Veterans are being honored this week at the Mission Outdoors Washington Tuna Classic in Westport — and, for the second year, there also will be a Veterans Appreciation Day street fair Friday and Saturday with activities for all ages.
“Last year was the first year of the street fair, and it’s definitely a growing thing,” said Ryan Elwell, founder and director of the nonprofit Mission Outdoors, which stages the annual event.
He wasn’t sure how many vendors were signed up this weekend, but “we are working on building the street fair and think next year we will have two blocks of vendors.”
The street fair will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Tuna Classic, which kicked off Wednesday, pits teams of military veterans against one another in an albacore fishing derby. Teams of two to six people compete to catch the heaviest five tuna during tournament hours through Saturday afternoon.
The charter boat Blue Eyes has some free slots open for veterans and their families Friday and Saturday for salmon and rockfish trips. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to see if you can secure a spot. If not, there will be plenty of other things to keep you occupied.
“We have activities and food,” said Elwell. “We have a boat running just crab trips every day, for folks who may want to take their sons and daughters out crabbing. We have surf perch fishing, we have people who will take them to the beach and kind of show them how to do it.”
Mission Outdoors also is working with local wineries to offer wine tastings. For the kids, there will be kites and bounce houses. Every night during the event, there will be a bonfire on the beach.
People who want to participate but don’t have lodging can bring along their camping gear, and Elwell said they will be given a spot to pitch a tent.
The Tuna Classic kicks into high gear Saturday morning. The weigh-in runs from 3 to 5 p.m.; prizes are $1,500 for the team with the largest five tuna, $750 for second place and $500 for third. There are also numerous side pots and jackpots throughout the tournament.
The Mission Outdoors Humvee is parked on the boardwalk next to the Westport derby weigh station. Radio Station KAYO Country will once again be broadcasting from the event.
“Every year we get a couple hundred people hanging around the scales for the weigh-in,” said Elwell.
Mission Outdoors is a Bonney Lake-based organization founded on the premise that taking veterans fishing or hunting, or simply getting them outdoors, can be beneficial to them. For more information, go to MissionOutdoors.org.