Downtown P.A. to celebrate getting gussied up

On Saturday, July 11, Port Angeles will host a citywide celebration showcasing the results of a community volunteer initiative to restore its downtown.

The project, dubbed Our Community at Work, began May 1 and will continue throughout the summer.

Each building restoration started with a meeting between a volunteer architect and the building owner to determine the project scope and an appropriate color scheme.

Merchants collaborated to offer building owners discounted pricing on paint and free use of lifts and pressure washers to help make face-lifts affordable.

One of two campaign co-chairmen then scheduled the work. Labor was provided by a team of volunteers, complete with a foreman and an on-site concierge who made sure workers had the tools they needed, food and water.

A local food bank and restaurants cooked for the volunteers and residents often pitched in to bake cookies and other treats.

Nearly 3,000 volunteer hours have been contributed to date. At an estimated average of $18 per hour, the total value of the volunteer labor is about $54,000.

Here are some of the celebration events:

• The Second Weekend Art Event will begin at 11 a.m. Artists will be at work in galleries throughout the downtown area. A full list of galleries with a walking map is available at most local hotels, restaurants and participating galleries.

• The first anniversary celebration of Wine on the Waterfront is from noon-1 a.m. at The Landing, Laurel Street and East Railroad Avenue. Wine on the Waterfront is a Port Angeles neighborhood wine bar. The celebration includes local wines and live music.

• The "Welcome to the new Port Angeles" ribbon cutting is at 1 p.m. on Front Street between Lincoln and Laurel streets. Our Community at Work volunteers will cut the ribbon and welcome the public to the new downtown core.

• Music and an all-American picnic is from 1:15-3:15 p.m. at the Gateway Pavilion, 125 E. Front St. Food Bank of Port Angeles staff will cook hot dogs and serve lemonade, both free. Cake will be served in thanks to Our Community at Work volunteers. Music will be provided by disc jockey duo Double Exposure.

• The Art On The Town unveiling of four new exhibits and artist-guided art walks to explain some of the other 62 pieces are from 2-4 p.m. on Front Street between Lincoln and Laurel streets. Local architect and historian Charlie Smith will guide walking tours of the newly renovated buildings in Port Angeles' downtown core. Tours are free and depart on the hour.

• The Fine Art of Cooking demonstration is from 2-4 p.m. at The Showcase, 833 E. Front St. Chef Shawn Royaltey of Michael's Divine Dining will demonstrate the fine art of making fresh Dungeness crab cakes.

• A "Twilight Storefront Vignette" goes on all day at 200 W. First St. Fans of Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" book series will recall Bella's trip to Port Angeles with her friends, who were shopping for prom dresses. This scene is recalled in the window of the former Gottschalks store with a prom dress exhibit.

• The Red Lion wine and beer garden will feature locally made wine and cold beer. It will be open in the evening at the Red Lion Hotel, 221 N. Lincoln St.

• Restaurants will feature fresh, locally grown, caught and/or harvested Olympic Coastal Cuisine, each adding the restaurant's own signature twist in celebration of the new downtown Port Angeles.

For a list of restaurants and their featured dishes, visit http://portangeles

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