Boats, chili mean fine festival fun
September 4, 2014
The turnout for events at Elochoman Slough Marina on Saturday surprised and encouraged more than one organizer and brought hope for the future of the newly combined activities.
The morning rain wasn't promising. A few people brought their fish to be weighed for the Fall Fishing Frenzy Salmon Derby, the largest so far at 21 pounds 12.8 ounces.
Others gathered under the breezeway to listen to a series of speakers lined up for the Wooden Boat Show or to simply get out of the rain. A few braved the weather and wandered around, checking out the vendors and the wooden boats or getting a taste of Ostling's Fish and Chips.
In the afternoon and with the appearance of the sun, people began to arrive. The Chili Cook-off tent opened up to customers and local competition. Drop Anchor Brewery opened its doors and a band began to play to the crowd that had formed under the tent and in the beer garden.
"The events complimented each other," Ashley Turner, Director of the Chamber of Commerce and Chili Cook-off organizer said. "Some people came down for the Chili Cook-off and we sent them down to check out the boats and some people who came from out of town for the Wooden Boat show joined us at the Chili Cook-off.
"It was good to see the turnout," Turner added. "We didn't have as many cooks this year, but we had a lot more tasters. Thankfully, the cooks made extra chili, but we still ran out."
Angi Doumit-Sauer and Sandra Benbrook-Rieder took first place in the chili cookoff. Richard Erickson took second and the ladies from the Bank of the Pacific took third with their Hillbilly Chili.
Port Commissioner Bob Kizziar was the organizer for this year's boat show and it was the first year the event was scheduled for Labor Day weekend.
"It was well received," Kizziar said. "It was better than we had hoped. Some of our wooden boat owners said they would be back next year with more of their wooden boat owning friends.
"The speakers we had lined up were a highlight of the day. I learned so much from them."
Kizziar was thankful for the support from Jackie Lea and the port staff as well as several volunteers, the Chamber of Commerce and Drop Anchor Brewery.
"I couldn't have done it without them," he said.
He was also grateful to Mitzi Christensen, whose artwork was used on T-shirts and posters for the Wooden Boat Show and according to Kizziar, "set the tone for the event."
"I look forward to improving on what we've done for next year, Kizziar said. "As I've said before, the port's mission is to create economic opportunities and improve the quality of life for our community. I feel like we took a step forward in that direction and I look forward to making it even better next year."