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Fri, Sep 06

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Island Home

Foofaraw

A military appreciation day sponsored by the Thurston County Chamber and The Olympia Yacht Club.

Foofaraw
Foofaraw

Time & Location

Sep 06, 2024, 7:00 PM – 7:05 PM

Island Home, 4921 E Pickering Rd, Shelton, WA 98584, USA

Guests

About the event

This is a joint venture with the Thurston County Chamber. OYC provides power boats to take military and community members to Island Home for a day of fun in appreciation of our military!

You will be assigned the requested number of guests to take to Island Home.  During the trip your guests can construct the potato race car. We usually serve them a light snack and coffee or other beverages on the way out. Please limit alcohol as there will be plenty to drink once they arrive at the Island. Once at the Island the guests will enjoy games, raffles, music, beer, wine, and a fantastic meal of salmon, chicken, oysters, clams, and more! Prior to departing the Island there will be the legendary Tug-O-War contest. OYC is famous for coming out as the Champs so start doing those push ups now!

There will also be the famous cookie table so dust those kitchen aids off and get ready to make a dozen cookies for our soldiers!

On the way back to Olympia please be courteous of your fellow boaters and watch your wake!  We typically arrive back to the basin no later than 5 pm.

History of Foofaraw

John W. “Bill” Johnson worked for the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce back in the sixties. Some called him the “Executive Secretary”, others “Chamber Manager.” Although Bill has since passed away when his spirit looks down on Olympia each September, he must smile with the satisfaction of knowing that Foofaraw has become one of the Chamber’s most enjoyable annual events and is remembered warmly by military men and women stationed around the world.

Bill’s idea surfaced one morning in the coffee shop at the Olympia Hotel, where so many conversations over coffee were about Chamber members.

One day Johnson said” I have an idea on how the Chamber can make some good contacts with the military at Fort Lewis, Madigan Army Hospital, and McChord Air Force Base.”

So on a sunny Friday morning in September of 1962 a small fleet of about 15 boats headed north on Budd Inlet. One dictionary defines Foofaraw as “much ado about nothing” and, at one point in history the official “purpose” of the day, said a “Foofarite has earned the right to say ‘Foof’ to all duties and responsibilities for one day each year.”

Foofarites gather at the Olympia Yacht Club the morning of the first Friday after Labor Day each year. Each skipper tells Foofaraw planners how many guests his or her boat can accommodate and they assign a mix of military and Chamber participants to their hosts’ boats. Each Chamber member pays a hosting fee to attend Foofaraw. Those fees assist in paying for the food and refreshments.

After a period of athletic events, watching some of those events and much socializing, Foofarites enjoy the traditional barbecued salmon, baked beans, salads and garlic bread. A big favorite are the wonderful cookies provided by the Yacht Club. There’s plenty for everyone and even the most diet-conscious Foofarite is tempted to try “just a little bit more.”

After some more casual athletics and a lot more socializing, the thoroughly fed and relaxed Foofarites wander back to their boats for the leisurely cruise back to Olympia. Most get back to the Yacht Club about five that afternoon. Everyone seems to linger, not wanting to see such a wonderful day end and not wanting to say goodbye to his or her newly found shipmates and friends.

The Chamber gives each military installation a quota of people they can bring. The quota fills quickly. The military people who attend Foofaraw are almost universally enthusiastic about the event and most of them are eager to attend. One military commander said the easiest job he ever had was filling up his quota for Foofaraw.

Sorry Sailors! This is a power boat event due to time. If you would like to donate your time to help at the Island the day of please contact Gary Ashcraft (360) 520-8197. Or you could also volunteer to be a first mate for a captain in need.

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