Celtic Festival, County Fair, and Winter Farmer’s Market all moving right along – maybe even the county’s “Event Center” too!
Celtic Festival and Highland Games
The Lincoln County Fair Board Thursday approved an operating agreement with the Celtic Festival and Highland Games set for later this year. The agreement now awaits the signature of the game’s organization. But it should guarantee a good repeat performance by the group whose inaugural event was judged a smashing success last year, even though rainy and blustery weather reduced attendance the second day.
Winter Farmer’s Market
The Fair Board also got an update from the Winter Farmer’s Market. Market organizer Katie McNeil said they’re pleased with their first run but that next fall they will not take a month off between the summer and winter markets. McNeil said they won’t skip a beat this fall. They’ll just plow ahead and be ready the next week with the winter market schedule. McNeil said although they didn’t average the 30 to 40 vendors a day they had hoped for, the 25 (on average) did well. The crafts portion of the market did well through late November and early December during the holiday shopping season.
After the first of the year, Hildenbrand said business slowed down a bit but they’re still pleased with the public support and interest among local growers. Some growers were flooded during the February storms which impacted their produce. But all in all, Hildenbrand said they proved that a farmer’s market is not only possible, it can thrive year round. She said although they will continue to promote and feature Lincoln County growers, they will be doing more outreach to additional growers in the region.
Hildenbrand did request that the Fair Board charge them rent next winter based on the number of vendors that participate on any given Saturday, rather than a blanket amount for the building, The Fair Board seemed amenable to discussing it. The Winter Farmer’s Market runs every Saturday at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds from 10-2pm. The last of the current season is set for March 31st.
Lincoln County Fair
And Lincoln County Fair organizer Debra Jones reported to the Fair Board that this year’s fair is taking shape pretty well. She said she’s able to announce that award winning country western singer Mark Chestnutt will appear Saturday night and that jazz blues singer Curtis Salgado will appear Friday night. The fair runs July 13, 14, and 15.
Fairgrounds Multi-purpose Event Center
And finally, the Fair Board talked about the county fair board not being considered for a piece of a million dollar grant from the city of Newport to build a new multi-event center at the fairgrounds. County Counsel Wayne Belmont said they were turned down because the project is still only in its conceptual phase. They didn’t have pre-requisite building or business plans formulated as part of their application. However, the fair board said that the Newport City Council has not officially awarded all the money and that there might be as much as $300,000 left over after awards are made to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Marine Heritage Museum and the Newport Performing Arts Center. Belmont said there was also talk about Newport putting more room tax money into the “tourism facilities” fund for future projects. Belmont reminded the board that the county and the city of Newport are both involved with discussions about a multi-event center that many agree would draw small to medium sized conventions from around the state and the northwest. In addition, the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce is, after 35 years of huge success at South Beach, very interested in relocating their annual Seafood and Wine event to a more comfortable and weather resistant facility. Their current use of a “tent complex” near the Rogue Brewery has been battered over the years by high winds and cold temperatures. Chamber Executive Director Lorna Davis has been conferring with county officials and has expressed chamber support behind the county’s plans for a permanent facility at the fairgrounds.