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Olalla Bluegrass (&beyond) Festival Celebrates 20 Years

(OLALLA, WA) The Olalla Bluegrass (&beyond) Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary Saturday, Aug. 20 at the South Kitsap Southern Little League field on Olalla Valley Road. Gates open at 10am and the music starts at 11am.

Known for its family-friendly atmosphere, variety of kids’ activities and the famous berry pie contest, the event also showcases some of the leading acoustic bands in the region. In addition to the usual suspects – food and crafts vendors, old time crafts demonstrations and the pie auction – this year’s festival will also have an ‘Empty Bowls’ feature. Members of the newly formed Gig Harbor Potters Guild will sell fresh strawberry shortcake in hand-made pottery bowls.

“The Empty Bowls idea has been around for many years,” said Gig Harbor artist Al Johnsen who is credited with founding the Guild and bringing the ‘Bowls’ concept to the area. “We make the bowls in our studios, then we take them to an event and fill them with some sort of tasty food. The purchaser gets to enjoy the food and keep the hand-crafted bowl. We donate all the money we make to the local food bank.”

Locally, the Empty Bowls project is sponsored by the Peninsula Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (PUUF), which meets monthly at the Burley Community Center. Olalla resident Hobart Denny, organizer of PUUF, said that the ‘Bowls’ potters have recently sold their bowls of shortcake at two outdoor movies in Gig Harbor, and have donated more than $600 to Gig Harbor’s FISH food bank. “The money we make at the Bluegrass Festival will go to the South Kitsap HelpLine,” Denny said. “It’s an artistic, unique way that lets us help feed our neighbors-in-need.”

The line-up for this year’s OlallaFest is:

11am Deadwood Revival – lively originals from Port Angeles

Noon Eclectic Cloggers – old-time clog dancing with a local twist

12:45pm Blackberry Bushes – talented string band returns from Olympia

1:35pm Berry Pie Auction – honoring our original name – ‘place with many berries’

2pm Northern Departure – hard-driving youthful energy from Sedro Wooly area

3pm Bluegrass Regulators – capturing the attention of bluegrass fans around the country – this young band hails from Gig Harbor-Tacoma

4pm Coal Town – from Kentucky. The genuine bluegrass deal

5pm Moe Dixon – long-time festival favorite guitar & ukelele virtuoso

6pm The kiddos on parade

7pm The Sugarbeets – psychedelic bluegrass from Eugene, Oregon. You’ll be dancing and ‘Kickin’ the City off Your Shoes’ before the first song ends.

Advanced tickets are $10-36 at Brown Paper Tickets ( Same prices at the event. Parking is $2 per car, collected by the Little League. Camping: $10 per night (no hook-ups).

For information visit or phone (253) 857-5604.

WHAT: Kick the City off Your Shoes at the 20th-Ever Olalla Bluegrass (&beyond) Festival

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 20 – 11am – dusk

WHERE: South Kitsap Southern Little League Field, Olalla Valley Road, Olalla, WA

TICKETS: $12– adults; $10– kids 6-16 & seniors; $36– family pass; under 6– free.

INFO: or (253) 857 – 5604