A longtime Coupeville artist and educator was honored for his work helping the Penn Cove Water Festival.
Roger Purdue, a woodworker who for decades has designed the logo for the annual festival, was recognized for his artwork and generosity. Dozens of people, including several representatives from the Samish Indian Nation, attended an event Sunday to unveil the latest logo for the Water Festival, which takes place May 18 in Coupeville.
During the unveiling, Purdue received several gifts from the Samish Indian Nation, which is based in Anacortes. He received a cedar hat decorated with an eagle feather and a button blanket, both of which were made by members of the Samish Nation.
“I’m at a loss for words. Thank you, thank you,” Purdue said while Rosie Cayou, Samish Indian Nation cultural development coordinator, wrapped the blanket around Purdue and placed the hat on his head. The blanket was made by Diana and Pat Dunn, also members of the Samish Tribal Nation.
Purdue has donated new designs for the Penn Cove Water Festival for more than 20 years. Each logo, which are placed on posters and T-shirts promoting the festival, stays within the Native American tradition that the water festival highlights each year.
Canoe racers from Native American tribes across the Puget Sound region and First Nations peoples in Canada descend upon Coupeville to compete in a day-long series of races in Penn Cove. The Water Festival also features Native American dancers, singers, storytellers and foods.
Cayou sang two traditional songs during the image release event. She also touched upon the similarities Purdue’s family history shares with hers. They both have roots on Orcas Island.
Purdue also ensured his legacy of Native-American-inspired images will continue to be featured in upcoming festivals. He donated 15 years worth of logos.
Susan Berta, longtime volunteer who helps organize the canoe races and head of the Orca Network, shared how Purdue started designing the images, the first of which was based on water drop and a canoe, and how they became more elaborate over the years.
“I’m so happy to have come to know you. Your generosity has been amazing,” Berta said during the meeting.
The day also provided a chance for interested folks to sign up to volunteer for the May 18 festival. Organizers always need help to organize such an event that is held in two parts of Coupeville and takes leaders about 12 months to organize.