Editor’s note: Given rising COVID-19 case counts spurred by the delta variant, COVID-19 protocols and other details for events are subject to change. Please check your event’s website for the latest information, and heed local health authorities’ safety recommendations as they’re updated.

What’s Happening Sept. 3-9

Boats, water and music are the staples of many Labor Day festivities — and if you’re looking for something to do this weekend, check out all these things and more at Olympia Harbor Days Lite.

Presented by the South Sound Maritime Heritage Association, this scaled-down version of Olympia’s 48-year-old tugboat festival will ring in the start of September.

Traditionally, Olympia Harbor Days covers seven blocks along the city’s waterfront, “and in that footprint has over 250 vendor, activity and food booths,” said Carol Riley, executive director of Olympia Harbor Days. In past years, with three music stages, roaming musicians, face painters and more, the festival attracted over 55,000 people each year to celebrate the tugboats of the Puget Sound.

The creation of this tugboat festival dates back even further. In the early 1900s, the Port of Olympia had tall ships (large sailing ships) delivering and picking up goods from or bound for California, Riley said. After sailing south from Seattle or Tacoma, these tall ships arrived at the entry of Budd Inlet, and “people on land — if they spotted a tall ship — would yell out, ‘Tall ships are coming!,'” she said. The steam-powered tugboats would then race out to meet the tall ship, and the first one to reach the ship would get the coveted job of bringing it into port.

To celebrate their hard work and let off some (literal and figurative) steam, the tugboat operators would take Labor Day weekend off and “head south to Olympia where they would have a giant party. In the ’70s, the historical association and the seafarers wanted to reenact [the celebration]. They invited a bunch of tugs and they had a race. And the next year, it became the official Olympia Harbor Days,” Riley said.


This year, Olympia Harbor Days Lite will feature information booths, mini tug displays, activities for kids, giveaways and live music. There will even be a handmade Lego tugboat made out of about 15,000 pieces, Riley said.

This year’s festival will not feature the traditional tugboat touring, tugboat races, vendors or food booths, as a COVID-19 precaution. Although the event is scaled down, there will be maps for the Maritime Heritage Self-Guided Tour along Olympia’s boardwalk, self-guided activities and historical photos available online at harbordays.com.

Harbor Days Lite will be from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, at the Port of Olympia’s Port Plaza Park, 701 Columbia St. N.W., Olympia. Find more information at: harbordays.com

What else is happening

Here are some other events happening Sept. 3-9 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, please fill out the form at the bottom of the post.

SketchFest Seattle 2021 — Sept. 3-5

SketchFest brings together talented comedians from across the globe, pairing them with popular local acts, 8 p.m. Sept. 3, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4 and 2 p.m. Sept. 5. Purchase tickets online; $15. 1428 Post Alley, Seattle; 206-587-2414; unexpectedproductions.org

Visitor Days at Cloudstone Sculpture Park — Sept. 4-5

Explore how art and nature merge at the Cloudstone Sculpture Park on Whidbey Island 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Attendees can see original works by Pacific Northwest native Hank Nelson, from towering metal installations to modern stone carvings. RSVP online; tours available for purchase at the park for $10 per person every 15 minutes. 5056 Cloudstone Lane, Freeland; 360-320-6862‬; cloudstonefoundation.org


Lummi Island Artists’ Studio Tour — Sept. 4-5

Enjoy paintings, jewelry, photography, sculpture, glass, woodwork, pottery and more 10 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be 25 artists and craftspeople offering their work at 20 locations around the island. Free. Location varies; 360-758-7121; lummi-island.com/studio-tour

PrideFest — Sept. 4-5

Seattle PrideFest returns Labor Day weekend after record heat and COVID-19 restrictions delayed its regular June celebration. Local artists, nonprofits and arts and crafts vendors will fill Broadway 11 a.m.-7 p.m. RSVP online; free. Location varies, Broadway (John Street to Roy Street); 206-701-0272; seattlepridefest.org

Guided Nature Walk — Our Trees Under Pressure — Sept. 4-5

Seward Park Audubon invites visitors to join lead naturalist Ed Dominguez to survey Seward Park trees 1-3 p.m. Sept. 4 and 5. Attendees will explore factors like climate change that may ultimately redefine our Northwest forests through pressures like drought, viruses, fungi and insect infestation. Register online; free. 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle; 206-652-2444; sewardpark.audubon.org

Day In Day Out — Sept. 4-5

Enjoy Seattle’s first music festival of 2021 with a mix-tape-inspired experience with food trucks, an indoor and outdoor beer garden and VIP experiences all under the Space Needle. Purchase tickets online; $80-$200. 305 Harrison St., Seattle; dayindayoutfest.com

Art + Wood = Woodpalooza — Sept. 4-6

The Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild presents its annual “Art + Wood = Woodpalooza” exhibition at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts noon-5 p.m. daily. During the exhibition, attendees are invited to spend quality time with 20 woodworking artisans while experiencing their art and creations. Attendees will also learn firsthand the inspiration and process that go into each artist’s work. Free. 565 Camano Avenue, Langley; 360-221-8262; woodpalooza.com

Virtual Book Talk: Meet the Author with Long Litt Woon — Sept. 5

The Nordic Museum hosts a virtual author series with Nordic books and authors, with the upcoming one featuring “The Way Through the Woods: On Mushrooms and Mourning” by Long Litt Woon 10-11 a.m. This book tells the story of parallel journeys: an inner one, the journey through the landscape of mourning, and an outer one, the journey into the realm of resilient and adaptable mushrooms, essential to nature’s cycle of death and rebirth. Register online; $5, free/members. nordicmuseum.org

Created Commons — through Sept. 5

West Seattle’s Westcrest Park will host BIPOC-centered performances, kinetic musical-sculpture, eco-art installations and workshops, wellness offerings and science panels to cultivate community health noon-8 p.m., with stage performances beginning at 3 p.m. (BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous and people of color.) Attendees are encouraged to bring picnics, camping chairs, blankets and water bottles to help stay hydrated during the event. Free. 9000 Eighth Ave. S.W., Seattle; facebook.com/events/139368821669589

Ballard Comedy Club Grand Opening Featuring Nancy Norton — through Sept. 5

The Ballard Comedy Club’s grand opening features headliner Nancy Norton, the reigning champion of the Seattle International Comedy Competition. Norton has been featured on various comedy showcases over the years, from her one-woman show “The Yellowish-Green Girl” on PBS to her most recent feature on “Nickmom Night Out” on Nickelodeon. Purchase tickets online; $20. 4301 Leary Way N.W., Seattle; 206-706-1572; eventbrite.com/o/ballard-comedy-club-34066996295