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Circles in the Sand Returns to Oregon Coast: Florence on Oct. 14

Published 10/01/23 at 6:27 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Circles in the Sand Returns to Oregon Coast: Florence on Oct. 14

(Florence, Oregon) – A kind of sequel to the Bandon's famed Circles in the Sand, there is now always another one of these beautiful, esoteric and good vibes-filled events just a bit up the Oregon coast. These days, Florence has its own Circles in the Sand and labyrinth walk, held every fall, a month or two after the grand Circles in the Sand season has stopped at Bandon.

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This year, it falls right on the eclipse: October 14. Florence's Heceta Beach become a giant vessel for healing intricate designs of the labyrinth walk. The drawing starts at 3 p.m. and you can begin walking through at 5 p.m. Taking place on that giant beach in front of the Driftwood Shores Resort, the tide will hopefully allow some walk-through's the following day.

Lon Beale, owner of Sand Master Park in Florence, is one of the organizers who helps bring in the sandy genius of south Oregon coast artist Denny Dyke, who founded the artistic organization.

“Each October, we host the 'Circles in the Sand' beach art and labyrinth walk down here in Florence at Heceta Beach,” Beale told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “It draws from 500-700 participants (depending on the weather of course). This year the city of Florence has even sponsored a shuttle to take the viewers from in town down to the event as parking has been way too cramped in the past.”

That it also shares in common with Bandon. The original gets so jam-packed with onlookers the locals have tried to dial down the publicity a bit.

Dyke started Circles in the Sand farther south in 2011, but this one in Florence is relatively new. It's been around for about four years now, always taking place in the fall – often during what is still the Oregon coast's “second summer” weather.

The whole point here is to walk the labyrinth and find yourself at peace. Besides the visual stunners, it's about walking through from beginning to end as some kind of meditative process that begins. It draws people from all over the globe, sometimes in search of the healing factor and sometimes just for the kicks of it.

It all begins – usually – with some kind of inscription at the beginning, like “leave behind what is not needed,” or that which is similar. You wander through the maze straight to the end – there's only one exit. Yet it takes time, some twenty minutes, in fact. This is reason for pause and contemplation, maybe taking in the sights around you or utilizing your heart and brain in that time to walk through your own inner turmoil. Many report once they get to the other side they feel the weight of things like grief lifted from them to varying degrees. The labyrinth walk in the sand has a duality here, one that is emotional and lifting of spirit as well as in real time.

Dyke himself tends to offer hugs and greetings. He and a small army of volunteers draw out the lofty creations, a craft where everyone involved has a distinct love of the process and the outcome.

Florence's Circles in the Sand has a bit more room on the beach, but the parking situation's the same as in Bandon. Thus, the city is urging visitors to take advantage of the Free 'Rhody Express' shuttle, sponsored by the City of Florence Transportation Committee. The free shuttle will pick up and drop off at the Munsel Lake Plaza ( 4969 Hwy 101, Florence ) from 4 p.m. - 8 p.m.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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