Music played on the main stage, and lines formed to tour tugboats moored along Percival Landing in Olympia on Saturday.
But the Harbor Days festival didn’t officially begin for members of the Sapp family until they had their red beans and rice, an elephant ear and some snow cones.
“The directive was to get to the food,” Gregg Sapp of Tumwater said with a chuckle.
An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 people were expected to attend the celebration, which began Friday and will wrap up Sunday, said Bob Peck, president of the South Sound Maritime Heritage Association.
“This is the 40th year,” he said. “It’s been a festival that’s revolved around formerly working vintage tugboats. They’re the featured attraction.”
Several of the 20 or so tugboats at the festival were open for tours Saturday.
Jim and Nancy Snodgrass, who were visiting from Noble, Okla., said they didn’t want to wait in line and were content to look at the boats from a distance.
“It reminds me of old times,” she said.
“It’s a great community event,” he added.
This is the fifth year Jim and Dorothea Bennett of Port Orchard have brought their 65-foot-long tug Thea Belle to the festival. They said they love sharing stories about the boat’s rich history, which includes service for the U.S. Navy in Pearl Harbor and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
Jim Bennett said he also likes participating in the tugboat races, which will begin at noon Sunday.
“I consider myself winning if I finish,” he said.
“If you don’t break something, you’re a winner,” added his friend, Mike Ruhle of Sitka, Alaska.Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 email@example.com @Lisa_Pemberton