Water Festival makes a splash | Slideshow

One-year-old Delaney Hodges of Oak Harbor toddled up and down Front Street in her yellow outfit as her parents kept a close eye on her Saturday afternoon.

But unlike many of the other residents who crowded the streets during the Penn Cove Water Festival, she wasn’t in search of Native American canoe racers, a bowl of mussels or Indian dancers.

She apparently wanted a balloon. Which she got, though she wasn’t so hot on the face painting.

“This is a lot of fun,” her mother, Katie Hodges, said as she corralled the little girl. She and her husband brought the kids to Coupeville for some outdoor fun.

And they weren’t the only ones.

Children and puppies were out in force, exploring the sights and sounds of a festival dedicated to both marine life and Native American history.

It was standing-room-only at the main stage, where a compelling mixture of story tellers, singers and musicians performed.

Swil Kanim, a member of the Lummi Nation, wowed the crowd with a unique combination of violin virtuosity and native storytelling; he managed to be both funny and inspirational.

Again this year, the Tsimshian Haayuuk Dancers performed traditional dances.

The event, as always, revolved around the tribal canoe races. The contestants paddled long canoes with surprising speed in great loops around Penn Cove.

Chief Angie Bailey of the Sto:lo Nation in British Columbia said the Penn Cove Water Festival is the first event of the canoe-racing season. She said the team members have been practicing and exercising for the past two months.

While the canoe races are a reminder of local history, they’re also a lot of fun.

“I get a lot of adrenaline from racing,” she said. “It’s great.”


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