I am concerned about your stories denigrating the Coos Bay-North Bend Festival of Sail 2017. It was one-sided and short-sighted. The people who attended the festival and were able to visit the four ships that came were very satisfied with their experience and said so to volunteers as they exited the festival. The Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain have been coming to Coos Bay since late 1990s, early 2000 — and have been downtown, but the casino area (parking, etc.) was not as amenable to casual viewers this year.

The Boat Building Center was striving to let the world know what a special place Coos Bay is and how much we love the history of the sailing ships. Visitors came from 17 states and a few from overseas, so from that perspective, it was a tremendous success to introduce Coos Bay/North Bend to new visitors. These visitors are likely to come again. And who could not get excited about the rubber duck and take pictures to send to friends online.

The Boat Building Center put a lot of effort to expand the festival to new ships and new fans of ships. Not all the invited ships could come for various reasons. But the ships that did come said they loved the area and would like to come back. It was a big, ambitious project and fell short of expected (and promised by the festival producers) attendance. Some of the information about what to expect was not as good as it could have been.

But the bottom line is that people came and enjoyed themselves and will likely return which will benefit local businesses. The Boat Center does not profit on a festival like this, they primarily donate and get others to donate. The Boat Center plans to continue bringing the ships to Coos Bay/North Bend but on a smaller scale as they have in the past.

Kudos to the Boat Center (especially Tom Leahy and the rest of the board) for their dream and the work they put into it.

Sam Walton, founder of Walmart, decided to put on a festival to promote one of his first stores. He got an elephant but the elephant was unable to be controlled and crashed into other displays (and left some stinky residue). The local people said, "He will never make a business out of this."

But look what happened. He kept trying.

Jenny Underwood

Reedsport

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