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Published 4/22/24 at 4:25 a.m.
By Andre' Hagestedt, Oregon Coast Beach Connection

Waldport's Beach, Bike 'n Blues Fest Slams Into Central Oregon Coast in May

(Waldport, Oregon) - On Saturday, May 4, little Waldport will kick out the jams in a big way. The 3rd Annual Beach, Bike & Blues Festival takes over the town with a festival that's grown by leaps and bounds in its first two years, expected to be seismic once again with a day packed full of tunes, bike rides, food and loads of community involvement.

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Beach, Bike & Blues Festival welcomes more than 800 bike racers and their friends who participate in the 12th Annual Oregon Coast Gravel Epic. Yet there is so much more to it – and so many more people involved. More than 2,500 attendees are expected, if not far, far more. The 2024 Beach, Bike & Blues Festival returns that Saturday, and once again the venue is the beautiful Alsea Bay Bridge Visitor Center & Museum at the south end of the bridge. As always, the backdrop is the sweeping shores of the Alsea Bay.

Put on by the Waldport Chamber of Commerce, the festival's venue is dog-friendly and ADA accessible. It is free as well.

The Annual Oregon Coast Gravel Epic (AOCGE) begins in Waldport and takes bike riders through miles of intense trails and deep forest, which is about 65% unpaved logging roads and the rest smooth pavement. Cyclists have a choice of the 60-mile Abomination or the 37-mile Son of Abomination route, while some of it takes place in Yachats the next day, Sunday.

It's a one-of-a-kind event on the coastline. See the event website.

This time around, 12:15 p.m. is the start time at the festival, with old-time blues from Paul Schuytema, a local favorite. At 2 p.m., Steve Cook brings together musicians from throughout the central Oregon coast with a tribute to Lozelle Jennings called The Purple Cats Band. Then, at 3:30 p.m. is the multi-talented Ronnie Jay Pirrello and his blend of blues, rock and folk favorites.

Wrapping up the festival is is the Cascade Blues Muddy Award-winning trio featuring Sonny Hess, Lisa Mann and Kelly Pierce. Mann and Hess are two long-standing stalwarts in Oregon's blues scene, packing in clubs and venues for over two decades. Hess is quite well known for her gutsy guitar playing and vocal delivery. Pierce is a longtime drummer with her.

Food includes loads of different beverages, including Pepsi and bottled water, as well as some wine and beer from the local Grocery Outlet and Beachside Brewing. BBQ’d ribs, tri-tip sandwiches and giant hot dogs come from Ray’s BBQ. Look for fish & chips from Fishing Rock Eatery and sweet treats from Chubby Lil’ Mermaid. Coffee is all local from The Thirsty Fisherman, while you can also indulge in ice cream sandwiches from JillyBeanz Ice Cream.

Among the groups there will be Siletz Tribal Arts & Heritage Society, Lincoln County Heath & Human Services, Astound Broadband, Cape Perpetua, The Cascade Blues Association, South Beach Manor Memory Care, Friends of Oregon Coast Community College, Brass Foghorn Vintage Saxophones, WaFd Bank and Pioneer Connect, among others.

The festival's idea was sprouted when the chamber heard from members of the community in 2021 that there should be some sort of spring festival to celebrate the town, according to chamber executive director Tom Fullmer.

A year later, the first festival was held.

“At the end of Festival in 2022, we discovered we had a winner with more than 700 people attending festival, 30 volunteers, 18 sponsors and vendors and a terrific line-up of music,” Fullmer said. “In 2023, expectations were exceeded when we welcomed more than 1,900 attendees and increased our exposure for Waldport and the Festival to cover statewide media and outreach.”

See the festival site.

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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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