Only at Olympia Harbor Days 2023 will you find a tugboat in the sky!

The South Sound Maritime Heritage Association, in celebration of the 50th Annual Edition of Olympia Harbor Days Maritime Festival, is proud to present an addition to the 2.5 day festival a Friday (9/1) night 75 Drone Maritime Light Show over the Westbay of Budd Inlet with a test rehearsal Thursday (8/31). Both shows start at 9:30PM and are just over eight minutes long projecting maritime and marine images in the night sky.  Carol Riley, Executive Director says, “Traditional festival hours for Friday have been extended this year to offer the public a Night Market which includes arts, crafts, commercial, and food vendors as well as extended illuminating entertainment and closing with the Drone Show.”

On both nights the shows will be launched from Westbay Park and hover over the water facing East and West. Recommended viewing areas are from the boardwalk and the Port Plaza, Percival Landing Park, or the north end of Westbay Park on the westside of the bay. According to Riley the show will appear distorted the further North or South you go. Olympia Harbor Days Community Radio Partner KXXO MIXX 96.1 will broadcast compatible music which will be projected from both festival stages and aired live so folks at home with a view can listen.

Olympia Harbor Days is the largest maritime festival in the South Sound and has won numerous awards including the Best Event of the South Sound by the Washington Festivals and Events Association according to Riley.  The free family friendly festival focuses on the tugboat maritime heritage of Olympia and includes the world’s longest running Vintage Tugboat Show and Races and this year includes workboats. The event features over 300 things to do and see including boats, bands, booths, food, kids STEAM activities and tribal cultural sharings. Tour historic ships, book a harbor sailing or harbor tour in advance aboard the tall ship Lady Washington or steam ship Virginia V, sign up at the event for small watercraft excursions including sailboats, dragon boats and kayaks. The festival offers something for everyone and features art demonstrations, sculptures and carvings of tugboats in sand, stone, wood and legos.

The festival, and the drone show, are free and open to the public and starts Friday, September 1 at 5 p.m. and continues through Sunday, September 3 until 6 p.m. The event is supported by attendee donations, local sponsors, the City of Olympia, the Port of Olympia, the Washington State Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The drone show, as well as all offerings of this outdoor festival are subject to change or cancellation without advanced notice.  For more information, please visit