If you are new to the area, or just visiting, you may be thinking Central Kitsap has gone to the ducks.
In a way, you’re right. The giant yellow plastic ducks that you see out and about are a sign that Whaling Days is at hand.
They signify that the Great Kitsap Duck Race, part of Whaling Days, is just a few days away.
In fact, as you read this, Whaling Days is getting underway.
This year is the 41st year for Whaling Days, which began as just a neighborhood celebration back when Silverdale was a small community.
The first years of Whaling Days, which is named for the fact that its founders wanted to have a “whale of a party,” saw a couple dozen people put on funny hats and march in a parade. They called it the “No Boat Parade,” because none of them had boats to use as floats. Instead, they rode boat trailers borrowed from others.
Then, they gathered at the Silverdale Waterfront Park for a picnic.
Looking back at the July 18, 1984, edition of the Central Kitsap Reporter, the celebration became known as “Let’s all Whale in Silverdale” when founders Glen Gordon, Ron Palmer and others added a theme song by that title.
Soon, the mascot, Wendy the Whale, a large gray plastic whale-shaped float, was added. She even made a voyage on the ferry from Seattle to promote the event.
No one knows for sure where “Wendy” is today, but the orca whale is still the symbol for Whaling Days.
And that year, Jen Southworth,longtime English teacher in the Central Kitsap School District, was the parade grand marshal.
From very humble and fun beginnings, Whaling Days has grown to become the signature summer event in Silverdale.
Today, more than 20,000 attend during the three-day festival that begins today.
There’s a parade, a street fair with crafts and food vendors, carnival rides for kids of any age and the Great Kitsap Duck Race, which raises funds for good causes in Central Kitsap.
There’s a pancake breakfast on Saturday and other events as well, such a a run for fun and canoeing races Sunday morning.
Whaling Days is part of our heritage. It’s going to be a good time.
Make sure to take part in the spirit that its founders sought.
Just have a “whale of a time.”