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Bringing thousands to the port Print E-mail
Written by Bill Schlichting, Pilot staff writer   
August 11, 2010 05:00 am

After 17 years, the annual Festival of the Arts at the Port of Brookings Harbor boardwalk continues to be one of the more popular events in the area.

Officials estimate more than 9,000 people visited the more than 100 booths during the two-day festival.

The three-time award-winning festival featured everything imaginable that can be handcrafted out of wood, glass, yarn, ceramics and stones, not to mention painted on a canvas or any other surface of the artists’ choosing.

Artisans who were featured in the Curry Coastal Pilot prior to the event were busy talking to people who recognized them. One vendor, glass artist Chip Moore, said that because of the article, many people wished him a happy birthday on Saturday. The article stated that he was turning 40 on that day.

Many of the artisans are retired and travel the festival circuit after making a hobby into a source of income. A few out-of-towners also sell their goods locally, including Harry Clarke of Star Fish Hat Co. from Alamogordo, N.M.

The business, which offers crocheted hats, belongs to his wife, Dottie, but he began to help when he quit smoking four years ago. He took up crocheting to keep his fingers busy, he said.

Clarke was one of many vendors who were creating their wares on site. He said it takes him anywhere from four to 10 hours to make a hat. His wife designs most of the hats.

A few vendors let visitors test and try their merchandise, including Ram Shucart, owner of High Spirit Flutes of Eugene. He brought plenty of plastic tubing for a mouthpiece so people could play the flutes. Normally, the instrument is played with the mouth on the wood.

Many vendors felt that sales were good, including Shucart, who said that sales were consistent.

The sounds of flutes wasn’t the only music heard around the boardwalk during the weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, Lon Goddard and Aura Wright entertained the crowds. Then on Sunday, the Jefferson State Ensemble performed on the festival stage.

In addition, there was an Italian dance demonstration and a show of remote-control sailboats.

Demonstrations included needlework, rock painting and microwaving pressed flowers.

Of course, there was plenty to eat at the festival. In addition to the restaurants surrounding the boardwalk, food booths sold a variety of culinary treats.

Children also had the opportunity to create their own art at the Chetco Community Public Library booth, led by Dori Blodgett, children’s librarian. Many adults also sat down to get artistic as well.

A no-dog policy continues to be in effect and, according to Jo Mochulski, chair of the Festival of the Arts committee, has been going well, thanks to the South Coast Humane Society’s free dog sitting services.

New this year was a no-smoking policy, which also went well, Mochulski said.

Many volunteers help keep the festival going by distributing programs and greeting visitors. At the festival information booth, T-shirts and sweatshirts were available for sale. The T-shirts sold out, Mochulski said.

If anyone would like to purchase a T-shirt, they may call the Festival of the Arts at 541-469-7120 by Aug. 23. Sweatshirts are still available and will be sold at the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce office, 16330 Lower Harbor Road, Harbor.

On Monday, the Festival of Arts committee – Mochulski, Betty Wintersteen and Dolores “D” Maillet – evaluated the weekend’s festival and began plans for the 18th festival, which has been scheduled for Aug. 6 and 7, 2011, Mochulski said.

The committee, however does not work alone. Festival assistants are Scott Locy, Dori Blodgett, Gail Scriven, Sheila Curtis, Maria Christopher, Sandy Dietz, Rob Curtis, Bud Halliday and Hazel Brown. In addition, there are 75 volunteers who work during the festival.

The Festival of the Arts committee also encourages individual  artistic potential by sponsoring a Late Bloomer Grant.

This year’s grant recipients are Pat Bisgrove, Linda Ging, Bonnie Loewen, Cathy Moore, Jane Opiat, Janet Richey and Maureen Staggs.

Information about the festival and the grant is available at http://www.artfestcoast.com.

 

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