NEWPORT, Ore. – The coast saw winds of more than 50 miles per hour earlier this week, and though it caused some concern for organizers of the Newport Seafood and Wine Festival, the event is up and running for its 37th year.
It was opening night Thursday evening for the event, on a much milder day on the coast compared to earlier in the week.
“On Saturday about 1:00 we had a very strong gust of wind or even sustained winds that lifted part of the tent and rolled it,” said Lorna Davis, the Executive Director for the Newport Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber puts the event on each year, and Davis says part of the northern tent completely collapsed. Davis says her first concern was if anyone was inside the tent when it collapsed. Once she discovered everyone was safe – a thought flickered through her mind. Could the event be cancelled?
“That always goes through your mind,” she said. “But I think we were all just stunned and working on the solution that cancellation never entered our mind.”
Hours of teamwork among the event company, electricians, vendors, and the community helped get the tents back together and ready to go by Thursday’s opening day.
“Our electrician and our committee and our community has really come together to make sure we got back up and running on time without a hiccup,” Davis said. “So it’s nothing short of a miracle in our eyes.”
On Thursday, wine, food, and art vendors spent the day setting up their booths.
Davis says she thinks $2-2.5 million will be infused into the Newport-area economy throughout the weekend.
“It’s kind of a big deal,” she said.
She also expects 20,000 people to visit the event the festival, which will help businesses with exposure.
“If we can help them in any way to really attract people to this area, that’s what it’s about,” said Heather Hatton, the Public Relations Manager for Chinook Winds Casino Resort. “And we’re excited to be a part of that partnership.”
Chinook Winds Casino Resort is the presenting sponsor, and it says the festival is all about community partnerships.
The event runs until Sunday. Davis says daily tickets are still available, but the event is sold out on Saturday. She says there might be standby tickets available at the door after 2 pm, but it is not guaranteed. It is a 21 and over event. For more ticket information, click here.