Roger Purdue signs Fine Art Prints and accepts award from the Penn Cove Water Festival Association May 2005

See more about Roger's life, with beautiful photos of his work, in Whidbey Life Magazine.

Festival Sponsors:
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Photos courtesy of the Island County Historical Society

Penn Cove Water Festival

Coupeville, WA

Tribal roots of Penn Cove Water Festival
From 2015, with scenes and songs from past water festivals and interviews with Penn Cove Water Festival president Vicky Reyes and board member Michael Ferri. Compliments of Whidbey Telecom.

The Festival features annual tribal canoe races, Native Arts & Crafts Vendors, story telling, musical and dance performances, artist demonstrations, authentic Native foods, youth activities, exhibits and displays. Come visit this year or get involved today! Come visit this year or get involved today!

For a look at the meaning and purpose of the Penn Cove Water Festival, please see HonorWorks Presents: Penn Cove Water Festival

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The 2014 Festival is dedicated in Memory of

Roger Purdue 1938 - 2014

All pictures of Roger on this web site are used by permission of his Famiy.

Roger peeking over his newly installed Salmon Wheel, May 1996.




Roger Purdue wearing the blanket and cedar hat presented to him by the Penn Cove Water Festival Association and the Samish Tribe, with his daughter Gracie, February 2013.

We are deeply saddened to have to share the news that Coupeville artist Roger Purdue has passed away. Roger created the beautiful artwork for the Penn Cove Water Festival every year for two decades, and carved and painted the famous "Salmon Wheel" on the Coupeville Waterfront (now at the Island County Museum), and designed and oversaw the carving of the beautiful "Whale Wheel" that replaced it.

Roger is of Tsimshian heritage, and growing up on Orcas Island he developed a deep love for nature, salmon and whales. He was a teacher in Oak Harbor, and after retiring from teaching concentrated on his celebrated Northwest Native artwork and carvings, and was as prolific as he was talented. His generosity to the Penn Cove Water Festival and to the community will never be forgotten, and his beautiful, creative depictions of nature will live on forever.

There are no words to express the emptiness in our hearts on this day.

Appropriately, as I write this, a pod of Resident orcas is swimming up Admiralty Inlet, they have been traveling around the shores of Whidbey Island and Puget Sound for the past few days. We hope Roger's spirit is swimming along with them, free of the physical pain he has endured these past years. Our hearts and thoughts are with Roger's family - Sara, Wilbur and Gracie. Thank you for sharing Roger with us all these years - we know how much he loved you all.

We love you Roger ~

Susan Berta


Safe journey, Roger. We will miss you.

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On Sunday, May 6, 2018, the Penn Cove Water Festival Association installed, at the Boat Launch on 9th Street, the AED Unit they have donated to the Town of Coupeville. This unit is in Memory of Jackie Feusier, PCWF Board Member & Graphic Artist.

Pictured left to right: 1st Row: Charlie Smith of CWIFR, Jackie’s pal Izzy, Robert May & Bill McArthur of Whidbey Health EMS. 2nd Row: Jackie’s husband Joe Walck, Ginger Perez, Nina Goddeau, Vicky Reyes, Anne Colligan, Angela Contreras & Mayor Molly Hughes. 3rd Row: Michael Ferri, Michael Champion, Tish Finnigan, Marshall Chris Garden & John Acton.

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Support the Penn Cove Water Festival!
A 501 c 3 non-profit organization
Send your contribution to
Penn Cove Water Festival
PO Box 393
Coupeville WA 98239

For lodging and visitor information, please email Island County Tourism at

SherryeWyatt@IslandCountyTourism.com.

or visit:

The Coupeville Chamber of Commerce

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Photo by Nathan Whalen / The Whidbey Examiner

Coupeville artist Roger Purdue shares a story with Coupeville resident Gary Piazzon during Sunday's gathering to celebrate the local artist.

Purdue honored for festival images
By Nathan Whalen, Examiner Staff Writer

A longtime Coupeville artist and educator was honored for his work helping the Penn Cove Water Festival this week.
Roger Purdue, a woodworker who has for decades designed the logo for the annual festival, was honored for the artwork he has contributed over the years.
Dozens of people, along with several representatives from the Samish Indian Nation, attended an event Sunday to unveil the latest logo for the Water Festival that takes place May 18 in Coupeville.
During the unveiling, Purdue received several gifts from the Samish Indian Nation, which is based in Anacortes.
He received a cedar hat decorated with an eagle feather and a button blanket, both of which were made by members of the Samish Nation.
"I'm at a loss for words. Thank you, thank you," Purdue said while Rosie Cayou, Samish Indian Nation cultural development coordinator, wrapped the blanket around Purdue and placed the hat on his head.
The blanket was made by Diana and Pat Dunn, also members of the Samish Tribal Nation.
Purdue has donated new designs for the Penn Cove Water Festival for more than 20 years.
Each logo, which will eventually be placed on posters and T-shirts promoting the festival, keeps within the Native American tradition highlighted by the festiveal each year.
Canoe racers from Native American tribes across the Puget Sound region and First Nations peoples in Canada descend upon Coupeville to compete in a day-long series of races in Penn Cove.
The Water Festival also features Native American dancers, singers, storytellers and foods.
Cayou sang two traditional songs during the image release event. She also touched upon the similarities between Purdue’s family history and herown. They both have roots on Orcas Island.
Purdue also ensured his legacy of Native American inspired images will continue to be featured in upcoming festivals.
He donated 15 years worth of images.
Susan Berta, longtime volunteer who helps organize the canoe races and head of the Orca Network, shared how Purdue started designing the images, the first of which was based on water drop and a canoe, and how they became more elaborate over the years.
"I'm so happy to have come to know you. Your generosity has been amazing," Berta said during the meeting.
The day also provided a chance for interested people to sign up to volunteer for the May 18 festival.
Organizers always need help to organize such an event that is held in two parts of Coupeville and takes leaders about 12 months to organize.

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For information about the festival, to volunteer or to donate, visit the Penn Cove Water Festival page on Facebook or go to penncovewaterfestival.com.

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