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Set Your Compass for September 2-4 for Olympia Harbor Days Festival 2022

The South Sound Maritime Heritage Association (SSMHA) is on course with the planning and presentation of Olympia Harbor Days Festival 2022.

The South Sound Maritime Heritage Association (SSMHA) is on course with the planning and presentation of Olympia Harbor Days Festival 2022.  This is a full-scale return of the 49-year-old tugboat festival, Labor Day weekend starting Friday, September 2nd at 5 PM and closing Sunday, September 4th at 6 PM.  The festival will take place along Olympia’s Downtown Waterfront Boardwalk from historic Percival Landing to the Port of Olympia’s Port Plaza Park, according to SSMHA President Dave Peeler.  This event marks the return of Puget Sound’s vintage tugboats and historic ships to Budd Inlet.

Guests will find a grand assortment of tugboats built from the early 1900s through the 70s and ranging in size from 25 feet to over 125 feet long.  Tugboat Skippers will offer a climb aboard show on Saturday and on Sunday if not racing.  Washington State’s Tall Ship, Lady Washington will be arriving mid-week and the historic Mosquito Fleet Steam-Ship Virginia V should be arriving Friday in time for the start of the festival.  Both ships will offer dock-side touring and harbor sailings and tours of Budd Bay.  Other wooden and hand-crafted boats will be displayed, and the Port of Olympia will offer free port tours.

In addition to the vessels, visitors can expect to find a unique assortment of arts, crafts, importers, commercial, food and informational and demonstration booths as well as mini tug displays. Plus, enjoy Squaxin Island Tribe's cultural sharings of drum, dance, storytelling, and art.  Starting Saturday kids can engage in a hands-on LEGO Harbor Build Activity including the professional building of a 5’ LEGO tugboat by Train Builder; marine science activities with a touch tank on Sunday offered by the Puget Sound Estuarium; and engage with the award-winning Olympia Hands on Children’s Museum with a tugboat make-race-take activity.  Be sure to enter the free giveaway drawing for a weekend at the coast.  Form Finders will build a large sand sculpture during the event and hold a Quick-Carve Contest on Sunday.  The festival features plenty of live music by local musicians including rock, jazz, country, sea shanty and barbershop.  Be sure to visit the Food G’Alley full of sweet treats, hot eats and cedar-planked smoked salmon.  This family-friendly event offers something for everyone and plenty of photo ops all weekend.

During the pandemic, Olympia Harbor Days and SSMHA created the year-round Maritime Heritage & Tugboat Walk along Olympia’s Boardwalk from the historic Tugboat Sand Man to the future landside site and display of the historic and renovated Tugboat Parthia.   More information can be found at Walking brochures are online or can be found at various retailers and restaurants in downtown Olympia. 

“Olympia Harbor Days, despite a number of challenges, is pleased to present this beloved festival and will follow all federal, state and local COVID health and safety mandates that may be in force at the time of the event,” said Carol Riley, Executive Director.  SSMHA is the founding organization of the festival and has been working to keep this almost 50-year working waterfront-focused festival alive with a virtual presentation in 2020 and a small one day “Lite” event in 2021. The maritime heritage nonprofit continues to operate the event after the Olympia Kiwanis Club presented it from 2012 – 2019.  “SSMHA is a small non-profit and calling out to the community to help with volunteers.  If you or your group can help, volunteer information can be found on the website,” said Riley.

Online registration is currently open for all categories of vendors and food booths.  Skippers wishing to participate with their vintage tugs or other historic vessels are welcome to register as well.   

For almost a half-century, Olympia Harbor Days has been a locally sponsored free and family-friendly maritime-themed festival with tugboats, historic ships, booth vendors, food, music, educational classes, children’s activities and more, held each Labor Day Weekend.  The fun continues as Olympia Harbor Days planning is Full Speed Ahead with a goal of celebrating 50 years in 2023!

For more information, hours and schedules, please visit .  Questions about participation please email

Olympia Harbor Days Festival:  Friday, September 2nd, 5 pm-8 pm;  Saturday, September 3rd, 10 am-7 pm;  Sunday, September 4th, 10 am-6 pm

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