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Gig Harbor Summer Art Festival Named Best Festival in Region

(GIG HARBOR) Readers of SouthSound magazine have voted the Gig Harbor Summer Art Festival the best festival in the region. The festival is presented by the Peninsula Art League (PAL) and draws upwards of 35,000 visitors to the town’s historic waterfront every July.

“This is such an honor for PAL,” said president Kathy Thurston. “And it’s an honor for Gig Harbor, coming on the heels of our being declared one of the best small towns in America by Smithsonian magazine. When you consider all the festivals that take place in the Puget Sound area every year, we’re thrilled that people chose ours as their favorite.”

This year’s ArtFest – the 28th anniversary edition ­– will take place July 21 & 22 on Judson Street in downtown Gig Harbor. More than 130 artists and crafts people have been selected to participate the festival. There will also be food vendors, live music and art-making activities for children, thanks to Arcadia Montessori School.

On Saturday, festival-goers can also enjoy chalk art on the sidewalks along the length of the town’s waterfront during “Chalk the Harbor,” presented by the Gig Harbor Historic Waterfront Association.

Also during the festival, PAL will host an exhibition of original artworks by its members. The art will be on display in the Key Bank branch nearby. Awards for the best artworks will be announced at a reception Saturday evening. KeyBank is the festival’s primary sponsor.

The festival is the annual fundraising event for the non-profit Art League. Festival profits provide scholarships for local high school students and also for PAL members who want to attend art-related classes and workshops. The organization also gives back to the community through free public art exhibitions and special programs throughout the year.

In late winter, PAL sponsors a competition among art students at Gig Harbor’s three high schools to create an illustration for the festival’s poster. This year 17 entries were submitted, all from Peninsula High School. Natalie Burke, a 15-year old PHS freshman from Olalla, created the winning artwork. Natalie and her art teacher, Karen Peck, each received cash awards.

For information, visit or email PAL president Kathy Thurston at

Caption for attached photo:

PAL president Kathy Thurston accepted the award for Best Festival in the South Sound. The Gig Harbor Summer Art Festival was voted the region’s best festival by readers of SouthSound magazine.