Roundup – Downtown set for July 3 fun/Rhoades takes up the paddle

Downtown set for July 3 fun

Bainbridge knows that the Fourth of July actually starts on the third, when the Downtown Association gathers bands, blow-ups, food vendors and more family fun than you can shake a stick at for the annual July 3 Street Dance and BBQ along Winslow Way. And this year, they’ve got big plans.

“We’re buiding on a great past,” event coordinator Charlie King said, “and providing an opportunity to take this to a new level where there’s more participation and more things to do for children and for adults.”

The “Kid Zone” will, as in years past, feature inflatable rides whose presence on the street defies spatial logic along with a climbing wall, a dress-up pirate photo booth and a music stage.

And with an eye toward creativity, not to mention parental sanity, there will be a well-staffed boat-decorating craft booth toward the center of the block where, after getting happily riled by the music and inflatables, kids can re-focus and chill as they construct and decorate a wooden schooner or Spanish gallion.

Parents, meanwhile, can tag-team – one can oversee the kids while the other stops off at the Winslow Oasis, a wine and beer garden situated in Winslow Mall.

The number of food vendors has expanded this year; among other forms of sustenance, Town & Country Market will fire up the grill, Bainbridge Island Barbecue will serve pulled pork sandwiches, and Mon Elisa’s will offer salads and veggie sandwiches. There’ll also be ice cream and sweet stuff aplenty.

Perhaps the biggest change event-goers will notice is that as cornerstone holiday bands like the Original Fenderskirts play on, everyone will be able to hear them.

King says that for the first time, through collaboration with Puget Sound Energy and Sound Electric, the inflatable rides will be fully powered by electricity.

That means no more noisy generators or exhaust that he says in years past “took away from some of the fun of the event.”

To add to the festival environment and render weather a non-issue, much of the entertainment, activities and food sales will take place under tents.

Rain or shine, the 21st annual July Third Street Dance and BBQ runs from 6 to 11 p.m. July 3 along Winslow Way. The street will close at 3 p.m. Tuesday for setup – starting at midday, volunteers will place gentle reminders on parked cars. The street will remain closed until 8 p.m. July 4, parade day.

– Lindsay Latimore

Rhoades takes up the paddle

Steve Rhoades knows how to get around the island.

And now, he’s doing it for a cause.

Rhoades is recognized in island cycling circles as an avid and inspiring trainer, and many of his clients are women. Of late, he says he’s seen too many friends and clients suffering through breast cancer.

So he’s plotting a course of assistance.

“I paddled around the island the other day, to see if I could do it,” he said. “That was the biggest thing I’ve ever done.”

For the eight-hour trip in question, Rhoades traded his bike for a 14-foot paddle board in mere preparation for a July 22 paddle that he wants to try to complete in six-and-a-half hours.

With that run and the accompanying sale of his recently printed “dot-to-dot” T-shirts, he hopes to raise money for a dear friend who is undergoing cancer treatment as well as for an organization that is close to his heart, Helpline House.

The dot-to-dot theme speaks to next summer, when Rhoades says he plans to expand his fund-raiser into an event he calls “Ohana,” a Hawaiian term he chose for its spirit of family, community and fellowship.

That event, planned for the weekend preceding Labor Day, will start with another island circumnavigation, one that Rhoades hopes will include a cadre of volunteers also paddling around the island relay-style from point to point (or dot to dot) as he reprises his solo trip.

After the relay, he plans to invite islanders to a potluck luau at Waterfront Park.

To spread the word and help recruit volunteers, Rhoades has secured a booth at the Grand Old Fourth celebration. See him there on July 4 to purchase a benefit T-shirt and get more information about his fund-raising efforts. Or call Rhoades at (206) 650-6686.

– Lindsay Latimore

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