Plans underway for yearlong Ocean Shores 50th anniversary fete

  • Thu Oct 31st, 2019 11:40am
  • News

By Scott D. Johnston

For the Grays Harbor News Group

Planning is under way for a year of special events and activities that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the City of Ocean Shores throughout 2020.

Mike Doolittle, owner of Playtime Family Fun Center and president of the Ocean Shores Marketing Co-op, has presided over the first three organizing meetings.

Longtime local event promoter and consultant, Dianne Hansen, who also owns The Dusty Trunk gift shop, has taken the point on setting up committees to work on different aspects of the complex undertaking.

Daniela Werner, who also boasts years of event production experience and has been Hansen’s frequent collaborator, rounds out the leadership team, and actually took some of the very first steps to launch the effort by creating a Facebook page, “Ocean Shores Celebrates Turning 50.”

After development throughout the 1960s, the City of Ocean Shores was officially founded in November, 1970. Fifty years later, folks are excited about commemorating that milestone.

The broad vision is to develop an ongoing series of events, activities and promotions that collectively appeal to broad demographics, to draw people who have enjoyed Ocean Shores sometime over the past 50 years and attract new visitors. While the group envisions a calendar with activities dotting every month, particular attention is being paid to the winter off-season and spring and fall shoulder seasons.

Ideas include a dinner and dancing grand ball, a 1970s rock concert, contests, merchandise, a scavenger hunt, an all-classes North Beach High School reunion, “50 years ago” price rollback promotions at local retailers, a golf tournament, a throwback fashion show, a clam dig party on the beach, a parade, various displays featuring images and artifacts from 50 years ago from the vast collections of the Museum of the North Beach, the Coastal Interpretive Center and other sources, and tie-ins with as many local events, organizations and groups as possible. There is also discussion of re-creating some of the famous events from the past, such as the Fog Festival.

Some things have already begun. For example, the 2020 Historical Calendar produced by the Museum of the North Beach is now available. Its 16th edition is a collection of historical images celebrating the 50th anniversary of Ocean Shores’ incorporation. Stage West Community Theatre is already planning to produce “Lady on the Beach,” the theatrical version of the 1952 book about life in the North Beach area.

At its meeting earlier this month, the Ocean Shores Lodging Tax Authority Committee (LTAC) awarded the co-op $10,000 to put toward the effort, and the City Council approved it at their Oct. 14 meeting.

Prior to the approval vote, Doolittle told the council that the co-op is trying to serve as “a catalyst, as glue for a number of people who were already thinking and planning what they could do for the 50th.” He said when he got involved, “I was just blown away at how much planning has already been done.

“When I have the opportunity to talk to my customers about the history of Ocean Shores, they’re impressed. It’s just amazing what we have to present” for a celebration of 50 years as a city.

Doolittle said they are grateful to the city for the support coming through LTAC funds, but noted that more fund raising, sponsorship efforts and promotional partners are vital to success. Quinault Beach Resort and Casino has already indicated its support, noting that 2020 is also QBRC’s 20th anniversary and there are many possibilities to work together.

More information is available on the “Ocean Shores Celebrates Turning 50” Facebook page, by emailing the Marketing Co-op at, and in person by visiting Hansen at The Dusty Trunk.