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N. Oregon Coast's Seaside Prom Turns 100 Soon; Grant Money Awarded

Published 10/19/2019 at 7:23 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

N. Oregon Coast's Seaside Prom Turns 100 Soon; Grant Money Awarded

(Seaside, Oregon) – Soon a north Oregon coast icon will turn 100, though it doesn’t look a day over 60. (Photo courtesy Seaside Visitor Bureau: the pre-Promenade wooden structure and the infamous pier).

The Seaside Promenade was built in 1921, and a large 100-year celebration is on the way. According to Joshua Heineman, director of tourism marketing for the City of Seaside, the Visitor Bureau was just awarded $14,590 in grant funding through Travel Oregon’s 2019-2020 Competitive Small Grants program to promote the event.

The money goes to producing a commemorative booklet celebrating the centennial of the famed walkway. The Visitor Bureau will work with Travel Oregon, community partners, creative designers, and Oregon printers to produce a 32-page 5x7 inch printed product, complete with a passport program to drive overnight visitation. It will be free and distributed around Seaside.

It comes with a hi-tech surprise: travelers spending the night in Seaside in 2021 may stop by the Visitors Bureau with their booklet to receive a custom holographic sticker and be entered into a drawing for a prize package at year’s end.

“Ultimately, we aim to create something truly beautiful, collectable, fun, and engaging so that travelers of all ages, interests, and incomes can experience the living history of the Prom and Turnaround at Oregon’s original beach town,” said Heineman. “Thank you to Travel Oregon for believing in our vision and supporting this project.”

The state’s small grants program hands out awards to eligible applicants for funding of projects that contribute to Oregon’s tourism economy. See a larger list of Travel Oregon Award Grant Money Recipients for this year, many of which are in various areas of the Oregon coast.

Exactly what kinds of celebrations have not been decided yet, but local officials such as Heineman say some planning has already started, though it’s all in the very early stages. It’s still almost two years away, he said.

“We had to go for this grant now due to the complexities of putting together a project like this for a January 2021 start and have enough legs through the passport program to last through December 2021,” he said. “However, there will be multiple events in Seaside to celebrate the Prom as several community members and organizations have expressed the desire to hold events throughout the year. As such, it was important to get a bedrock piece like this commemorative booklet in place so it can help tie any and all events that do occur together.”

The Prom itself has quite a storied history at its start.

There was a precursor to the Prom – a wooden promenade that wasn’t nearly as long, built in 1908. It was constructed to compliment a wooden pier that jutted out into the ocean a good 100 feet. Building a pier on the Oregon coast: what could go wrong?

This, of course, was a massive failure, and in about ten years it had been wrecked so many times it was simply allowed to disintegrate into the sea.

The actual building of the Promenade began in 1920 and then finished in 1921. The concrete was laid by teams with horses pulling the equipment.

A precursor to the Turnaround had already been built in 1914, and that greatly increased popularity of the area. Once the Prom was finished, this Oregon coast town exploded. Full story, see: Seaside Promenade History: Beginnings of an Oregon Coast Icon

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