Arts & Entertainment Community

Harbor Happenings | Exploring local links to Steinbeck and a famous journey

Posted on February 14th, 2024 By:

Most locals know about the connection between Gig Harbor’s early settlers and Croatia. But the city also is connected with Monterey, California and Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.

Historian Michael Kenneth Hemp will discuss the links and historical timelines of West Coast settlement, migration, first peoples, fisheries, local boat building and world-famous literary events at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Gig Harbor BoatShop.

One of the links is the 1937 Tacoma-built Western Flyer, the boat chartered by author John Steinbeck for his explorations of the Sea of Cortez that became the inspiration for some of his most enduring works.

The presentation will include question and answer time and a book signing of Hemp’s “Cannery Row: The History of John Steinbeck’s Old Ocean View Avenue and its Connection to the Pacific Northwest.” Get tickets here. The BoatShop is at 3805 Harborview Drive.

Valentine Fish Tales

In keeping with Valentine’s Day, Harbor WildWatch presents a romantically themed Cocktails and Fishtales event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Ocean5. Titled “Romance in the Salish Sea,” it’s billed as a discussion of “romantic, racy and downright ridiculous ways of reproduction in the Salish Sea.”

The even is free but donations are accepted. Ocean5 is at 5268 Point Fosdick Dr.

Live music

Songstress Cara Francis brings her tasteful mix of classics to the loft at the Olalla Winery at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16. The playlist includes original works and jazz-infused pop tunes from the 1960s and ’70s. Make reservations here. The winery is at 13176 Olalla Valley Road.

Kimball Coffeehouse presents Billy Stapleton’s Powerhouse Band at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16. Stapleton’s resumé includes long-time stints with Little Bill and the Bluenotes and other Northwest blues bands. Free; all ages welcome. Kimball Coffee House is at 6659 Kimball Dr.

At the movies

The Flashback Cinema movie on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Galaxy Thatres Uptown is “Casablanca,” the Oscar-winning World War II love story starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Showtimes are 12:30 and 6 p.m.

The Flashback movie on Sunday, Feb. 18, is “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”  in which Harry and his pals face new challenges in their second year at Hogwarts. “Chamber of Secrets” also plays on President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 19. Showtimes are 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Flashback Cinema movies cost just $5.

Artistic opportunities

The deadline for new artists to apply for this fall’s Open Studio Tour is Feb 28. Details at

Civic engagement

  • The Gig Harbor Public Works Department will host an informational meeting about an update to the city’s water system plan. The meeting takes place at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Civic Center on Grandview Street. See the new water system plan here.
  • The Gig Harbor City Council meets for an in-person study session at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at the Civic Center on Grandview Street. Discussion items include a potential agreement with PenMet Parks for recreation services; height-related zoning controls; Ancich Park pavers and a review of the capital improvement projects story map. The meeting can also be accessed via Zoom.