The “Urban Unglued Gore at the Shore Dark Market,” a two-day vendor show that featured gothic and dark art and handmade items, was surprisingly successful a year ago at the Ocean Shores Convention Center. It returns this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19-20, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days with no admission charge.
Chuck Anderson, a horror fiction writer and publisher who had been a local resident since 2017, is helping market and promote this year’s event, as he did last year.
“We didn’t have high expectations” for the first time here, he said, explaining that this type of market typically takes a couple of years to build a following. But here on the North Coast, “We were blown away by the attendance and interest in the event.”
Sherri Mayes Vinyard’s Tacoma-based company produces more than a dozen vendor events yearly, mostly in the Seattle-Tacoma market. They will be back at the Convention Center on Mothers’ Day weekend, May 11-12.
Anderson said their vendors like the beach too, as evidenced by their increasing numbers, up 30% from last year with 55, including “way more local artists,” scheduled for this weekend.
“I think we’ve tapped into an underserved market,” he continued. “There’s really nothing in this area for people who like this sort of thing.” Pop culture demonstrates that people enjoy horror in many forms, because “it’s a very safe way to be scared, and every day is Halloween!”
Anderson has found further proof of a local market with the success of his two latest horror novellas, “Ocean Gores” and “Ocean Gores 2: Gulls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Both are set in Ocean Shores and are peppered with occasionally tongue-in-cheek local references. They are also his best-selling works to date.
The event producers like to help local non-profits, and are encouraging attendees to bring non-perishable food, or cash, donations for the Ocean Shores Food Bank, which will have collection barrels at the venue.
The new Ocean Pours Taproom on Ocean Shores Blvd. signed on as an event sponsor because, according to manager Christ Shifman, “it’s an unusual and unique event and we like to see stuff like that, and it involves some local artists.”
And there is the food bank connection. Shifman explained that Ocean Pours has started what will be a monthly program of helping area non-profits by designating three of their 16 taps to donate 50 cents for every pint poured, for an entire calendar month. They selected the Ocean Shores Food Bank to be their first charity because “you can’t get a lot better than raising money for hungry people.”
So far, Shifman said, they’ve raised several hundred dollars for the food bank. They’ve chosen Ocean Shores Friends of the Library as their beneficiary for February.