GOLD BEACH - The wine was poured in abundance, the music was entertaining and the art was pleasing to the eye during the 21st annual Wild Rivers Coast Art, Seafood and Wine Festival this weekend.
Fifteen wineries and 35 arts and crafts vendors filled both floors of Docia Sweet Hall and the Showcase Building at the Event Center on the Beach. In between the building, a temporary breezeway was set up where people could sit and enjoy food, live music and shade from the warm sun.
Nearly 1,000 people visited the festival during the weekend, which is a major fundraiser for the Gold Beach Chamber of Commerce, according to Elyse Power, chamber executive director.
Wineries represented at the event were happy with the turnout.
andquot;It seems like there are more people here than in previous years,andquot; said Alicia Gerber, who was serving wine for Foris Vineyard Winery in Cave Junction.
Perhaps from a winery's perspective, there were more people because, according to Power, sales increased, even though attendance was down slightly from previous years.
andquot;Most of (the wineries) doubled their sales over last year,andquot; Power said. andquot;Which goes to show that no matter how poorly the economy is being perceived, people still drink their wine.andquot;
Power also added that people did come from out of town, mainly from the Willamette and Rogue valleys, as well as from out of the country - including visitors from Germany, France and Canada.
One out-of-town vendor, who spends his winters in Arizona, arrived to Curry County only to find it was warmer here. However, Gerald and Mary Ann Airth still look forward to spending their summer in Gold Beach, knowing it will be cooler than their winter home.
The Airths sold hand-spun yarn, and people were given the opportunity to watch Gerald Airth spin yarn at his booth.
andquot;I enjoy the festival. I enjoy coming here,andquot; he said. andquot;It's more than selling our goods - it's about meeting the people.andquot;
The art community was well represented. Artisan booths offered paintings, photography, jewelry, soaps, woodwork and items made from yarn - just to name a few.
Theresa Ackerson, an artist agent and director of Headwaters Gallery in Ashland, was new to the festival this year.
andquot;I'm very excited about being here,andquot; she said.
The festival provided a means of showing art from the gallery, but also to network with artists. As an agent, her job is to guide and nurture up-and-coming artists, giving them the opportunity to have their works displayed, often for the first time.
Food was also available at the event. However, seafood was lacking, which Power admitted she received many complaints about.
andquot;One major seafood supplier was unable to attend due to very low inventory of crab and shrimp,andquot; Power said.
This happened at the last minute and the name of the festival could not be changed, nor could the chamber board find another seafood vendor on such short notice, Power explained.
Power added that the festival would not have happened without the help of many volunteers, including David Hoenie, who helped with andquot;everythingandquot;; Carolyn Triguero, who organized the artists; Bob Manners, a major planner of the event; Leif LeFebre, who helped in the office and distributed posters; and Rachel Hoefer, who scheduled the volunteers.
andquot;In addition to the volunteers, I would like to thank our music groups,andquot; Power said. Those entertaining were Homemade Jam, Rogue River Jam and a jazz quintet consisting of Jerry Moffit, Mike Reetz, Matt Power, Al Somera and Gary Lowden.
andquot;We are looking forward to another quality art and wine event next year, so join us for the 22nd annual Art, Seafood and Wine Festival,andquot; Power said.