Sumner gives golf fans taste of tournament ahead of U.S. Open

Sumner will help East Pierce County golf fans celebrate the U.S. Open before Monday’s start of the championship while also offering a valuable incentive — the chance to win tickets — to those who attend the city’s pre-tournament festival this weekend.

The two-day “Open in Sumner” event kicks off Saturday at 7 p.m. with an outdoor concert and movie at Heritage Park, a day before the city’s downtown core will be consumed with free events and activities. Suggested donations will benefit Friends of the American Lake Veterans Golf Course, the only course in the nation specifically designed to serve disabled veterans.

One of the main attractions Sunday will be a nine-hole putt-putt tournament for a chance to win one of two pairs of tickets to the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, which runs June 15-21 and is expected to attract about 235,000 people to the University Place golf course.

Two winners will take home the prizes, which include a pair of tickets to the June 21 championship round and one of the rounds Friday or Saturday prior. All those rounds have been sold out for months.

Local businesses designed their own holes for the contest, and participants will putt around obstacles such as Mount Rainier and farm animals, city spokeswoman Carmen Palmer said.

“These are going to be some pretty epic putt-putt holes,” she said this week.

The purpose of the festival is to show off Sumner’s “small-town charm” to people from the Pacific Northwest and beyond, Palmer said.

“Sumner is one of the best kept secrets in our region,” she said. “We thought it would be a good excuse to come check us out.”

Saturday night kicks off with a concert by local band The Shy Boys followed by an after-dark showing of the movie “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” a biopic about the early life of golf champion Francis Ouimet.

About four blocks along Main Street will close to traffic Sunday until the event wraps up around 5 p.m. Attendees can park for free.

Other activities will include Sumner Village, located where Kincaid Avenue meets Cherry and Main streets, and free games for kids.

The village will feature a beginners’ golf exhibit, a “selfie” station with Chambers Bay as the backdrop — complete with the golf course’s iconic lone fir — and an opportunity to try for a hole-in-one.

A Main Street parade, scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, will be the grand finale. Local high school golfers, the Sumner High School band and others will march along with a vintage vehicle procession, Palmer said.

Historic cars from every decade, carrying local mayors and city representatives from around Pierce County, will tell the story of the U.S. Open’s 115-year history.

“It will have a very local flare,” Palmer said.

The event has been in the works for more than a year.

Palmer said it is a great way to gear up for the U.S. Open — and possibly win tickets to it, of course.

“People will probably be most excited about that,” she said, laughing.