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CHARLESTON — On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered outside the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology to celebrate the 2019 Octoberfish festival in Charleston.

The free festival, which highlights the importance of community, featured its traditional lineup of informational booths, live music and activities aimed at celebrating the Charleston area.

Attendees paint a fish mold to make a print during the Octoberish festivities Saturday in Charleston.

“We got really lucky this year with such great weather,” said festival co-founder Knute Nemeth. “Octoberfish is about people coming together to relax and talk about things.”

Charleston favorites “The Tuna Guys” returned this year with their popular albacore tuna which is freshly caught and grilled to perfection. Nemeth, a “Tuna Guy,” said all the proceeds earned from the festival’s meal tickets will go toward supporting the Charleston Food Bank.

Terri Creager, a manager at the food bank, said the event helps cover a majority of operation costs associated with keeping the food bank running. Currently, the food bank serves about 140 families for a total of 350 individuals a month in Charleston.

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“It’s been so nice to be a part this festival,” said Creager. “Since we’ve had the Salmon Run we’ve had way more people attend and help out.”

The official after-party for the annual Charleston Salmon Run, the festival has grown in popularity as runners visiting from all around the country find their way down to the outdoor event.

Gatlon Giorgis tosses a corn hole beanbag Saturday during the 2019 Octoberfish festivities in Charleston.

A number of local organizations also returned this year, including the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Coos Watershed and Coos Bay Surfrider to provide visitors with information on their ongoing projects as well as interactive entertainment for the whole family.

“My favorite part of the festival is the people,” said Creager. “It’s fun seeing everyone and catching up.”

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Reporter Amanda Linares can be reached at 541-266-2039 or by email at amanda.linares@theworldlink.com.

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