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Bluest skies you’ve ever seen, in Brownsville
When Susan Charrier and her family outgrew their Bremerton home, they moved to Brownsville. Now she’s lived there for nearly 40 years.
“It’s just such a pretty area,” Charrier said last Friday. “And it’s a central area. It’s close to Bremerton, Silverdale and Poulsbo.”
Brownsville, nestled about 5 miles east of Silverdale, has a nearly 100-year-old port. The community will celebrate Brownsville Appreciation Day Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Port of Brownsville Marina. In its seventh year, the event is free and open to the public.
“It started as a way to give back to the local community,” Port Manager Jerry Rowland said. “It just kind of blossomed.”
The all-day celebration will include live music, arts and crafts booths, a car and motorcycle show, dinghy rides in the marina, display boats, a student art show, and other children’s activities.
All activities and games are free. Food and drinks will be for sale, said Rowland, adding that all proceeds from the event will be donated to the schools in the port district.
“We don’t want to pay money back to ourselves. And, we thought, ‘What’s a good cause?’” said Rowland.
The first year of the event, each school received $200. Last year, each school received $1,100, Rowland said. The four schools in the port district include Brownsville, Woodlands, Cottonwood and Esquire Hills elementary schools. All four schools will participate at the Saturday event from performing a unicycle demonstration to a choir performance.
A little more than 10,000 households reside in the Brownsville port district, said Rowland.
Marjie Rowland, Jerrry Rowland’s wife who is organizing the event, said a committee of volunteers has been planning for the event since May.
“Any taxpayer wants to know where their tax money is going,” she said. “This is for them, and to see what this marina offers.”
It’s an event to say “thank you” to the local Brownsville community as well as invite others and introduce them to Brownsville, said Jerry Rowland.
“We’re rural. People don’t even know we’re here,” Jerry Rowland said. “When they discover us, they don’t go away.”
New this year to the event will be a batting cage. Other activities will include a diving demonstration from Peninsula Dive and a tractor-trailor hayride from the car show area to the general marina area, said Marjie Rowland.
A lot has changed at the port since its inception but the friendly atmosphere has always remained.
The Brownsville Port District was formed in 1920 and there was a single dock to the marina, said Jerry Rowland. In 1973, an expansion progress began and three docks were added, he said. Now there are five docks.
In the last 18 years that Jerry Rowland has been at the port, he said they have been able to expand from having 260 slips to 320 slips. An east breakwater that was added in 1997 has been very beneficial because it keeps the marina more secure, he added.
The slips range from 20 to 50 feet and the waiting list currently has about 120 individuals, said Jerry Rowland. On average, the 20 to 24-foot slips have a waiting period of 12 to 18 months while slips 30 feet and longer have a waiting time of 4 to 6 years, he said.
“We have people from all over — even out of state,” Jerry Rowland said.
For Charrier, Brownsville was a nice area to raise children. Even though her kids are all grown up and adults, she has no plans to leave.
“It’s a nice neighborhood. I think we’re here to stay,” she said.