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Festival of the Arts

Visitors walk the Boardwalk during the Festival of the Arts. The Pilot/Bill Schlichting
More people visited the 16th annual Festival of the Arts at the Port of Brookings Harbor boardwalk this past weekend than in previous years.

Jo Mochulski, chair of the Festival of the Arts committee estimated about 9,000 people visited the event. The crowd was about the same as previous years on Saturday, but Sunday’s turnout, although less than Saturday’s, was more than in past festivals.

“It was terrific. The weather cooperated. The crowds were great and the vendors were all wonderful,” Mochulski said.

Not only was the crowd larger, but there were more vendors. This year there was an additional 40 feet of booth space at the south end of the festival grounds, she said.

Vendors, who offered a variety of handmade merchandise, were chosen by jury. Many vendors were repeat participants while about a third were newcomers. Vendors also came from a variety of locations. Mochulski said that about a quarter were from Curry and Del Norte counties, another chunk were from out of state, but most were from elsewhere in Oregon. Vendors came from as far away as Arizona.

Lori Kirsch and her boyfriend David Bruce came from Phoenix, Ariz., to sell her bead jewelry and his birdhouses.

Kirsch said she saw an advertisement announcing the festival in a publication called the Country Register. Bruce, a wholesaler, had been through Brookings on business and was familiar with the area. So she called the Festival of the Arts committee and sent an application. Both were juried into the festival and sold their crafts in adjoining booths.

Across the aisle at the Acrewood Art booth, Wayne Bricco, who taught history at Crescent Elk Middle School in Crescent City, Calif., for 35 years, was selling his pen and ink drawings.

Bricco began his art career after he retired in 2002. He believes he has always been artistically inclined, but never took any formal training until he took his first art class after he retired.

Perhaps a mainstay at the festival is Special Creations of Grants Pass. Delores Householder and her daughter-in-law Stephanie Householder have been bringing their hand-built pine furniture to the festival for at least 10 years. Neither could remember exactly how many times they have participated, nor could they remember how they learned about the festival because it’s been so long.

However, both enjoy coming to the coast.

“We enjoy the customers and the beautiful boardwalk,” Delores said.

“We actually look forward to seeing some customers,” Stephanie added.

In addition to the craft vendors, the festival had a children’s area, live and recorded entertainment, demonstrations and food vendors.

Helping in the food court were Bob Tetrault and his grandson Robert who kept the tables clean and emptied the trash cans, Mochulski said.

Volunteers are the backbone of the festival. Mochulski received help from fellow committee members Dori Blodgett and Betty Wintersteen. Many volunteers helped a couple of hours here and there, but Dolores Maillet, Cathy Moore, Sandy Dietz and John McDonough helped out for the entire two-day event, Mochulski said.

Vendors also provided  more than 90 raffle prizes. Winning the grand prize lunch and private tour of Pelican Bay Lighthouse were Rob and Sheila Curtis of Harbor.

Mochulski added that festival T-shirts and sweatshirts will be available at the Brookings-Harbor Chamber of Commerce office, 16330 Lower Harbor Road, Harbor.

Plans are already under way for the 2010 festival, Mochulski said. Perhaps the biggest change she would like to make for next year’s event is to work with the South Coast Humane Society to provide a dog daycare area.

No dogs allowed was probably the biggest complaint from people, she said. Before the ban on pets, there were a few animal fights, tangled leashes and people tripping over animals because of the tight space.

However, many out-of-towners also didn’t want to leave their dogs in hot cars, so they left, Mochulski said.

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