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Armed Forces events are gearing up

Junior and Senior High School band members are practicing high steps and high notes.

Army personnel are polishing tanks and car afficionadoes are polishing hot rods.

Planners hustle as last-minute details fall into place for the 54th Annual Armed Forces festival in Bremerton.

According to festival organizer Pat Wright, 153 entrants will be in this year’s feature event, the Armed Forces parade. This year’s parade begins at 10 a.m. on May 18, and is sponsored by American Financial Solutions.

It will start at Fourth Street and Chester Avenue in downtown Bremerton and travel down Burwell Street, Pacific Avenue, and Sixth Street before dispersing along Park Avenue.

A noticeable and powerful addition to this year’s festival will be a U.S. Army M1 Abrams Tank. The tank is coming from the Army’s facilities in Yakima under the auspices of the Army’s 1st 303 Armored Division reserve unit in Bremerton.

This year’s Armed Forces Festival will not include events at Naval Station Bremerton because of security precautions.

Here are the highlights:

l May 16, Armed Forces Day Festival Luncheon, featuring Capt. Richard Wren, commanding officer, USS Carl Vinson. Bremerton Eagles Club, Sixth Street and Washington Avenue. Reservations required, $15. Call (360) 479-3579.

l May 17: Pepsi Armed Forces Festival Golf Tournament, Gold Mountain Golf Complex, 7261 West Belfair Valley Road in Bremerton. Cost is $260 per team, 10 percent military discount. Call (360) 479-3579.

l May 17: “30 Years in the Making” a show that outlines the history of the Bremerton Senior Center. Featured in the program will be a host of senior groups: The Center Line Dancers, Georgettes, Minds in Motion Tai Chi, Spectapulars, Stretch & Tone, Sunshine Singers and Way, Way Off Broadway Players. The program will be presented by the Bremerton Parks Department at 7:30 p.m. at the Bremerton Community Theater on Lebo Boulevard. Tickets are $5. Call 478-5357.

l May 18: Bremerton Central Lions Pancake Breakfast will be outdoors at Fourth Street in front of City Hall from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.

l May 18: Masonic Lodge Pancake Breakfast, Fifth Street and Warren Avenue, 7 a.m. to noon.

l May 18: American Financial Solutions Armed Forces Day Parade, 10 a.m., downtown Bremerton. This is the oldest Armed Forces Day parade in the nation.

l May 18: Military Culinary Arts Competition, Olympic College Bremer Student Center, 1 p.m. The event has been moved off Naval Station Bremerton this year because of security precautions. Military Mess Specialists (cooks) will compete in cake decorating, garnish display, healthy choice, hors d’oeuvres, amd secret ingredient cook off.

l May 18: Navy League/ Admiral Theater tribute to the military. The Bremerton-Olympic Peninsula Council of the Navy League of the United States presents a salute to the men and women of the military at the Admiral Theatre, 515 Pacific Avenue. The event begins at 5 p.m. with a reception. The program begins at 6 p.m. A $45 dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. with guest speaker Adm. Walter Doran, who heads the Pacific Fleet. The evening’s entertainment begins at 8 p.m. and features the musical performance of the “The Coats,” a Seattle-based “a cappella” group of four men who have been on national TV. Dress for this event is black tie or appropriate business attire for civilians with dinner dress white for military. Call (360) 830-3525.

In addition:

— Visitors can tour the decommissioned Navy destroyer USS Turner Joy (ex-DD-951), located at the end of the Bremerton Boardwalk, just north of the ferry terminal. Admission is $1 all day for Saturday and Sunday on Armed Forces Day weekend. Call (360) 792-2457.

— The Bremerton Naval Museum, located at 130 Washington Avenue, will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days. Free admission.

— There will be free admission to the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum on Fourth Street. A special exhibit on May 18 will feature Navy Lt. Ambrose Barkley Wycoff, who founded Puget Sound Navy Yard in 1891.

— Daily: Special windows displays will be prominent in downtown Bremerton courtesy of the West Sound Arts Council.

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