Inside Events and Festivals - Edition 6

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Inside Events and Festivals The official publication of the Washington Festivals & Events Association

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The importance of agriculture events to farms and communities

Behind the scenes at last years Waterfront Blues Festival

A glance at WFEA member events in July

Save the date for the 2020 WFEA Conference

The Lineup Creating Agriculture Events Trevor Lane on the importance of agriculture events and WFEA’s role in support those events Page 4

Visiting the Waterfront Blues Festival Behind the scenes at the 2018 Waterfront Blues Festival Page 7

WFEA Member Events in July WFEA calendar listing of events to attend around the state this coming month Page 10

Save the Date 2020 WFEA Annual Conference Page 12

Inside Events and Festivals Edition 6 Washington Festivals & Events Association

National Lentil Festival, Pullman, WA August 16-17, 2019,

Creating Agriculture Events The Historic Festival Narrative & Agritourism Trevor Lane, Washington State University Ferry County Extension


FEA supports rural and agricultural communities. Community events and festivals are part of rural and urban communities that date back to the early underpinnings of harvest festivals. The historic festival narrative has evolved and taken over communities in new and novel ways. There is no shortage of events or festivals that have come to define our communities and the landscape around us. In the State of Washington, there are thousands of events and festivals both public and private. These events and festivals defining our communities are not surprisingly founded in agriculture and natural resource-based activities. Oftentimes, farm events and activities are known as agritourism. As small farms struggle to generate revenue, agritourism is a promising practice that brings visitors to the farm for education or entertainment where added value products are sold. This promising practice is growing in demand and helps rural small farms generate much needed income to support the farm. Through agritourism, small farms can find and establish other ways to sell other farm products with added value. Research has discovered that added-value products enhance the customer’s experience further improving the farm’s profitability. As farms profit and this promising practice grows, understanding the importance of farm events or agritourism is found in the contribution to local, state, and national economy. According to the 2015 IBIS World Report, festivals and events are known to generate approximately $23.5B to the national economy. Conservative national estimates by the USDA show that more than $600M in national revenue is generated from agritourism activity alone with approximately $44.1M of that revenue generated in Washington. Agricultural events and activities are important to farms and communities because there are more than 90,000 small farms in the State alone (which is 90%) that contribute to local economies. However, more than 60% of these small farms are precluded from agritourism participation due to rules, regulations, and the fear of liability. WFEA has been committed to rural areas and agriculture through agritourism events and activities that stem from the historic festival narrative found in many popular events in Washington. For example,

Chocolate on the Beach Festival, Pacific Beach, WA February 27th—March 1st, 2020, many of our association members or state-based festivals and events founded in agriculture and natural resource-based activities include the Lentil Festival, Garlic Festival, Farmer’s Day Parade, Tulip Festival, Chocolate Festival, Oyster Festival, ShrimpFest, and Prospectors’ Days to name a few. Other non-specific agricultural activities like pumpkin patches, corn mazes, petting zoos, u-pick operations, farm to table dinners, bed and breakfast stays, farm stands, and more have become popular farm events, as well. The WFEA has been proactive in playing a role to support our rural and agricultural communities. Specifically, the WFEA board has supported agritourism and contributed to supporting laws and legislation that define agritourism, as well as indemnify small farm operators from unnecessary liability. To support the WFEA in these efforts, Washington State University (WSU) Extension continues to provide leadership, education, and programming that has helped chambers of commerce, event planners, farm associations, and others that want to see our agricultural festivals and events continue to flourish.

Waterfront Blues Festival July 4-7, 2019,

Visiting the Waterfront Blues Festival Jon Stone, CEA Partners


his past summer I was invited to tour the legendary Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland Oregon as guests of the producers, WFEA members Peter Damaan and Erika Olsen. Actually, the invite had been extended annually for more years than I can remember but I was always tied up with my own events during the summer. This being the first summer I had a more relaxed schedule, I jumped at the chance to finally make the trip. The festival takes place in downtown Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park, making the environment a delightful contrast of urban hip and natural beauty. I arrived at the show hotel towards the end of the evening of opening day. The Portland Marriot Downtown Waterfront is located directly across the street from the venue, and it was a very busy place. The first thing I noticed was every hotel employee was wearing a blues fest t-shirt! Given the extreme hustle and bustle of the capacity crowds coming and going I could easily imagine the staff being a bit overloaded, but my experience the entire weekend was that the staff were relentlessly cheerful, and all seemed genuinely excited and proud to be playing host to this event. The following morning my party of two adults and four kids ages 7 through 13 walked across the street to the main gate which was‌ well, it was just right there! That was unusually easy and believe me I took a moment to appreciate the 60-second commute from home base to festival entry. After a quick stop at the will call tent to pick up our credentials, we walked through the wellstaffed main gate with no wait whatsoever. I was not prepared for what awaited just inside. I saw fields of

grass, shady grottos of trees, the Willamette River was right there and beyond it huge expanses of blue sky and the Cascade mountains in the distance. The laid-back atmosphere was so prevalent I felt like I had just walked into a dream about the perfect vacation. For those who remember the Seattle festival scene in the late 1980’s, I would tell you that Waterfront Blues Festival still has that amazing, easy feel of community and comradery, arguably more so than Seattle ever did. I was instantly in the best possible festival frame of mind. And I was still standing just inside the gate! To our left was a long shady grotto lined with craft vendors. To our right was a long string of food purveyors. Every booth was very well curated and of high quality. This theme was repeated in other areas throughout the festival grounds. Everything for sale was of first-class quality, was interesting, was relevant and original, and there was plenty of it all. I was deeply impressed with the curatorial work done by their concessions team. We soon met up with Erika who took us on a tour of the entire operation. One of the more striking observations I made was that the teams managing the various stages and functions were comprised largely of folks who had been there for many, many years. Decades even. Same folks, same teams, same stage. That is so difficult to pull off these days and to me it spoke of what can only be a family-like philosophy of the producers. You have to feel valued to keep coming back to do these types of gigs year after year. On the south end of an already beautiful event site lies the mainstage, which is at once a stunningly gorgeous vista and a highly unusual stage configuration; I have never seen anything quite like it. The park is physically constrained by the streets of downtown Portland to the west, and the Willamette River to the East, thus the site is long and its width varies from not-very-wide to even-less-wide. The great lawn (the obvious place to put the main stage) affords a million-dollar view of the river and city skyline and mountains, but it is also of an unusual horseshoe shape. The producers have come up with an unorthodox and I think brilliant way to approach the space. Continued

From the audience’s seated perspective, where the stage would normally be you simply have a wide-open view of the aforementioned natural beauty of the area. You could spend all day just looking at that view. The main stage is actually located off to the right corner, and to the left corner there is another stage. Music programming bounces back and forth between the two stages all day so there is never any downtown; the music always plays. Giant LED video screens and an array of remote loudspeaker clusters assure that no matter where you are on the lawn, you are always effectively front row center for every show on both stages, yet you are also constantly enjoying all the urban-natural splendor of the site. It is brilliant, I tell you. Being a lifelong Washingtonian, it still catches me off guard when I see a festival goer just casually strolling around with a small cup of alcohol in their hand, acting as if the entire world wasn’t going to suddenly explode into a fireball and the whole of society wasn’t going to collapse in on itself, resulting in the eternal damnation of our souls, a nuclear winter, and an influx of street kids in chains. Our Washington State legislature wrote laws to protect our citizens from this bleak fate during Prohibition and they have been dutifully keeping up the guard, watching over and curtailing our every publicconsumption thought and action ever since. Down here in Oregon they clearly didn’t get that memo, and I didn’t have the heart to break their festival vibe with the awful truth. So we bought two glasses of perfectly chilled Sauvignon Blanc and acted like locals. It made me feel like an adult.

catering could be lengthy. To be clear, they must have had a hundred tables there. The area was very large, but the audience was even larger. Regardless, it was a happy place and we were most grateful for the access and the meals. In late afternoon a few of the kids went back across the street to the hotel to chill out, it was just that easy. The rest of us continued to shop and eat and listen to music and just enjoy the atmosphere. In the evening our party reconstituted, and we headed to the big stage for the evening’s main attractions. Our hosts again generously gave us access to the side stage viewing area, which was fantastic especially for the kids. By the end of the show my youngest child was completely crashed out in my lap. There would be no restarting him tonight. That said, the Marriot was only a slow 5-minute walk through the mass exodus of festival -goers. So, so easy. The hotel lobby more closely resembled a packed nightclub. Not only is the hotel at capacity with party people, staff and artists, but the festival also hosts after-hours concerts in the ballrooms! I did not partake of these shows, but I can only speculate the party just kept going on and on into the wee hours.

We tried a couple of times to visit the kids stage but it was always so popular we had a difficult time getting to it. Anywhere you are on site, you are only a minute’s walk away from the river. Need to take a break from the crowds and chill? Can do, anytime, anywhere. It’s easy.

The next morning we enjoyed the brilliant breakfast at the Marriott’s M Club. My SPG membership afforded myself and my boys’ access to this benefit, and we were able to purchase access for the rest of my party for a reasonable fee. In addition to the complimentary full breakfast buffet, the M Club is a lounge environment that is open 24/7/365, features evening appetizers and desserts, and you can always get late night snacks and beverages. This is a perfect scenario for us festival people.

They have a VIP area over the water that is used to feed staff and artists and sponsors and such. Everything about it was wonderful. My entire party agreed the food was fantastic. The only drawback to this shady getaway was its popularity. It felt like it was sized to about 80% of its expected attendance, thus it was hard at times to find anywhere to sit and the lines for

By late morning we were packed up and on the road. For a one-day visit to a festival we all felt like we had experienced a full weekend of fun and adventure. The kids still bring up the visit regularly and we will absolutely be heading back in the future. Everyone should feel duty bound to visit Waterfront Blues Festival.

There is an entire section of the festival that is devoted just to Zydeco. That’s just RAD!

July WFEA Member Events At A Glance July 13, Seattle Lucerne Seafair Milk Carton Derby Presented by Safeway Albertsons

July 3, Lacey Lacey Fireworks Spectacular and Freedom Concert July 3, Lacey Lacey’s 3rd of July Fireworks Spectacular

July 13, Seattle Polish Festival Seattle

July 4, Ocean Park Art In The Park

July 13, Lacey South Sound BBQ Festival

July 4, Auburn Auburn’s 4th of July Festival July 4, Bothell Bothell’s 4th of July Children’s and Grand Parades July 4, Kenmore Kenmore’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show

July 17 - July 21, Olympia Capitol Lakefair

July 19 - July 20, Walla Walla Walla Walla Sweet Onion Festival and 5K Funion Run July 19 - July 21, Sequim Sequim Lavender Festival Weekend

July 4, Ocean Park Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade

July 20, Ephrata Ephrata Chamber of Commerce Car & Toy Show and Shine

July 4, Renton Renton’s Fabulous 4th of July

July 20, Everett FHCAM Skyfair

July 4, Seattle SCCA Seafair 4th

July 20 - July 21, Covington Covington Days Festival

July 4, Tumwater Tumwater Independence Day Parade

July 21, Seattle Seafair Triathlon

July 5 - August 9, Vancouver Friday Night Movies in the Park Series

July 26 - July 28, Renton Renton River Days

July 6, Renton Cruz the Loop

July 26 - July 28, Olympia Washington State Senior Games

July 7 - August 11, Vancouver Sunday Sounds Concert Series July 9 - August 14, Lacey Lacey In Tune Summer Entertainment Series July 11 - August 14, Vancouver Wednesday Noon Concert Series

July 26 - August 16, Covington Covington Summer Concert Series July 27, Seattle Alaska Airlines Seafair Torchlight Parade

July 10 - August 14, Lacey Lacey in Tune Summer Concerts & Entertainment July 11 - August 15, Vancouver Thursday Six to Sunset Concert Series

July 27, Seattle Capital One Seafair Torchlight Run July 28, Spokane Valley Cycle Celebration July 31 - August 4, Lacey Thurston County Fair

July 11 - August 15, Kenmore Kenmore Summer Concert Series

See Full Magazine Here For 2020 Listings or to Receive 2019 Calendars Click Here

Photo by: Lexie J Winters Photography

Save the Date! 2020 WFEA Annual Conference

March 18-20, 2020 Bellevue Red Lion

Washington Festivals & Events Association 1015 Georgiana St. Port Angeles, WA 98362

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