Penn Cove Water Festival

Wiconi staff and volunteers attend The Penn Cove Water Festival

COUPEVILLE, WA—The Penn Cove Water Festival celebrated their 20th annual festival in Coupeville, Washington, on May 16th.

Wiconi International volunteers Ray and Sue Martell introduced Wiconi staff members Gary and Mary Ann Eastty to the festival this year. They also introduced them to two very unique people: Swil Kanim and Dr. Lou LaBombard.

Swil Kanim (Lummi) is a classically trained violinist, Native storyteller and actor. Dr. Lou LaBombard (Seneca), is also a Native storyteller and anthropology professor at Oak Harbor's Skagit Valley College. He is also a Vietnam vet—Medivac medic.

The Easttys and Martells had good conversations with these very interesting people. “We hope to look into having one or both of them [Swil Kanim and Dr. LaBonbard] at Wiconi's Living Waters Camp and Powwow,” stated Gary. “Please pray for these ongoing relationships.”

This Water Festival dates back to the 1930s, however, for various reasons including World War Two II, it ended for a time. In 2004, the community decided it was time to bring back the canoe races which are the core of the weekend. From one person races to whole family races, the day is filled with excitement. Native performers and other vendors are always on tap as well as the local businesses go all out to make this special weekend so great.

The purpose of the Penn Cover Water Festival is to bring families together to enjoy Native American canoe racing, entertainment, crafts and culture. It also gives them an opportunity to learn to appreciate and protect the world in which we all live.

This year's festival was dedicated to the memory of Coupeville Native artist Roger Purdue (1938-2014) who died prior to this year's festival. Roger created the beautiful artwork for the Penn Cove Water Festival every year for 20 years. He also carved and painted the famous “Salmon Wheel” on the Coupeville Waterfront (now at the Island County Museum). Of Tsimshian heritage, Roger grew up on Orcas Island where he grew to love nature, salmon and whales.


The 2014 Festival is dedicated in Memory of
Roger Purdue 1938 - 2014
All pictures of Roger on this web site are used by permission of his Family. 

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