Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 17:39
Downtown festival with tropical theme will help kick off summer June 13, 14
Area residents are invited to waddle over to Coal Dock Park in Port Washington for a tropical family celebration next month.
Waddlepalooza is the June 13 and 14 festival being organized by Peter and Kris Raymond of the Grafton Blues Association.
It will replace the Port Harbor Family Festival, which the couple organized last year after Pirate Fest was cancelled.
It will also be held one week later than last year’s festival, something the Raymonds hope will help ensure warmer weather.
“Our goal is to create an exciting kick-off to summer,” Kris Raymond said. “We’ll incorporate the Jimmy Buffet atmosphere with leis and tropical hats.”
The festival will include everything tropical, from music and food to games like coconut bowling and hula-hooping, she said. A limbo contest and sand sculpting are other possibilities.
The festival will kick off on Friday, when music will fill the air at Coal Dock Park. The Alex Wilson Band with Jim Liban will perform at 5:30 p.m. followed by The Bel Airs at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, there will be a wine and beer tasting from 2 to 5 p.m.
A family area will provide a variety of children’s activities, such as a bounce house and rock-climbing wall.
A wide variety of foods will be offered as well.
Area nonprofit groups are being invited to set up booths at the festival to help raise funds and awareness of their causes.
An open mic and karaoke stage will be open from noon to 3 p.m. Country music will be heard beginning at 4 p.m. when Smokin Gunz takes the stage.
The Boat Drunks, a tropical rock band that plays everything from original music to Buffet to Van Morrison, will be the headline act, playing at 7 p.m.
“They play stuff everyone knows and loves and sings along to,” Raymond said.
Despite its name, ducks won’t be a big part of Waddlepalooza — at least not this year.
That’s because, even though the organizers intended to hold a rubber duck race in the harbor, they ran into a few snags.
After announcing their intent to hold such an event last fall, the Department of Justice said these races constitute a lottery, which is illegal in Wisconsin, Raymond said.
It was mid-April before Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill making it legal to hold rubber duck races, she said, and by then it was too late to organize the event.
“We’ve been wanting to do a duck race for years,” Raymond said. “It was really a disappointment. But mark my words — next year.”
But the name Waddlepalooza stuck.
“We just love the name. It’s fun,” Raymond said. “Waddle is ducks and palooza just screams fun. We’re telling people to just duck into Port for the festival.”