Council to consider city self-promoting events

  • Thu Sep 5th, 2019 10:12am
  • News

By Scott D. Johnston

For the Grays Harbor News Group

At its next regular meeting, the Ocean Shores City Council will resume the discussion of the city becoming a promoter of three major events at the Ocean Shores Convention Center. The meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, in the Convention Center.

The discussion began at the Aug. 26, council meeting with a proposed resolution that, if approved by council, would authorize the city “to sponsor or co-sponsor community events based at the Convention Center the intent of which is to be revenue neutral or profitable and that serve to enrich the civic, charitable, cultural, economic, entertainment and other values of the community and that enhance community identity.”

The impetus, as explained by Convention Center Manager Diane Solem, Mayor Crystal Dingler and City Attorney Brent Dille, came from two sources:

When the previous promoter canceled the annual late July motorcycle event in April with only 90 days’ notice, the city and its Convention Center started putting together “Hog Wild Ocean Shores,” a self-produced, self-promoted event, with a big boost from Quinault Beach Resort & Casino and sponsor support from more than 20 local businesses. The event was widely seen as successful and an improvement over the previous two years.

At the same time, the Ocean Shores/North Beach Chamber of Commerce, which has promoted the Razor Clam and Sand and Sawdust events for several years, was disintegrating amidst a cloud of unpaid bills and other problems, leaving the future of those two events in question. Thus, the idea of the Convention Center taking the three major events in-house was born.

Solem said time is of the essence, especially for the Razor Clam Festival next March. “Whoever is taking it on should be soliciting sponsorships currently,” she said. It was also noted that vendors and various event content providers are already booking for next year. Dingler added that cancelling events for next year and trying to resurrect them sometime in the future would be difficult.

The resolution drew more than a dozen public comments, mostly in favor of somehow continuing the events, and more than an hour of council discussion followed. A revised resolution is included on next Monday’s council agenda.

Meanwhile, council member and local businessman Jon Martin invited local businesses to a meeting this Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Convention Center.

In his emailed invitation, he wrote, “The Council heard your voices as to the importance of events to our livelihood. Unfortunately, some feel it is not the City’s responsibility….

“We have less than six months away from the first event and the LTAC applications are already out. Delaying may put us in the position that we do not have our top three Convention Center events next year.

“It is essential business continue to speak on what your priorities are.” He added that he put together the meeting “to hear what you would like to see and (learn) if there is something we can work together on.”

Martin, who is running for a second council term, concluded by noting that “one business owner stated they felt Hog Wild was better this year because local businesses were involved. I agree the business community needs to have a seat at the table. Too often our voices are drowned out by those who believe funding non-profits with LTAC money is more critical than bringing tourists to town.”