Posted by Bob Heck on Jan 08, 2018
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
Date: 1/8/2018
Program: Harbor Days
Meeting Called to order: President Christy Peters @ 12:20 pm
  • Invocation by: Reid Bates
  • Pledge of Allegiance led by: Kalo Wilcox
  • Song: God Bless America, led by Nancy Zussy Allen
  • Four Way Test led by: Gina Carlson
Visiting Rotarians:
  • Matthew Swena – Twin City/Centralia Rotary Club
Guest of Rotarians:
  • Mary Hall – Thurston County Auditor and Chair, Harbor Days Festival
Happy Bucks – hosted by Sean Murphy
  • Mark Allen – Enjoyed a relaxing cruise along Amazon River and through the Caribbean.
  • Warren Carlson – Announced the formation of “Meaningful Movies Olympia” – first event is in January.
  • Peggy (German Exchange Student)  - enjoyed her Christmas and New Year's Eve in America.
  • Jim Balz ­– Enjoyed his six-week motorcycle trip to Thailand and Laos; pleased to showoff the 2018 Interact T-Shirt, too. Interact has been very active in service this past year.
  • Nick Schmidt – Survived the annual family holiday trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. This year he didn’t feel like he was living a Griswold Family Christmas Vacation.
  • Eve (Taiwan Exchange Student) – During Christmas break she received several gifts and is very appreciative. Also, she enjoyed her first time skiing at White Pass.
  • Gloria Strait – Encouraged all club members to take time to volunteer with Bloodworks NW.
  • In Memoriam - President Christy asked for a moment of silence to honor former club member Ray Drummond. He passed on 12/27/17. He was with Rainier Bank and is Lori Drummond’s (CEO, Olympia Federal) father.
  • Auctions - Gloria Strait secured two Harlequin Ticket Vouchers for the show “I Am My Own Wife.” Bob Wubbena won the auction.
  • Mr. Snappy Update – Oscar Soule updated the club that if a prize has expired, or you get something you don’t want, you have a few options. If expired, you get to pick something else. If you don’t like it, you can give the prize to someone you do, or do not, like – or, donate it back.
  • Boy Scouts of America (BSA) – Nick Schmidt shared that Troop 2, the local BSA Troop, has invited all members of the club to become more engaged in the local actives of the Troup. An initiative of BSA for this year is to more fully engage with all areas of each community they serve. Nick was excited to share that updates will be forthcoming around the changes to the services offered by all BSA chapters.
  • Rotary Community Grants Committee - Colleen Gillespie
    • Six grants will be awarded in January, out of a total of 8 requests. Special thank you to Skip Steffen and Mark Elliott, co-chairs of the committee.
    • Olympia Rotary Committee Literacy Committee was awarded $2,500. Diane Gallegos, as chair of the committee, accepted the award. The grant will be used to purchase books/bookshelves to support the Thurston County Housing Authority’s goal of providing books in their facilities.
Program: Harbor Days
John Hough introduced Carol Reilly, Executive Director of Harbor Days. Carol grew up in NJ and graduated from Drexel. She began her career in fashion and in 1992 moved to Olympia where she started Reunions Unlimited. She has worked to organize over 700 high school reunions in the last 20 years. In 2015, Carol was asked by the Kiwanis Club to assume the role of Executive Director of Harbor Days. Mary Hall, Thurston County Auditor, is the Chair of the Harbor Days Festival.
Harbor Days is a 44-year-old festival and in the last two years it has seen some significant changes. It began in the 1970’s when Tug Boat races were re-started. Tug Boat races are a US Coast Guard regulated maritime event. Harbor Days Tug Boat Races are the only race in Washington. At the start the festival the events were only crafts and races, but now it is an expanded event.
The festival is the third largest of all festivals in Thurston County. Over 50,000+ visitors and 200+ booths participate annually. It is very likely the largest vintage Tug Boat race in the country, and possibly the world. Owners of the vintage tugs bring the boat and crew at their own expense. The festival creates a space for the community to gather together and interact, and learn about tugs.
The unofficial 2017 event stats: 2% of attendees were from out of state, 4% of attendees stay with friends in the area; 2% stayed in hotels; 200 booth vendors participated; 172 individuals were part of Tug Boat crews; a record number of boat slips were rented at area marinas around the time of the festival. In coming years, the festival is looking to attract more out of area guests.
The 45th Annual Harbor Days will be August 31 - September 2, 2018.
Mr. Snappy:  Dan Lehuta won a string of pearls donated by Oscar and Barbara Soule.
Meeting Adjourned: 1:30 pm by President Christy