates.  The music schedule is posted at www.HarborDays.com.

All events will offer maps for the year-round Maritime Heritage Self-Guided Tour along Olympia’s boardwalk, including the Olympia Arts + Heritage Alliance “It’s the Water” outdoor exhibit on the windows of the old city hall and fire station.  A one-time only narrated tour by local historian and author Chuck Fowler and City of Olympia Arts and Events Program Manager Stephanie Johnson is also offered on September 4th starting at 10 AM at the Port Plaza.  Again masking and social distancing required.

The Olympia Harbor Days Lite online event features at home self-guided activities including how to build a LEGO Tugboat, historic photos, an at home sing-a-long and more at www.HarborDays.com starting August 28.  

“SS Maritime Heritage Association, despite a number of continuing challenges, is pleased to present these community health-conscious Lite events, with special thanks of support from our community sponsors” said Chalmers.  “As the founding organization, we want to keep this nearly 50-year working waterfront-focused festival alive in preparation for a full version in 2022.” The maritime heritage nonprofit is continuing to operate the event after the Olympia Kiwanis Club had presented it from 2012 – 2019.

For almost a half century, Olympia Harbor Days has been a locally-sponsored free family friendly maritime themed festival with tugboats, historic ships, booth vendors, food, music, educational classes, children’s activities and more, held each Labor Day Weekend.