It was a day of celebration, as members of the Olympia Yacht Club (OYC) and Thurston County Chamber of Commerce hosted the 55th Annual Foofaraw, a show of appreciation to local service members throughout the Pacific Northwest, Sept. 8.
One definition of foofaraw is “much ado about nothing,” and this annual Foofaraw celebration is designed to allow service members to take a day off and get away from the responsibilities and stresses that come with serving in the military.
“Today is a day to say ‘thank you’ to our service members,” said Krystal Barkus, the coordinator of Foofaraw. “It’s about taking the time to let them know that we are thinking of them and that we appreciate everything that they do and sacrifice to keep us safe.”
The day began with the captains of the yachts at the OYC marina loading up more than 200 military and chamber of commerce members on more than 40 yachts and setting sail to the OYC’s private island, Island Home.
“I do this because it gives me a lot of pride and happiness to be able to bring our military members out, and see them have so much fun, and be so happy,” said Mike Willie, captain of the yacht “Makai,” who has been participated in Foofaraw for 15 years.
As the yacht’s set sail from OYC’s marina, they were greeted by local fire and police departments with flashing lights, waving hands and wailing sirens.
Upon arrival to Island Home, there was a flag-raising ceremony as the national anthem was played. Then the fun and games began.
Some of the events throughout the day included corn hole, a two-on-two basketball tournament, volleyball, tug-of-war and a traditional salmon bake prepared by the local Native American Chehalis Tribe.
“Today was a lot of fun, all of the games, especially corn hole were great, and the food was amazing,” said Engineering Aide 1st Class Andrew French, assigned to Navy Recruiting District-Seattle. “It was awesome to see the cops and firefighters showing us their appreciation when we were pulling out of port.”
With the day over, everyone gathered back onto the yachts, tired and happy and enjoyed a relaxing ride back to Olympia.
Foofaraw would not be possible without the OYC, Thurston County of Commerce and all of the sponsored partners that provide funding and supplies.