Community

Penn Cove Water Festival paddles to success

Women in the six-person canoe race compete neck and neck toward the Coupeville Wharf during a race Saturday at the  19th annual Penn Cove Water Festival.   - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Women in the six-person canoe race compete neck and neck toward the Coupeville Wharf during a race Saturday at the 19th annual Penn Cove Water Festival.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

A warm, picturesque Saturday afternoon provided a lovely backdrop for Coupeville’s 19th annual May festival.

Thousands of people took advantage of a sunny day to enjoy the Penn Cove Water Festival and its celebration of Native American culture.

Competitive canoeists representing tribes from across the Puget Sound area came to Coupeville to race around Penn Cove. The races took place from Captain Coupe Park throughout the afternoon and involved youth and adults alike.

While the racers were paddling around the cove, the festival was in full swing in downtown Coupeville.

“It was a great festival,” said organizer Cheryl Bradkin, who coordinated all of the food, vendors and environmental exhibits at the festival. She estimated the crowd numbered in the thousands.

Front Street was filled with vendors selling arts and crafts, as well as food ranging from salmon to barbecue.

The main stage featured Native American entertainers including storyteller Gene Tagabon and the Tsimshian Haayuuk Dancers.

The Coupeville Recreation Hall was home to the Native Spirit Art Show, which featured the work of sculptors, painters and carvers specializing in Native American-themed art.

The Coupeville Wharf was also bubbling with activity throughout the festival. The Oak Harbor-based Luna was staffed with naturalists who taught visitors about the environment of Penn Cove.

Community Events, April 2014

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