Submitted by South Sound Maritime Heritage Association

Working within Washington State coronavirus health guidelines, the South Sound Maritime Heritage Association (SSMHA) has developed a scaled-down version of its popular Olympia Harbor Days festival normally held every Labor Day Weekend, according to board president Don Chalmers.

“While we want to continue our 47-year- long Harbor Days legacy, we are also aware that we need to offer a safe event for the public in this coronavirus pandemic era,” Chalmers said.  “So, we’re presenting a virtual event with safe at home community participation activities, Olympia Harbor Days Lite, which keeps our transitional tugboat heritage theme, while using online digital media content and other ways to provide family-friendly activities.”

Among the features of this year’s event are ……

  • Olympia Maritime Heritage Self-Guided Tour along the Percival Landing Boardwalk
  • Links to a Decade of Olympia Harbor Days Videos of Tugboats, Races and Fun
  • Lego Tugboat Building at Home with an Instructional Video
  • Harbor Days at Home – Encouraging Maritime Displays in Neighborhoods
  • Estuary Beach Quest, Crab Bingo and other Stay Safe at Home Activities for Kids by the Puget Sound Estuarium
  • Logo Hats, Facemasks, Collector Buttons and “Tugs at the Capital City Vol II” Available for Purchase

The SSMHA founded the Harbor Days festival nearly 50 years ago.  The Labor Day festival has become a widely known, community-based event bringing together South Sound area communities and tugboat heritage enthusiasts from around the Pacific Northwest.

For the past nine years the SSMHA had licensed the Kiwanis Club of Olympia to host the event.  However, because of the health impact of COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit service organization had to end its sponsorship for 2020.

“The Association and its community partners, including the City of Olympia, Port of Olympia and Kiwanis, have worked diligently to accomplish their goals to keep the festival alive in 2020,” Chalmers said, “and to find new partners to help us present our traditional Harbor Days tugboat festival and races 2021.  However, the coronavirus pandemic is taking its toll on this year’s event.”

Under State and local health limitations, the SSMHA has developed a series of Harbor Days Lite activities designed to accomplish this goal for 2020.   A full list of event information, activities, videos and links will be available on the Olympia Harbor Days website, South Sound Maritime Heritage Association website and on Facebook starting September 5.

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