OCEAN PARK — Cars parked on both sides of the Ocean Park beach access indicated a lively gathering last Friday evening at the Bay Avenue Gallery for the unveiling of the 30th Annual Garlic Festival poster contest. 

Seventy people squeezed into the gallery, shoulder to shoulder, for the community event. Barbara Bate at the keyboard and vocalist Pete Hanner entertained the crowd as people waited in anticipation.

After thanking everyone involved, Sue Raymond, Peninsula Arts Association (PAA) president and co-owner of the Bay Avenue Gallery, revealed the poster right on the dot of 6:20 p.m. as promised. An excited Alice Schuerman of Chinook, this year’s poster winner, was present for the unveiling.

Schuerman, who grew up in Colorado, came to the area with friends in 1992. “We just decided we were going to get out of Dodge and our car broke down in Astoria, so I stayed at the Elliott Hotel for awhile. Then I got work at Fort George Brewery.”

“I went to Renton for several years but just wanted to get back here. So I returned in 2002.” Schuerman’s partner, Kimberly Smith, who encouraged Alice to enter the contest, was on hand for the event. Schuerman’s parents, Kathie and Roger Schuerman, who followed Alice to the coast several years ago, were also present.

Prize-winning poster: A Feast for Garlic

The Garlic Festival poster contest had lapsed for several years according to Raymond. “I looked at the collection of posters on the walls of the Ocean Park Chamber of Commerce office and I think the last Garlic Festival poster I saw was from five or six years ago — so PAA decided to revive the contest again.”

Judges for the contest this year had a tough time as there were 10 entries, double what came in last year. The judges this year included Ann Powell, Ocean Park Chamber representative; Brigid Byrne, graphic artist; Lestia Price, from PAA; and Marty Kaiser, stained glass artist.

The rules had been modified some years ago to allow for photography, and this year’s poster entitled “A Feast for Garlic” was a Photoshop-manipulated photographic image in rich copper and silver hues against a dark background showing three cloves of garlic and a wooden spoon. (The wooden spoon was actually handcarved by Joanne Leech’s father of Chinook.) The print unveiled at the Bay Avenue Gallery looked almost as if it were made with charcoal or pastels.

“I think this is the first time the judges have selected a photograph,” said Bette Lu Krause, painter and co-owner of the gallery. “It really pops.”

Another local winner

Schuerman joins a long list of distinguished poster winners over the years including Eric Wiegardt and Marie Powell, among others. Many of the older Garlic Festival posters, especially those signed by the artists, are quite valuable and a small group of collectors has grown over the years. Nearly 20 posters were sold at the gallery after the unveiling.

“This year we had 10 entries from 10 different artists,” said Raymond, “and several from non-local artists, I was so thrilled when Alice won because I was rooting to keep it a local winner. I love promoting the community and I love that the judges chose such a young, dynamic artist.”

“When the entries came in, I was blown away by several of them — and Alice’s was one of them. Last year a pastel won, but there is such a range in photography now. The medium is really expanding.”

This year there are only a limited number of posters that have been printed. “We made 100 this year because not all of last year’s posters were sold. They are available for $20 plus tax at the Bay Avenue Gallery,” said Raymond, “and they will also be for sale at the Garlic Festival.”

Schuerman was given a PAA check for $250 as winner of this year’s poster design. This allows the Garlic Festival the rights to reproduce and sell the poster image.  Schuerman also received eight artist proof copies of her poster to sign and sell or keep. 

Garlic spirit alive in Ocean Park

Thirty years ago Jimella Lucas and Nanci Main had the idea for the garlic festival and started it at their original restaurant, the Ark Restaurant and Bakery in Nahcotta. Main and Lucas have many fond memories of the festivities at the Ark, including the fly-over when an aerial photograph was taken of hundreds of people spelling out “GARLIC” in the parking lot. 

The original festival also included a multi-course meal with all things garlic. This year as a special treat, Lucas and Main will again be participating in the festival with their legendary garlic ice cream. And, of course, you can’t miss the Clove Brothers.

Gary McGrew, Lighthouse Realty agent and volunteer on the Garlic Festival Planning Committee, was at the unveiling and commented, “I think it’s great to have the Bay Avenue Gallery host this unveiling and promote the Garlic Festival and other community events.”

“We’re looking forward to another great Garlic Festival — this is our 30th anniversary! —  June 18 and 19 at the Beach Baron’s field,” said McGrew. “Our hours will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Come join the fun.” 

Admission to the festival is free and there is something for everyone. Live music will include Salty Dog Band and their version of classic rock and roll Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Both Saturday and Sunday enjoy the blues, funk and rock and roll of the North Coast Blues. Sunday morning Double J and the Boys will be performing. There will also be plenty of garlic-inspired food and crafts.

For more information, check out the Garlic Festival website at http://tinyurl.com/326gfn3

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