A new festival is coming to Waldport, and organizers say it’s going to be epic.
The Waldport Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic Bike Race for an inaugural festival in downtown Waldport. The Beach, Bike & Blues Festival will take place on Saturday, April 30 from 1-7 p.m. at the Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center and Waldport Heritage Museum. Free entry.
The festival will feature cold beer, hot food, cold food, cool blues, hot blues and, depending on the weather, hot or cold but above all warm and friendly people.
Last year was Waldport Chamber director Tom Fullmer’s first year in the community, and he was looking to start a community event. He approached Mike Ripley, the organizer of the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic Bike Race. “We knew we wanted to have live music,” Fullmer said. “Blues music was a natural fit.” Ripley and her team helped with branding and marketing to get the festival off the ground.
The annual cycle race brings hundreds of people and their families to Waldport, and this event will be a great opportunity for them to enjoy the town as well as locals and non-cyclists. “It will be a fun activity for them and their families. Now we will have a place where they can meet and get to know the community. And we can also accommodate them.
The alliteration in the name of the event is no coincidence. Neither is the food that will be served: beer, burgers, kids and breaded fish. Three local food vendors will be on site, including Joelle’s Fish and Chips food cart serving fresh-caught tuna dishes; Meatloaf Burgers, a Cottage Grove food cart; and the Waldport Lazy Dayz restaurant which will set up a cafe featuring smoked barbecue brisket, pulled pork and another unique item – the Dinosaur Eggz, a jalapeno stuffed with cheddar and cream cheese, wrapped in sausages, wrapped thick slices of bacon, then slowly grilled and smoked.
Blues music will be provided by Thunder and Lightness World Beat Ensemble at 11:30 a.m., followed by Depression-era acoustic blues by Paul Schuytema at 1:30 p.m., and boogie blues by Bringin’ It Home Blues featuring Steve Cook, Curtis Colt, Jim Hobbs and Notary Sojack at 5:30 p.m. Vendors will also have booths set up and volunteers will be at the interpretive center and museum for tours and questions. A large tent will house the music and beverage pavilion, which will also include plenty of non-alcoholic options. “Come listen to great music, eat great food, and enjoy the beach,” Fullmer said.
Although the Beach, Bike and Blues Festival is a new concept, the Oregon Coast Gravel Epic Bike Race is now in its 10th year. Ripley said a record number of people signed up this year in part because of the addition of a Sunday race at Yachats, the second stop in the Oregon Triple Crown Series. “Having both days in cool communities is a win/win,” Ripley said. And now that COVID restrictions have been lifted, racing has returned to a mass start, rather than individual starts. “People are ready to get back to life and move on,” he said.
The Oregon Coast Gravel Epic is the spring classic for the Pacific Northwest, consisting of both unpaved forest roads and smooth pavement. Two routes are available – a 60-mile abomination that goes 6,791 feet in elevation, or a 40-mile route that goes 4,125 feet in elevation through the Siuslaw National Forest. More information on the races can be found at mudslingerevents.com.
“Come to Waldport even for an hour,” Ripley said. “It should be sunny, so come and see.”
Fullmer said the Beach, Bike and Blues Festival will be an annual Waldport event. “This is a community celebration and a county-wide event. People are eager and excited to get out, and it will bring the whole county together,” he said.