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COVID Shuts Down Oregon Coast's Largest Seafood and Wine Fest Again

Published 01/18/22 at 4:53 PM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

COVID Shuts Down Oregon Coast's Biggest Seafood and Wind Fest Again

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(Newport, Oregon) – Every last weekend of February, the central Oregon coast town of Newport would swell in size, practically doubling in population, as some 17,000 or more visitors descended upon the town for the Newport Seafood and Wine Festival. Each year until 2021, that is.

Now, for the second year in a row, the pandemic has put a dent in one of the major festivals along the entire Oregon coast. Newport's visitor center and Chamber of Commerce just announced Monday it would cancel the event.

“After much communication with city, county, and state officials, it is with heavy hearts that the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce decided to announce the cancellation of the 2022 Newport Seafood & Wine Festival,” the agency said on social media yesterday. “While we were eager to welcome folks back to a much anticipated in-person festival, coupled with putting all the necessary precautions in place to ensure the health and safety of all the attendees, vendors, volunteers, and staff, it doesn't outweigh the level of safety and protection from COVID that is foremost for participants and the community.”

The chamber said even a scaled-back version of the event would not work, as they recently saw a significant drop in vendors and volunteers due to COVID concerns. Too many had dropped out for even a smaller incarnation of the Oregon coast favorite. 2021's event was a partial, "to-go" affair.

“We do hope to hold the festival in future years,” the chamber said. “Meanwhile, we will explore ideas for another community event and put our efforts into something that can be executed in a safe manner.”

With most medical experts agreeing that the Omicron variant has not quite hit its peak yet in Oregon, that would leave the end of February as still a worrying time for many.

Meanwhile, the chamber is expressing empathy for those who are greatly disappointed by the festival's cancellation. It promised more developments in the future regarding next year's event and other relevant announcements at www.seafoodwine.com and the Newport Seafood & Wine Festival's Facebook page.

Tickets will be refunded for this one, the chamber said.

“We will work with each ticket purchaser to ensure successful refunds are made,” the chamber said. “If you prefer, you can apply your refund as a donation to the forward movement of the Seafood & Wine event. It is much appreciated. Please contact Afton Tickets to request your refund. www.aftontickets.com.”

The festival started back in 1977 and quickly grew in size and importance, even spawning a spinoff brewfest in the fall for a time in the ‘90s. Call the Newport Chamber at (541) 265-8801.

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