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Since 1913, it has been an audience to laughter, children at play, musical performances, and sometimes the tears of a community. It has absorbed the scents of apple pies and ham casseroles, baked salmon and fresh baked rolls with homemade butter and jam at monthly potlucks. Lives have been lived, celebrated and remembered within its walls. The Olga Community Center clubhouse is a living piece of the village history.
That’s why every July on the third Saturday, since 1993, the community of Olga gets together to celebrate Olga Daze and raise money to keep their clubhouse in good repair. This year, funds from the Saturday, July 18 event will raise money to renovate the clubhouse kitchen.
“It was originally the Olga Energetic Club started by ladies doing good works in the community,” said Barbara Wheeler, one of the event organizers. “They deeded it to the Olga Community Club in the late 1990s when there were not enough ladies left to continue the programs. The club has programs every month with local and visiting guests to promote friendship among the Olga inhabitants. It is the only remaining building from an era that had a school house, a dance hall and lots of social goings on for a farming community with little money who made their own entertainment. It remains the only center in Olga for community gatherings for everyone from children on up.”
To be part of the history of the town and the building for future generations, people will be able to purchase personalized hand-painted kitchen tiles at Olga Daze that will be used in the new kitchen.
The Olga Daze events are centered around Olga Park, the land adjacent to the clubhouse and purchased with the funds from the annual celebration a few years ago. The day starts with more then 20 tables packed with fun and functional items for the barn and yard sale at 10 a.m.
“Who better to run the sale than George Post, who started the nationally known Exchange, and Maria Papademetriou,” Wheeler said.
A silent auction has a large selection to bid on, including a Deer Harbor whale watching excursion, Toby Brown chimney cleaning, kayak tours from Lieber Haven Resort and Marina and Spring Bay Inn, an original oil painting of Buck Bay by Jackie Kempfer, gift certificates “for good eating and blackberry pie” at Cafe Olga, the Olga Store and Doe Bay Cafe, Buck Bay Shellfish, a half cord of wood from John Willis, and a special piece created for Olga Daze by Jerry Weatherman of Olga Pottery.
“We have many other great things for the silent auction of great interest and value,” Wheeler said.
At noon, enthusiastic and decorated Olga residents and visitors, and in fact anyone who decides that day that they would like to be in a parade, will meet at the Olga Artworks parking lot and parade through Olga to the dock and back in what is billed as the World’s Shortest Parade. A fire truck and Sandy Taylor playing his bagpipes will lead the parade.
There will be a food pavilion run by Jennie Welch, president of the Community Club, that will sell BBQ food, hot dogs, Italian sausage, homemade chili, homemade pickles and onions. and strawberry shortcake.
“Betty Marcum makes maple bars right there at Olga Daze with her two sisters Judy Slater and Dorothy Lundquist,” Wheeler said. “They are out of this world. People come year after year from all over the island for those maple bars.”
The musical lineup includes a song written especially for the event by Carl Burger who will sing and play his guitar.
There will also be a fire truck for kids of all ages to ride on and explore, pony rides, craft booths, demonstrations, live musical performances and a history table manned by Orcas historian Tom Welch and Jane Barfoot Hodde.
Raffle tickets for a handmade cotton queen size quilt made by Betty Marcum will be available at Olga Daze up until the drawing at 2:30 p.m.
More information about Olga Daze is available at www.olgadaze.com
Limited parking for the event is available in the village past Barfoots Blockhouse and at the artworks. Those interested in donating to the rummage sale should bring items to Olga Park from 5 to 7 p.m. on July 16 and 17. To donate at another time call George Post at 376-4887. To donate to the silent auction call 376-3224.