The 33rd Annual Key Peninsula Logging Show & Festival has seen its share of change and growth since it began in 1985. The longest running annual community event on the KP will take place this year in South Kitsap County August 20 at the Port Orchard Airport, 1.8 miles north of the Pierce County line.
Like many community events that benefit local nonprofits, COVID-19 restrictions forced the annual logging show into hiatus in 2020 and 2021.
Before the pandemic hit, the logging show enjoyed its new home at Gateway Park where the single-day event operated successfully in 2018 and 2019 with record-setting attendance.
The event previously survived a two-year pause for lack of a venue in 2016 and 2017 while Key Pen Parks was still developing and improving Gateway.
“No matter where we have it, the money will come back to the KP,” said local organizer John Jaggi of Fell Rite Timber Co., whose grandmother Loretta started the logging show.
The one-day event was created to celebrate the pioneering heritage and importance of logging to the Key Peninsula but also to raise much needed funds for the food bank and senior center at Key Peninsula Community Services, where Loretta Jaggi served on the board of directors.
In its infancy, the event was part of Key Peninsula’s Pioneer Days, a community parade that began in Key Center and marched along Olson Drive NW to the KP Civic Center.
It eventually moved to the Longbranch Improvement Club where the event was renamed “Old Timers’ Day and Logging Show Festival.” It became the local keystone fundraising event for KPCS.
This year Food Backpacks 4 Kids, based in Key Center, joins the volunteer team to help produce the show as well as share in the festival’s net earnings to support their efforts in combating hunger on the KP.
Local business owner Stephanie Brooks is a member of the coordinating committee managing the event this year. She and others told the Key Pen Parks Board of Commissioners at its meeting June 13 they expected some challenges due to expansive changes at Gateway Park since the last show. But after meeting with the parks department in late May, the group lacked the confidence to go forward and decided to go elsewhere.
“For someone who was born and bred here, to take the 33rd Annual Logging Show off the Key Peninsula, I lost a lot of sleep,” Brooks said. But despite the change in venue, she said the festival “will still have that KP feel.”
“Our sponsors have been absolutely fantastic,” Brooks said. “Everyone is excited to see the show come back; they are happy to lend their support in any way they can.”
The last show in 2019 drew a crowd of roughly 2,500 visitors.
In addition to the logging show action that includes competitions in pole climbing, axe throwing and chainsaw events, Brooks is excited about being able to host more vendors and nonprofits, with lots of free games and fun activities for kids.
“We’ll have tractors, old cars and trucks, Model Ts, two big tugs-of-war, as well as ample parking for everyone at the airport without the need to run shuttles like we would need to do at Gateway Park.”
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