By Barbara B. Covell
For the TODAY
The annual Beachcomber Days celebration of summer returns to Waldport this weekend, but this
62-year-old tradition has a new focus for 2018.
Originally a celebration of small town coastal living, this year’s Beachcomber Days has been revamped into a community-wide commemoration of the businesses, schools, philanthropic organizations, chamber and city services that make Waldport unique — and the spirited people who call Waldport home.
Lisa Jones, Chavvahn Gade, and Colleen Nickerson are the officers of the newly reorganized Beachcomber Days non-profit organization, which infused this year’s event with new energy, enthusiasm and excitement. They started by visiting local businesses and getting input on making Beachcomber Days a tourist destination. “We kept getting asked the same question,” says Jones. “Is Beachcombers going to happen this year?”
Soon the planning meetings began to draw in new ideas, and new volunteers to help with the events. “We have new blood in town,” Gade said “There’s a new chamber, new principals for the elementary and high schools, and more women involved with the Moose. Our mayor is dynamic and community-minded. We have a new fire chief. The Lions Club is very active. Suddenly, everyone brought forth suggestions to make this year’s Beachcomber Days an awesome weekend.”
The theme for the 62nd annual Beachcombers is “Where the Forest Meets the Sea.”
Jones says the theme honors the area’s environment and natural resources.
“We want Waldport to put on its best face, so the week prior is an all-out effort for a town cleanup,” she said. “Cub scouts, girl scouts, the 4-H club and other volunteers will be pulling weeds and removing trash. Many businesses will be decorating to help promote this year’s event.” Merchants are also participating in a scavenger hunt game, a longtime favorite for Beachcomber enthusiasts.
This year’s event locations will be spread throughout town, all within walking distance. The Main Stage will be in front of the Moose Lodge, hosting nine bands throughout Saturday and Sunday’s, the Sol Fire FireDancers, and the closing awards and ceremonies. More than 45 vendors will set up Saturday and Sunday by the Waldport Community Center, donating sponsorships and merchandise to this year’s lucrative treasure chest raffle.
Friday night’s kickoff will be 6 pm at the Moose Lodge with Mayor Susan Woodruff’s proclamation, followed by the coronation of the Beachcomber Days Queen, chosen from among princesses Alexis Graber, Catareina Adamson, Brooklyn McElroy.
Friday evening’s events round out with the Yachats Big Band, followed by Karaoke with KJ Ice until 11 pm.
Saturday’s full schedule includes co-events by other community groups. The Seashore Learning Center will be holding a garage sale at the Shelter Me Building beginning at 9 am. The US 101 Car Club Show returns on Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm. The Moose Lodge beer garden, burritos and tacos stand, and lemonade and watermelon sale will be from 10 am until everything is gone. The strawberry shortcake festival at St. Anthony’s community hall is also from 10 am. The Booster Club’s chicken BBQ begins at 11 am, and the ABATE Motorcycle show is featured from 11 am to 4 pm. The Waldport Art Guild will be hosting a beachfront art event for children.
The Flounder Inn will present the music of Roosterfish & Friends in their popular beer garden from 1 to 5 pm.
Saturday’s highlight is the traditional parade featuring clowns from Astoria, Eugene’s Highlanders bagpipes, a stilt walker, fire trucks, vintage cars, motorcycles, log trucks, cheerleaders, the Angell Job Corps honor guard, the Beachcomber queen and princesses, and much more.
New to this year’s festivities is a zip line, a two-day softball tournament, a new Kid Zone, and a full day of games on Sunday. Father’s Day will begin with Captain Clameron’s Clam-a-Rama on the beach at 10 am, with kite flying, sandcastles, and a treasure hunt for kids. At noon, Beachcomber family favorites, the Bed Races, Slug Races, Frozen T-Shirt Contest and a Pie Eating Contest will round out the festivities.
And don’t miss the Waldport Fire Department’s live demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday for kids of all ages; a crash extraction, complete with victims in full makeup, the Jaws of Life, ambulances, and Life Flight. The second day Chief Gary Woodson’s team will set a car on fire, then put it out.
Closing ceremonies, awards, and prizes will be held Sunday at 3:30. For more scheduling and information, go to www.beachcomberdays.com.