Author Archives: admin

The 19th Annual Port Townsend Film Festival

Friday September 21, to Sunday September 23, 2018

This long-running community event just proves to be more and more popular with every passing year. Household names in cinema such as Karen Allen (in the photo above with Janette Force, PTFF Executive Director) or Malcolm McDowell are invited to attend parades and parties and are practically considered royalty, while filmmakers from both across the country and internationally have a high profile opportunity show off their works to an eager public at different venues throughout the city. This year Actor Danny Glover, Director Jane Campion and Director Charles Burnett will attend, with 70 or more filmmakers.

90+ films will be shown in eight theaters in Port Townsend’s walkable, National Historic District on the waterfront this year!  The film schedule can be found on the Port Townsend Film Festival’s website, along with information about some of the highlights of this 3-day event. including the opening parade, dinners, ceremonies and awards presentation.

In addition to all the indoor cinematic excitement, perhaps the biggest attraction of the Port Townsend Film Festival is the 30 foot inflatable screen that gets set up every night in front of the historic Rose Theater on Taylor Street.  The whole town comes out to get in on the fun of open-air watching of classics like The Princess Bride or something for the kids like Chicken Run.

A variety of passes are available for the festival, ranging in price from $40 to attend a single film to $1500 for unlimited access (plus concierge service!)  The most popular pass costs around $200, and provides all-access to the featured films. For a bargain, the Film Festival offers “rush tickets” for $15 dollars to gain entrance to any show which still has seats available before the screenings.

Homer Smith Insurance has proudly supported the Port Townsend Film Festival since it’s inception.  We look forward to the films, fun and festivities every September!

Photos from a past year’s opening ceremony

Homebuilders Associations of the North Olympic Peninsula

Every year during late winter, the two North Olympic Peninsula Home Builders Associations host their Home Shows, which provide fun and information for people of all ages!  (Here is a link to some photos of the Home Show held in Port Townsend earlier this month.)   Homer Smith Insurance is a member of both of these organizations, and we’d like to share a little about each of their histories.

The longest serving building industry trade association in our region was known as the North   Peninsula Home Builders Association, and it was started in the mid-1970s.  In 2001, they changed their name slightly, taking the “Home” out of the name to include all types of builders. Since then, their goals have been expanded to include programs like Built Green of Clallam County to educate and instruct potential builders how to modernize their craft using cutting-edge environmentally sustainable practices.  Membership in the organization has its privileges, namely legislative representation through the NPBA, manufacturer discounts and the chance to visit with other members to achieve common goals.

Their most visible event is the Annual Building, Remodeling and Energy Expo, which is held in Sequim. Builders have the opportunity to meet potential customers and help just plain folk looking for ideas to use around the home and garden.

The other big player on the Peninsula is the Jefferson County Homebuilders Association. The JCHBA is headquartered in Port Townsend and has been serving the region since 1983.  Their mission statement promotes “affordable housing for our workers and the development of local business” through networking opportunities, resources and education.

Membership includes not just builders, but also subcontractors, local banks, mortgage brokers, insurance agencies, newspapers, realtors and other businesses actively supporting the industry. Among the many benefits are access to programs like the Building Industry of Washington’s Return on Industrial Insurance and member discounts through the National Association of Home Builders.

Every March, the Jefferson County Homebuilders Association hosts the Home and Landscape Show in Port Townsend. Here, the community has the chance to meet 50 different vendors specializing in building products, home design, gardening ideas to solar power and electric vehicles and other home-related interests.

Homer Smith Insurance is a proud participant of the Home Show, and we’re happy to assist home builders and homeowners with their insurance needs!

Home Shows can be fun for all ages!  Click this link to see some photos of the Port Townsend Home Show earlier this month.

Sequim First Friday Art Walk

Looking for something to do in Sequim on a Friday night? The Sequim First Friday Art Walk is an excellent way to see what’s going on in the downtown hub while supporting local businesses.  It’s fun and it’s a great social occasion. Each month a different color is featured, and wearing that color to the event is encouraged. This July 7th, the color is purple to compliment the upcoming Sequim Lavender Festival.

Right at the heart of First Friday is Sequim’s own Blue Whole Gallery, collectively featuring artists from around the region. On the same block are well-known favorites like The Sunshine Cafe, offering delicious home-cooked meals, and Wind Rose Cellars, Sequim’s own premier wine bar where you can also catch some live music to go with your glass of wine.

There are about 30 other venues and businesses in the downtown area participating in this First Friday event, such as the Sequim Museum & Arts, the the Alder Wood Bistro, That Takes the Cake, Rainshadow Roasting, Olympic Theatre Arts…we could go on!

We really enjoy this fun evening on the first Friday of the month. Homer Smith Insurance has helped many small businesses in Sequim find the right insurance for their needs, and likes to see them prospering!

Sequim Farmers Market

Every summer Saturday from 9-3 in Sequim, just across from the new City Hall, you have a golden opportunity to take a stroll amongst booths and tables at the Sequim Farmers Market. With over 60 vendors from around the region, it’s time to enjoy a carrot from Nash’s Organic Produce, wild honey from the Sequim Bee Farm, all sorts of tasty food from Jose’s Famous Salsa — or just spend an hour browsing local artisan crafts from Canine Collars to Let’s Do Lavender.

There’s music too, with a variety of folksy acoustic solo acts like Cort Armstrong or jazzy favorite ensembles like the Cat’s Meow to brighten your Saturday afternoon.

Many of us at Homer Smith Insurance enjoy our shopping options in Sequim, which has everything from local artisans, vendors and restaurants to national stores. Our company has been providing insurance for many businesses on the Olympic Peninsula for over 65 years!

Port Townsend Old School 4th of July 2017

Looking for a fun family-friendly outdoor activity with lots of elbow room?  Head over to the Fort Worden Parade Grounds for the 3rd annual Old School 4th of July 2017, hosted by the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce and Thunderbull.

The event starts at 4PM with the National Guard Dixieland Jazz Band and features a Tug of War Championship, a Pie-in-the-Face event (our crazy-brave friends are going to get messy!), and a watermelon eating contest. After a jam-packed day with music from the Caribe Steel Band and local beats from “The Ultimate Dance Band”  Uncle Funk and the Dope 6, it’s finally time to shoot for the stars with a fireworks diplay sponsored by First Federal.

Homer Smith Insurance is one of the Launch Sponsors of this fun event! We will be there!  Come on out!

The 2017 Port Townsend Steampunk Festival

So what is “steampunk?” And what does it have to do with Port Townsend?

Steampunk started as a science fiction genre back in the 1980s, where authors re-imagined 19th century society having advanced mostly steam-powered technology, based on the fashion, architecture and culture at the time. Think French author Jules Verne and his famous submarine, or H.G. Wells’ time machine.

The event is officially known as “The Brass Screw Confederacy” and it is a celebration of both history and fantasy, and a well-earned excuse to dress up in layers of Victorian-inspired attire, which is where Port Townsend comes in with its rich seafaring history and recognition as a Historic Seaport.

What better setting for this retro-themed festival that looks to the future? Enjoy music, speakers or just do some people watching this June 9-11.

The included photo is one of the favorites we took at the PT Steampunk Festival a couple of years ago.  We at Homer Smith Insurance love Port Townsend and all of its many and varied festivals!

Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival

We love the Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival!  Last year was especially fun for us,  as our good friend Jim “Kiwi” Ferris was the Grand Marshall of the parade and Homer was his chauffeur!

It is always held the 3rd weekend in May, well into spring, usually accompanied by sun and, of course, lots of flowers.

The Rhododendron or “Rhody” Festival began in 1935 when a local named Clive Buttermere started a sensation in motion by persuading Hearst Metronome News to make a newsreel of  the prized wild blossoms.  He surrounded them with women from the community who were chosen as Royalty to mark the event and add to the aesthetics of the pictures.  Since then, the one-day Rhododendron Festival itself has blossomed into an annual 4 day series of events culminating in a Grand Parade on Saturday and a 12K Rhody Run the next morning.

2017 Sequim Irrigation Festival – “122 Skies of Blue”

The Sequim Irrigation Festival began with a vision of the impossible:  making the dry Dungeness Valley bloom for its farmers and homesteaders.  Against odds and gravity, a group of 20 or so pioneers led by local known as D.R. “Crazy” Callen—called “crazy” for being the one behind the idea and pushing for it– built a series of irrigation ditches in the hills above Sequim and so ushered in a 122 year legacy of providing water to a region that historically gets about 18 inches of rain a year.  The town of Sequim gratefully celebrates this achievement with a festival of culture and tradition held on the second Saturday in May with a parade through town, local “royalty” overseeing the festivities and family-friendly events. The Grand Finale Weekend begins today, May 12, 2017, and some of the main events are:

  • Carnival, May 11th – May 14th
  • Historic Walking Tour
  • Golf Tournament
  • Sequim High School Operetta
  • Strongman Competition, May 12th 6:00-8:00pm
  • Logging Show, Truck and Tractor Pull, May 12th & 13th
  • Fireworks, May 12th 9:30 – 10:30 pm
  • Irrigation Festival Fun Run
  • Hot Rods & Harleys Show N’ Cruz, May 13th, 10:45 – 4:00 pm
  • 122nd Irrigation Festival Grand Parade, May 13th 12:00 – 2:00 pm

More info can be found at the Sequim Irrigation Festival Website, Here are a few photos we took from the 2015 and 2016 Sequim Irrigation Festivals.

Have You Considered Increasing Your Insurance Liability Limits? Think About An Umbrella.

If you own a home, own a car and a boat, you probably have insurance on all three. One thing each of these insurance policies will have in common is a liability component that protects you in the event someone is harmed by or on your property. Liability insurance is the part of your homeowners, auto or marine policy that pays for expenses such as the injured persons medical bills and lost wages and covers your legal representation if you end up in court. There is another thing these policies will have in common that you may not have considered; each policy has a limit on the liability payment. If there is an accident you will be protected only up to the limits of liability on the policy. These days, that liability limit might not be enough. If an accident was caused through your negligence, there is no way to predict how much a sympathetic judge or jury may award. You might take a moment to look over your Washington insurance policies and judge for yourself whether the limits of liability are sufficient to provide you the protection you are comfortable with. Financial advisors are now recommending that individuals who are still working have liability coverage of at least $1 million or equivalent to their net worth. If you are concerned that your limits of liability may not be enough, there is an alternative to simply raising those limits on a policy by policy basis. That alternative is a Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP). A Personal Umbrella Policy offers high limits of liability that can defend an insured against a catastrophic liability loss. PUP coverage, like an umbrella, sits on top of the primary liability coverage provided homeowners, personal auto, watercraft, and any other scheduled underlying liability policies. It covers bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury, which includes, among other things, libel, slander, false arrest and invasion of privacy. A Personal Umbrella Policy can extend your liability coverage from $1 million-$5 million. The really good news is that this form of coverage is quite affordable. Because the coverage picks up after the underlying liability coverage represented by your homeowners or auto insurance is exhausted, the pricing of these policies is commensurate with the risk. You may expect to pay only a few hundred dollars for $1 million or more of personal liability insurance. Take a few minutes to discuss your liability situation with a professional at Homer Smith Insurance. You may be able to significantly increase your liability protection very affordably.

Time to Winterize Your Home

OK, last weekend was the end of daylight savings time and if you are a homeowner you know what that means; it’s time to make sure your house is ready for winter. We are pretty fortunate on our side of the Hood Canal Bridge because we don’t often get the weather that sometimes plagues the passes east of Seattle or the other side of the Cascades. Still, we need to spend a bit of time making sure our homes are maintained for their own safety and the safety of others.

Inside the home you’ll want to check the thermostat to make sure that is working properly. It’s a good time to consider energy savings and whether or not a setback thermostat or a timer might help you save on your heating bill. Programmable thermostats that will allow you to set different temperatures by day and time of day can put a big dent in utility bills. If you have a pellet stove or other stove that works with the thermostat, you can even put programmable thermostats on these.

If you have a fireplace it’s time to clean it, the flu and the spark arrester at the top of the chimney. Make sure all your dampers are working properly and fitting correctly. You also need to check the mortar between the bricks on the chimney and look for any cracks in the fireplace or the chimney. It is particularly important if you have any form of exposed heating indoors that you check out all your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and put in new batteries for the season. If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, get one; they are a great safety investment.  You don’t want to be taking a chance on needing your Washington home insurance.

Make sure the house is tight. Check the door and window insulation in the house and garage and check for air leaks under doors, and where pipes or wires come into the house.  Caulk or repair any leaking areas as necessary.

Outside the house, check around the foundation and fill in any cracks. This will help prevent damage from water getting into the cracks and freezing. It’s time to clean the leaves from the gutters and make sure the downspouts are clear and not leaking. This will help prevent the formation of ice dams and possible damage to the roof. Survey your roof for worn spots or missing shingles now and at the first snow, take a look at the roof again to see if there are areas of uneven melting that might indicate insulation problems.

There’s time now before our first cold snap to check outdoor faucets, fix any leaks and insulate outside faucets and drains.  Our western Washington climate is relatively mild so inexpensive faucet covers will take care of most potential freezing problems.  On the deck and in the garden, put away any hoses, take in or cover patio furniture and prepare a sprinkler or watering system for winter. Make sure pools or hot tubs are prepped for winter. 

Many folks ion the Olympic Peninsula like to get away during the winter to warmer climates. If you’re going to leave your house vacant for some time there are a couple of additional things you should do. If you are going to turn off the water, try to drain the pipes if possible to prevent possible damage from freezing. If not, consider leaving some water running in a slow trickle to reduce the chances of freezing. If the heat will be turned off, consider insulating the water heater. Putting a small amount of antifreeze in the tank and bowl of each toilet can help prevent freezing and cracking these fixtures.

If possible, try to have a friend or neighbor check your house on a regular schedule. Unexpected things can happen in an empty house and  it is best to identify problems as early as possible before they cause major damage. If you are going to be gone for a long time it is worth talking to your insurance agent and checking your insurance policy. Insurance companies may take issue with covering damage to a house when the owner has been absent for a long period of time. Fortunately, there is additional coverage available that can protect you during periods of absence.