~~~ Pilot story by Andrea Barkan ~~~
Organizers of the Kris Kringle Market and Christmas Around the World last weekend's plethora of holiday events scattered throughout town said this first year was a learning experience, and the show will definitely go on for years to come.
"The first time you put on an event like this, you just don't know," said Hayley Farr, who coordinated downtown Brookings events.
"We made a good start for something to work on for years to come," she said.
The stormy weekend put a damper on the event literally.
"The weather just killed everything," Head Coordinator Lynn Truman said.
But Truman added that the rain did not prevent entertainers from keeping their musical commitments, including the Brookings-Harbor High School Concert Band, which performed Sunday.
"When they walked out in the rain with their instruments, I was amazed," Truman said. "And they did it for our community."
Community unity was the festival's purpose, Truman said.
Elmo Williams, who produced the event, told Lynn months ago that he had a dream, she said.
"You could never get Brookings and Harbor to unite," she said. "That's what Elmo's dream was about. He did it to try to unite divided communities."
Truman said though the storms were bad, event organizers weathered them.
"We survived the Kris Kringle Market," she said. "And next year we want people to see what they missed and come out and support it. We need to make this grow."
Bette Moore, the event contact person for Chetco Village Merchants in the Port of Brookings-Harbor, said the merchants' association already has ideas brewing for next year.
"This was a great dress rehearsal for next year," Moore said.
"We learned we need an inside contingency plan," she said. "It came up today how much we need an event center."
Moore said she hopes to work with port officials to develop a five-year plan for the festival.
"That's the only way things work," she said. "By looking further ahead than next Tuesday."
Farr said the low turnout at some events may have been a result of giving people too many choices.
"Maybe people had a hard time choosing," Farr said. "If we can concentrate all of the vendors and entertainment in one building, it would be a huge benefit."
Finding an indoor venue is most important, she said.
"It's too much work to have the elements make a disaster of it," Farr said.
"We've learned a lot on this one," she said. "I feel like I'm certainly ready to take it on another year."