Community

Driftwood becomes art for a day

From left, Aaron, Corrie and Emiline Glade returned for a second year to Driftwood Day at Windjammer Park. This year their driftwood, seaweed and shell-decorated sea turtle won the votes of fellow participants and observers to win the People
From left, Aaron, Corrie and Emiline Glade returned for a second year to Driftwood Day at Windjammer Park. This year their driftwood, seaweed and shell-decorated sea turtle won the votes of fellow participants and observers to win the People's Choice Award.
— image credit: Jenny Manning / Whidbey News-Times

Sea serpents, turtles, sharks and other creatures appeared on the beach at Windjammer park over the weekend, thanks to Oak Harbor Arts Commission’s third annual Driftwood Day.

Almost 50 groups entered the free, fun-filled competition — a gigantic leap from the 13 groups that entered in the first annual event.

“It was a crowded day at the beach,” said Nora O’Connell-Balda, chair of the Arts Commission. The blue skies and warm temperatures may have played a role in the turnout.

Participants of all ages, numbering 140 or more, swarmed the beach, moving driftwood of all sizes into creative displays.

Michael and Andrew Smothers, Beth Reign and Rune Brown worked together to make a four-walled driftwood shack, complete with a roof. Reign said she often takes the boys to the beach on the weekends where they build structures from driftwood, but she rarely partakes in the construction herself.

“We’re having a really good time,” she said.

Down the beach, Aaron, Corrie and Emiline Glade wedged the last piece of driftwood in place to create the head of their driftwood turtle. The Glade family stood back to admire their creation.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Corrie. “We were here last year, too.”

This year, the Glades’ sea turtle creation was awarded the People’s Choice award, as it received the most votes from participants and observers.

Nine other awards were decided by Mayor Jim Slowik; Capt. Gerral David, commanding officer, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station; Oak Harbor High School ceramics teacher Frank Jacques and Washington artist Kevin Pettelle, best known for “Patches and Gertrude,” a recent installment in Seattle.

“Windjammer Wonder” award went to the Beach Hawks team of Michael, Blakeley and Millicent from Anacortes for their Seattle Center depiction.

“Neptune’s Delight” went to Sharks Bunch team of James, Erin, Lilly, and Gwyneth McSween of Oak Harbor for their “Garden.”

“Mermaid’s Masterpiece” was won by the Sea Kitten team of Christine and Nibby Pace from Oak Harbor for their “Art Gallery.”

“Seafair Sailor” award went to Gypsy’s team, led by Andrew Nebring of Oak Harbor for their “Memorial to 9/11.”

“High Tide Award” went to the McClintock Family team from Oak Harbor for their “Sea Turtle.”

“Flotsam and Jetsam Award” was won by “D’s Team” lead by Isaac Dominguez of Oak Harbor for their “Viking Ship.”

“Poseidon’s Prize” went to to Shea Pohtilla, Jon Lacey, and Jeff Lindgren from Oak Harbor and Italy for their “The King’s Throne.”

“Beach Comber Award” was won by Ping’s team lead by James Paz from Oak Harbor for their “Day at the Beach.”

“Castaway Award” was claimed by Girl Scout Troop 273 for their three teams that presented a couple of sea creature sculptures and a framed horse head.

The tide eventually rose and covered the beach, drawing much of the art out into Puget Sound to be delivered to various beaches. New wood will be coming in this winter for next year’s Driftwood Day.

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