2022 Rhody Week
Thanks to all those who have volunteered, we will be able to have our Rhody week events this year!
Download Grand Parade Application HERE
Download Grand Parade Application Rules HERE
Please return Rhody Grand Parade application no later than May 16th!
Become a Rhody Festival Sponsor! Click here to see sponsorship information.
Rhody Week Schedule of Events
May 18th – Trike Races
Ages 1–6 years—2–wheel bikes also allowed (with training wheels only) but must be 12” bikes or less!
Check–in & Assembly in front of City Hall on Water Street
Registration begins 5:00 pm—DON’T BE LATE!
Races begin at 6:00 pm – on Water St. from Madison to Monroe
May 19th – Pet Parade
Check–in & Assembly at Van Buren & Lawrence Streets
Registration begins 3:30 pm
No judging—everyone’s a winner!
Parade begins–4:30 pm: on Lawrence St. from Harrison to Quincy
May 20th – Kiddies Parade and Bed Races/Hair & Beard Contest
Check–in & Assembly at Rec Center, Lawrence & Tyler
Registration begins 2:00 pm
No judging—everyone’s a winner!
Parade begins–3:30 pm: Lawrence St. from appx. Quincy to Jackson. Left on Jackson to Chetzemoka Park.
HAIR & BEARD CONTEST
Registration at 5:15 pm & Judging 5:30 pm – Water St. at Legion
Check-in & Assembly at Water & Monroe Streets
Registration 5:30 pm & Judging 6:00 pm
Races begin at 6:30 pm: on Water St. from Monroe to Madison
May 21st – Rhody Grand Parade
8:00 am – 12 pm: Grand Parade registration at Visitor Center on Sims Way — Assembly uptown, per entry info
8 am – Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open – PT Golf Course
12:30pm – Sunrise Rotary ‘Running of the Balls’, Monroe Street
GRAND PARADE – Parade begins at 1 pm: Uptown to Downtown
3 – 7 pm – Rhody Run Registration – Arts Bldg., JeffCo Fairgrounds
4 – 7 pm – Spaghetti Feed at the Elks Lodge
9 am – Jim Caldwell Memorial Rhody Open – PT Golf Course
9 am – Rhody Run Begins – JeffCo Fairgrounds
10 am – 1pm – Sather Park open to public to view newly planted Pacific Rhododendrons
2022 Rhody Festival Update
Our community Rhododendron Festival is in dire need of more volunteers.
Without an infusion of new life and ideas, the town’s favorite festival will be no more. The carnival, coronations, parades, and supporting activities cannot happen without your help. If you are interested in volunteering, please submit a volunteer form: https://forms.gle/iUWsPL3Svyi9zAFd9
A Brief Festival History
In the good old days, the festival relied on service and business
organizations like Rotary, Kiwanis, Soroptimists, the Elks, and the Chamber, to help carry the logistical load of putting on the event. Covid’s impact on these organizations has further hindered Rhody Fest’s ability to recruit and retain volunteers. Our hats off to those volunteers who faced the covid years of 2020 and 2021 supporting the Rhododendron Festival and our reigning Queen Jenessah Seebergoss, Princess Hailey Hirschel and Princess Brigette Palmer.
Nearly ninety years ago Port Townsend’s Rhododendron Festival had its beginning as a grassroots community event. Organized originally to take advantage of a Hearst News media public relations opportunity, volunteers returned the next year to do it again. Then the next year, and the next, convincing the community that the festival was and should remain an annual event.
The popularity of the festival was such that it was becoming too important to be left to well-meaning volunteers and needed year round attention. Initially the American Legion Post served as the permanent organization to oversee the festival. As the event expanded, the Chamber of Commerce took it over and created a standing Rhododendron Festival Committee to manage the myriad of details which continued to increase as the festival grew from an ad hoc parade to a week-long event with royalty coronations, carnival rides, trike races, bed races, pet, kiddie, and grand parades, golf tournament, arts & craft fair, pancake breakfast, and a cake walk.
By the 1990’s, the festival committee was no longer under the auspices of the Chamber. It had come full circle and was again on its own as an unaffiliated group of community volunteers. By this time, the festival was one of the town’s largest annual events. A survey conducted by Port Townsend’s Main Street Program revealed that the Rhododendron Festival was the annual event the community favored the most.
Only World War II has ever stopped Rhody. Until Covid. When the war ended, Rhody Fest returned stronger and more popular than ever with the highlight of the festival being the Grand Parade. Unfortunately, the Grand Parade is the most impacted by the pandemic. Reciprocity is what makes for a great Grand Parade, and the pandemic has kept all the school marching bands and community floats at home. We can no longer travel
to neighboring towns to participate in their festivals so that they may attend ours. Consequently, for the foreseeable future we must come up with a new plan for the festival and It’s OK to start over.
There is nothing to prevent us from revitalizing the spirit of Rhody.
Filling the week with fun activities for kids of all ages and having a community parade is possible, but not without you. We need more volunteers to make this happen.
It would be truly regrettable if the festival went away for good. It’s one of our town’s great identifiers. Nothing says Port Townsend like the sprouting of lawn chairs along Lawrence Street in the merry month of May. 🙂
Please consider volunteering so that we may continue to have this family festival in our community!
6/17/21 – We are excited to announce that we will be having a Rhody Grand Parade on August 14th, 2021! The parade will start at noon. To participate in the parade, please mail or email an application to us before August 9th, 2021.
The 2020/2021 Rhody Festival Theme is:
“Stop and Smell the Rhodies”.
The Rhododendron Festival will be celebrating it’s 85th year in 2020/2021! The Festival is celebrated annually the 3rd full weekend of May.
2020/2021 Rhododendron Festival Court
Princess Hailey Hirschel, Queen Jenessah Seebergoss, Princess Brigitte Palmer
please see www.facebook.com/rhodyfestival for more info