As the summer season begins to wind down, Labor Day weekend provided people in the Pacific Northwest with one last chance to get out and enjoy the weather for an extended period of time.
With an impressive forecast gracing the coastal communities of Grays Harbor County during the three-day weekend, a plethora of entertainment and activities awaited crowds of people regardless of which beach town they chose to visit.
Ocean Shores, which had temperatures of 69 degrees and higher with sunny conditions through Labor Day, was ready to welcome visitors of all ages to its sandy beaches, dozens of shops, bars and restaurants. But those visitors also had a chance to check out a big event this weekend.
The Associated Arts of Ocean Shores (A.A.O.S) hosted its 53rd annual Arts and Crafts Festival. The event, which ran from Friday, Sept. 2, through Sunday, Sept. 4, featured a wine and beer garden, more than 70 vendors, as well as live music and entertainment for kids in a surreal family-friendly environment.
Jacqueline Horton, who serves as the chairman of the festival and the president of the A.A.O.S., said that the history of the association goes back decades and seeks to help aspiring artists and students looking to pursue an education in the field of art.
“The A.A.O.S has been supporting the arts on the North Beach since 1974 and our support takes many forms,” Horton said.
“We annually award $2,000 in scholarships to graduating seniors going into studying art in college and the festival is a big fundraiser to help promote local artists and crafters not only in Ocean Shores but in Grays Harbor as well. We also donate a chunk of money to the North Shore School District to help students have access to the art electives.”
Horton noted the festival was free to attend and that she expects somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 attendees for the three-day event. She said everything that is sold at the event is handmade by the artists and crafters. Live music entertainment featuring bands, such as SR109 and Johnny & The Bad Boys, will begin on Saturday at 12:30 pm.
In other events happening in Ocean Shores, the Oyhut Bay Seaside Villages hosted live music on Saturday, Sept. 3, and Sunday, Sept. 4, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Musical artists included Brian Bachman, Taylor Beach, Kevin Case, and SR109 among others.
Across the Harbor, the city of Westport, which had temperatures in the mid-60s with overcast skies through Labor Day, was set to have its version of fun for the weekend.
While the South Beach community tends to play second fiddle to the vast popularity of its North Beach neighbor, Westport will host two big events.
Perhaps the most anticipated event over the weekend, the 75th Annual Seafood Festival, occurred on Saturday. The festival, which was hosted by the Westport and Grayland Chamber of Commerce, featured a lot of fresh seafood, ranging from fish to oysters, chowder, and more.
The event also had a number of vendors for adults and kids to enjoy, as well as a craft show and live music by All In. Just a couple blocks away from the festival was another popular event, the 13th annual Corvettes at the Marina.
Larry Benner, who is the founder and president of Corvettes of Grays Harbor, said the event is held in conjunction with the Annual Seafood Festival. He said it’s a great way to promote businesses at Westport Marina.
“The best part of our event is that we’re not in some boring car lot. We’re within a couple of blocks of the seafood festival and we’ve been partnering with them for the last four years to increase tourism for all the businesses that people see while they’re here,” Benner said.
“We’re a small club of only 30 people who run the event, but our Vice President Rex Bell and his wife Jean put in a lot of work to organize this every year. We normally see around 100 to 130 Corvette entries each year.”
Benner pointed out while most of the entries are from Grays Harbor, people can see Corvettes from the very first model released in 1953 to the latest version of the popular vehicle. He said people will be able to partake in a raffle and silent auction, while individuals who enter their Corvette can win trophies.
Benner noted that each vehicle entry is $30 and all the money made from the event will be donated to different charities across the county, as well as school districts.
“Last year we donated money to organizations, such as PAWS, as well as to the Ocosta and Aberdeen School Districts,” Benner explained. “We try to vary it each year so everyone can receive extra financial assistance.”
For people who were interested in attending events in Ocean Shores or Westport over the holiday weekend, the A.A.O.S. Arts and Crafts Festival was held at the Ocean Shores Convention Center at 120 Chance A La Mer, in Ocean Shores. The annual Seafood Festival was held from noon to 5 p.m., while the Corvettes at the Marina event was held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both are located at the Westport Marina.