DRIFTWOOD FESTIVAL REKINDLED

March 28, 2001 12:00 am
A driftwood collage of Orca Singers took second place ribbon. ().
A driftwood collage of Orca Singers took second place ribbon. ().

A winter festival that fell by the wayside in 1988 was given new life Saturday and Sunday, with organizers hoping to see the event continue in the future.

Booths and displays filled the Azalea Middle School gymnasium for the Beachcombers Driftwood Festival. Many vendors said they were happy with the turnout. Most people attended Saturday.

Children filled every available table the first day of the festival for the make and take craft event, said Dori Frost, who kept children busy with crafts both days in the schools cafeteria.

Outside people could order food from Chetco River Grill, a food concession, formerly Red Oak Pit, recently purchased by Bill and Susan Frisch. Because of light precipitation, tables were set up in the cafeteria for people to eat the sandwiches and strawberry shortcake offered by the Frisches.

Workshops were scheduled throughout both days, providing people with information on driftwood cleaning, whale watching and basket making.

Greeting people both days were Walt and Iva Thompson, honorary father and mother of driftwood, and Jerry Holcomb, one of the organizers of the original Driftwood Festival, which first happened in 1976.

It was originally started to have something to do in the off season, especially for vendors, Holcomb said. The event is held indoors to keep people safe from the weather.

Holcomb said she chaired the committee to organize the festival for five years and then helped another five years.

Like the current festival, it was always scheduled during spring break, Holcomb said.

Organizers said they hope that next years festival will be bigger and better. They are optimistic that word of mouth will bring more vendors and participants to the festival.

Artists were invited to enter art made from driftwood. Sculptures, carvings and assembled pieces of driftwood resulted in many creations ranging from the simple collage depicting the popular Orca Singers to a human skeleton.

Judges awarded first, second and third place in 12 divisions. People attending the event were given the opportunity to vote on their favorite piece.

Winning the peoples choice award was Nancy Tuttle for her carving and painting of a wolf.

Winners in the natural driftwood division were first place, Violet Burton; second, Roger Pfanning; and third, Bill Hiltz.

Polished driftwood: First and third, Roger Pfanning; second, Dorothy Burk.

Art: First, Lynn Benton; second, Harold Thiesen; third, Rod Bodman.

Textiles and beachcombed materials: first, Lynn Benton, who was the only entry in this division, organizers said.

Household furnishings: First, Harold Thiesen; second, Terry Aubrey; third, Carol Mullis.

Miniatures: First, second and third, Judy Pendleton.

Collections: First, Frank Hammond, second, Lewis Thurman.

Decorated driftwood boards: First, Nancy Tuttle; second, Harold Thiesen; third, Louis Thurman.

Floats: First, second and third, Jim Watson.

Miscellaneous: First, Maureen Thomas; second, David Merand; third, Frank Hammond.

Winners in the childrens division include:

Collage: First place, Taylor Windham; second, Tracey Rodriguez; third, Joey Basile.

Drawing: First, Danielle Ambrose; second, Taylor Sexton; third, Catherine Bones.

Leading workshops were Holcomb, driftwood cleaning and polishing and tidepool slide show; Cathy Norton, sea kelp baskets; Dick Sutter, fish conservation; Cliff and Tigger Misener, whale watching; Coast Guard, beachcombing safety; Phil Acton, St. George Reef Lighthouse; Connie Gallemore, wreath construction; and Trudy Elliot, sea kelp baskets.