The 5th annual Winter Rendezvous, the Pacific Northwest’s most weather-defying and whimsical public boat meetup and festival, will rock Poulsbo February 9 through 11, 2018. The theme this year, Cinco de Poulsbo, will add a Hispanic twist to the otherwise Scandinavian historic downtown. The horde of partying Vikings, a fixture of the event, may be swapping their mead and aquavit for tequila and margaritas.
“Like previous years, if you are hoping for something sensical, change your mind!” event organizer and local businesswomen Tammy Mattson urges. “It’s our Mardi Gras.” The popular event is the brainchild of Elliott Bay Marina manager Dwight Jones, Ranger Tugs’ communications director Sam Bisset, and legendary hydroplane driver Chip Hanauer.
“Three lonely men were drinking beer at Elliott Bay Marina,” says Hanauer. “We were sitting there and enjoying a beautiful late August evening. I think I said, ‘Everyone does rendezvous during summer weekends. Let’s do one on the worst weekend possible! We drank just enough beer to make it happen.” The event, as we know it today, began to form thanks to the local groundswell of support from the local community and businesses in Poulsbo. Not only does the event offer boaters much needed motivation to get out on the water in February, but it also gives the local economy a shot in the arm during a traditionally very slow business month.
Since its inaugural event, the Winter Rendezvous has stoked the keep-it-weird fire to a blaze with themes like last year’s Star Wars’ “May the 4th Be with You” motif to honor the fourth year of the event. This year includes many of the event’s classics, like the Gloggfest competition that pits local businesses in a glogg-making competition judged by Rendezvous participants. New ideas, like the Spanish Gally-on, will send treasure hunters on a prize hunt of epic proportions throughout Poulsbo’s charming waterfront downtown.
If interested, you’ll want to get tickets sooner rather than later – and you can find more information, and a link to purchasing a ticket, right here at Northwest Yachting. You can also buy tickets directly at brownpapertickets.com. The $90 VIP ticket will be the one to go for as it grants access to most of the itinerary and up to two nights of free moorage in the Port of Poulsbo. There are also lodging packages from the local Poulsbo Inn and Guesthouse Inn & Suites by Red Lion for the visiting landlubbers (details at visitkitsap.com/poulsbo).