For 27 years, Whidbey Island Race Week has added a dose of fun and color to the landscape and seascape of northern Puget Sound.
This yearº is no different. Though the number of entries is down slightly due to the economy, there are still approximately 100 sailboats in town for the races to be conducted every day this week in Oak Harbor Bay, Saratoga Passage and Penn Cove.
Several hundred visitors, generally well-heeled, spent the week in Oak Harbor on Navy property near the Oak Harbor Marina. The Yacht Club makes a big chunk of the money it needs to operate all year, and the Race Week participants are assured food, fun and entertainment each night.
To make it a true community affair, Whidbey Island Naval Air Station chips in by hosting one of the biggest parties of the year. Everyone is invited, and it’s particularly advisable to those who grumble about Race Week. Stop complaining and have some fun! The party will start at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 16, at Crescent Harbor Adventures on the Seaplane Base. You can hang around and enjoy the music for free, or pay $15 for a delicious chicken or rib dinner. Show some appreciation to the Navy for reaching out to the community during tough times. The Navy even provides free rides home for those who imbibe a bit to much in the punch bowl.
While partying is fine, perhaps the finest thing about Race Week is the beauty of the colorful sailboats racing through the waves. This sight is visible from Oak Harbor, the Coupeville Wharf and various points between. We can all sail vicariously when watching the wind-blown sails, on one hand wishing we were there but on the other thankful that we don’t have to pay for boat maintenance.
Race Week puts the focus on the water surrounding our beautiful island, which is why it’s been such a good fit in Oak Harbor for the past 27 years and, hopefully, for many years to come.