Just a little over 49 years ago, on Nov. 3, 1970, the town of Ocean Shores became a certified city. As 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Ocean Shores’ cityhood, plans are underway for a yearlong celebration in the coastal community, and the first event takes place at noon this Saturday with a kick-off celebration recognizing the “Welcome to Ocean Shores” sign, erected 20 years ago at the city gates, as a significant historical feature.
The Museum of the North Beach and Ocean Shores Coastal Interpretive Center, both having missions to preserve and share area history, have joined forces to host the event. An informational plaque explaining that artist Judy McVay created the sign will be unveiled in a dedication ceremony that will commence at noon Saturday, at the city gates. The historical marker will be placed near the sign and this event will officially kick-off the year-long Ocean Shores 50th anniversary celebration.
“The Welcome to Ocean Shores sign is a highly photographed, significant part of the experience when entering the city and should be recognized as such,” said Coastal Interpretive Center Board President, Nancy Eldridge.
“The Museum of the North Beach and our friends at the Coastal Interpretive Center are proud to recognize this historical artifact,” added Museum of the North Beach Executive Director, Kelly Calhoun.
McVay and her brothers were early chainsaw carving artists, founded the chainsaw carving expo at the Puyallup Fair in the 1980s, were instrumental in creating local carving events, and Judy was the first Washington woman to win a chainsaw carving competition. And it does, indeed, run in the family. Her son, Boaz Backus, along with brother Steve, founded the “sawdust” portion of Ocean Shores’ famed Sand and Sawdust Festival.
In addition to creating the Welcome to Ocean Shores sign, her work can be seen all along the Washington Coast, the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway (Highway 101) and many other locations, including Moby Dick’s on Pt. Brown Ave. NW, where her “Sand Castle” sign hangs, and inside the Convention Center vestibule, where collaborative pieces created by Judy and Boaz can be found.