Arts and Entertainment

Kitsap festival season revs to life this weekend

Kustom Kulture Festival organizers Chuck Mitchell and Hanah Reed. - Courtesy photo
Kustom Kulture Festival organizers Chuck Mitchell and Hanah Reed.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Familiar favorites Viking Fest and Armed Forces Day parade awaken with a roar this weekend (see below), while sophomore Kustom Kulture Festival hopes to claim its spot among Kitsap’s go-to events.

A one-day riot celebrating 50’s pin-up girls, classic rods and the sounds of rockabilly will mark Silverdale’s second Kustom Kulture Festival in as many years. Beautiful women will strut, local legends will sing and contortionists will bend when the Circus Sideshow and Pin-Up Bizarre festivities begin at 11 a.m. this Saturday, May 15, at the Silverdale Beach Hotel.

“I feel like there are so many talented people, I want them to have a place to showcase their stuff, their art, and to feel accepted and have fun,” said festival founder Hanah Reed, owner of Central Kitsap’s RockIt Roost, a pin-up and tattoo culture boutique. She’s invited local vendors to be a part of the day, where sword swallowers and fire burlesque dancers will converge with custom cars and motorcycles.

And then there’s the pin-up contest.

“People have this misperception, this wrong idea about pin-ups and burlesque and tattoos,” Reed contended. “I have really tried to make my mark in this county by changing people’s perceptions.”

More than 2,000 people attended last year’s festival, and Reed and her husband and partner, Chuck Mitchell, are hoping to double that number this year. Reed, who will present 48 pin-up contestants at this year’s event, said the glamour art has been given a rough reputation in the last decade or so, taking on a raw, grungy stigma that isn’t true to its Hollywood roots. Pin-up is classy and fun, she said, in the vein of Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe, women celebrated for their standout, feminine quality.

This year a winner will be chosen by the crowd, as each attendee can vote by giving their favorite girl a token received upon entrance. Those tokens will also be used to vote among the cars on display. The pin-up contestants must take it upon themselves to market and promote their pin-up persona.

Kirsten Banks, also known as last year’s contest winner and Roost’R Vixen Tenacious Tink, said she conquered stage fright to take the crown. She knows what it takes to win: “They need to be somebody that’s true to the culture and is genuinely interested in what the 40’s and 50’s were about. That person will have to have character and the ability to tease a crowd in a playful way — not trashy, but classy and elegant, with just that right amount of tease.”

Returning to the lineup is Vancouver, B.C.-based Big John Bates and the Voodoo Dollz, who’ll round out a musical platter that includes Three Bad Jacks and Port Orchard’s James Hunicutt. Bates said the band has come across kindred festivals all over the world, and the performance-art group with its burlesque dancers has found a place at each of them.

“I like the fact that people are trying to bring in an old classic car and update it,” he said. “That’s kind of what we do with our music as well. We take older styles and we put on shiny new hubcaps.”

Learn more about Silverdale’s Kustom Kulture Festival and RockIt Roost at TheRockitRoost.com.

Fuel yer tanks, arm yer Vikes...

The country’s original and longest-running Armed Forces Day parade takes over the corridors of downtown Bremerton at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 15. Olympic bobsledder Bree Schaff and Navy Vice Admiral Kevin M. McCoy will marshal the parade, which powers through its 62nd year loaded with newly selected Armed Forces Festival Ambassadors, Pearl Harbor survivors, marching bands, drill teams and an Army tank. Schedule: BremertonPatriot.com.

Kitsap’s North End will celebrate its heritage this weekend too, as the 42nd annual Viking Fest blankets downtown Poulsbo in boisterously fishy Norwegian hoopla. Horned helmets, chain metal, lutefisk and colorful carnival games will dot Front Street starting today. Replete with an Iron Chef and karaoke competition, festivities continue through Sunday, May 16. The annual parade through downtown Poulsbo begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 15. Schedule: "NorthKitsapHerald.com.

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