Harbor Days hit Oceanside shore

OCEANSIDE — Harbor Days bring two days of swashbuckling fun Sept. 16 and Sept. 17.

Among event highlights are the Nail ‘N’ Sail team boat build and race across the harbor, and the 2.4-mile open water Tiki Swim. Both events are fun competitions and great spectator sports.

In the Nail ‘N’ Sail competition teams have a set supply of materials to construct a boat within a limited amount of time. Then teams race for first-place-finish bragging rights. Some boats sink before they reach the finish line. Others jet through the water. To add to the fun. teams come up with whimsical names and costumes.

“We have 12 teams this year,” Kristi Hawthorne, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce vice president of events, said. “You never know who is going to win, the costumes and boat decorations are always fun.”

The Tiki Swim usually draws more than 500 swimmers. All swimmers hit the water at once and swim from the pier to the harbor. Top finishers complete the race in about 30 minutes.

A 1.2-mile swim from the south jetty is also part of the race.

Both days are filled with music, food, exhibits, vendors and pirates.

An interactive pirates’ village just outside the vendor area lets guests engage with mateys and mermaids. There are family-friendly pirate games, activities and demonstrations. Kids age 10 and under are encouraged to dress up and compete in the pirate costume contest held at noon both days.

Visitors also have a chance to meet Captain Jack Sparrow. He serves as an event ambassador, and begins contests, greets people and poses for photos.

The beer garden and expanded food court are located near the north jetty and feature deejay tunes.

“We will have plenty of food vendors and a great variety of food to choose from,” Hawthorne said.

Camp Pendleton Mechanized Museum vintage military vehicles are parked on the sand for people to climb aboard and get a feel for them.

Marines are on hand to answer questions about the fleet of vehicles that were used between World War II and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Early Saturday the Navy LCAC land and sea vehicle rolls in from the ocean.

“It never ceases to amaze me and wow the crowd,” Hawthorne said.

Another event highlight is the early morning firefighter pancake breakfast. Hotcakes are cooked and served both days as a fundraiser for youth scholarships before vendors open their booths.

The annual event is put on by the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. Tri-City Medical Center and Genentech are key sponsors. Numerous local businesses also help support the event.

Harbor Days is held annually to celebrate the 1963 opening of Oceanside Harbor.

The Tiki Swim was added to Harbor Days in 2010. The pirate village has been a part of the event since 2006.

Free parking is available at the Transit Center Parking Garage located at Cleveland Street and Seagaze Drive. There is free shuttle service from the Transit Center to the harbor.

Harbor Days takes place at Harbor Beach. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17.

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