First, I want to say a huge thanks to Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce for the honor! Second, huge congratulations to all the other nominees, as some of them clearly kick my butt with their business accomplishments. Kris Nelson, especially stands out as a Thirty-Something generation home town gal who not only does "big" business in town, but serves on City Council. A heroine for our times and despite all the things all the rest of us have done, and my sincere congratulations to the winner, Linda Lakush, Kris would have gotten my vote for the top honor this year. That's probably ageist, but so be it. At 50, I want to balance my cheers for my elders with the cheers to those coming along behind us.
Regarding my nomination, I am giddy with gratitude for the attention it brings to DECADES of work by Port Townsend marine trades and gigantically generous people who volunteer and businesses, Port leaders and Chamber volunteers who have always been vital to it's success. Here's what I wrote to Fred Obee at the Port Townsend Leader when he emailed me with the news of my nomination. I regret I couldn't be there in person to say it at the banquet, but I'd already booked a flight out before knowing anything at all about the banquet.
"The WBF Founders, the early Directors, Festival Coordinators and Volunteers are who should get this honor. Their incredible vision, the generosity of Port Townsend people of all political persuasions, the skill contributed and committed to for decades in our marine trades, the cooperation and support of the Port of Port Townsend and the partnership with the City, the Leader, accommodations owners, neighbor businesses, PTPD, transportation, heck...even Goodman Sanitation! are why I fell in love with the Festival personally and why it was such an honor, such a dream job for ten years. Certainly my international experience and passion for making the event richer in every way possible for people attending, my deep respect for the traditions of those who'd created before me and for the visitors was where my previous experience contributed most, but without the wooden boat owners year round contributions and without the local marine trades and Port keeping our town "authentic" we could never have accomplished the reputation in the world we have. Through the festival a wooden boat found me and now, without the full-time job as director, I'm writing my first book called Finding PAX. Pax is the 1936 Danish spidsgatter that came into my life on a windy day at Cupola House and I will be aboard her the entire Festival this year with owners from near 8 decades of her life. Forever a fan of wooden boats, my passion and support continue for the Festival, Port Townsend's Port and marine trades and the impact this makes on people worldwide. Thank you so much for the honor. Kaci Cronkhite"