COOS BAY — The Coos Bay Downtown Association has made the difficult decision to cancel two major festivals that draw thousands of visitors to the downtown core.
"Because of COVID-19 restrictions placed on festivals in the phased reopening of Coos County, the CBDA board made the decision to cancel the Blackberry Arts Festival in August and the Bay Area Fun Festival in September," said CBDA Executive Director Holly Boardman in a press release. "Instead, the focus will be on building other promotions and events that will help bring visitors to the downtown area."
The Blackberry Arts Festival is a juried arts and crafts festival that has been happening consecutively for 37 years. It was started to highlight the works of local artists and crafters during the annual harvest of the blackberry. The festival features food vendors offering products made from blackberries. The festival would have happened on Aug. 22 and 23 this year.
The Bay Area Fun Festival has three major events that happen to celebrate the end of summer fun. The 2020 festival would have been the 43rd consecutive year. The event draws thousands from all over the Pacific Northwest to shop a Vendor Faire, enjoy festival foods and have family fun watching a themed parade. Hundreds come to run Steve Prefontaine’s training route during the Prefontaine Memorial Run, which already had been canceled. The event also features one of the largest classic car cruises on the coast. The Cruz the Coos and Show ‘n Shine has been a festival favorite for over 25 years. The Bay Area Fun Festival would have taken place Sept. 19 and 20 this year.
"Because the Prefontaine Run Committee and Coos Bay-North Bend Rotary Club’s Cruz Committee decided to cancel those two large events, the Coos Bay Downtown Association made the decision to cancel the entire Fun Festival event," CBDA president Beth Clarkson said.
The CBDA puts on the events for not only the community but to bring foot traffic to the downtown core. That made the decision even more difficult, Clarkson added.
"The regulations set by the state made it almost impossible for our organization and the others who organize events to continue forward in 2020," she said.
Boardman and the CBDA board encourages the community to continue its support of the many wonderful small businesses who call downtown their home.
The Coos Bay Downtown Association fosters the development of downtown Coos Bay by strengthening local business, encouraging new business and connecting the community through partnerships. The CBDA is committed to promoting Coos Bay as an attractive place to live, work and visit by continually enhancing the quality life of the downtown area.