Plays, and concerts, and tours… oh my. What's a person to do? Seems like every evening on the Peninsula these past few weeks we've had a surfeit of riches. Add in cultural events across the river and there have been some very difficult choices to make about what to see and do.
Just this past weekend alone there was "Mary Poppins," Music in the Gardens, Cape Disappointment Waikiki Beach concert series, great music at the Peninsula Performing Arts Center, Mark Joseph's Tenor Guitar Gathering, and the Astoria Art Walk — not to mention farmers markets in Long Beach, Ilwaco, and Astoria. Everything's buzzing.
Fun at Cape D
I went to the Cape D concert series, a freebie that's great entertainment for the whole family, with my beach tribe last Saturday. We reveled in the lively tunes of Beltaine, a Celtic fusion group from Portland. The grounds near Waikiki Beach were packed with folks from both sides of the river clapping, dancing, and singing along from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Though there are benches, bringing your own camp chair is more comfortable.)
We packed a picnic dinner of ham sliders; crustinis with apple, caramelized onions, and gorgonzola; fruit skewers; and ice cream sundaes. Then we just sat back and enjoyed the kilted guys (and one gal) rip through some jigs and lay down some folk songs.
The concerts happen every two weeks and there are three left this summer. Up next is our very own Brownsmead Flats, July 27; Aug. 10, is the layered-harmony of Winterlings; and for the grand finale, Aug. 24, the Unexpected Brass Band with free-wheeling Dixieland energy. The concert series is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Washington State Parks Foundation, and the Friends of the Columbia River Gateway. (For details: https://tinyurl.com/y4qdpu7g). So grab a chair and some friends and check out the music at Cape D.
Peninsula Arts Association
Next weekend, get ready for another fabulous treat. We're all familiar with the Peninsula Arts Association (PAA) fall open studio tour (this year Nov. 29, 30, and Dec. 1), but this year they've organized a summer tour as well: July 29, 20, and 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A string of dynamic women artists have chaired this event over the years; I spoke with visual artist and musician Bette Lu Kraus last weekend to get a little history.
"This is our 11th year for the fall tour and now we've added summer open studios too," she says, while we sip coffee in her sunny backyard. "Originally, Surfside artist Jan Richardson [potter extraordinaire] came to me with the idea and we put it together, then I took it over with help from Karen Brownlee — she developed the map concept. Everyone makes it work though. We print 2,000 open studio maps — available at any of the galleries. Michael and Judy Cox take around 800 of them to be put in every Peninsula hotel room." (Or check out the PAA website online at www.beachartist.org or on Facebook at https://tinyurl.com/yycskezs).
This summer tour includes 12 studios and 23 artists all up and down the Peninsula — there is no fee for this event. You'll see everything from Harmony Soapworks in Oysterville to Jim Unwin's fanciful woodcarvings near Cranberry Road; and while you're in the vicinity, stop by Linda Marsh's studio for her hand built pottery and functional wares. (She is the PAA tour chairman this year.) Or ride south for Luisa Mack's one of a kind silver and gold jewelry on view on Howerton Way.
The galleries, offering a one-stop-shop for a range of artists and media, include: Bay Avenue Gallery in Ocean Park, the Depot in Long Beach, M&D Designs, and Marie Powell's in Ilwaco.
Bette Lu's studio is tucked into Ocean Park, and for this seafaring painter it seems appropriate that her workspace has always reminded me of a boat. Don't miss the exquisite watercolors in Eric Wiegardt's studio on Bay Avenue in Ocean Park; or Catherine Clark's paintings, cards, and prints in Seaview. In short, there's probably an artist right around the block from you.
As Bette Lu says, "What's great about the PAA tour is that there is such a tremendous variety of talented artists on the Peninsula, and so many little places to visit that you wouldn't ordinarily get the chance to see." So grab a map and buy some art!
OBH Foundation Home Tour
Here's another touring adventure to put on your calendar: the Ocean Beach Hospital Foundation (OBHF) home tour Saturday Aug. 3, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tour should give those of you with a little "Metropolitan Home" in your blood a peek into some of the stunning houses on our little spit.
You may know that the foundation raises funds to support community education, upgrade technology, equipment and facilities. Now OBHF is taking on the "bold effort to purchase a new CT Scanner. The goal is $212,650 — half of the cost of a new scanner. All donations are being matched dollar for dollar."
Spearheading this effort is Karyn Zigler, newly-elected chair of the hospital fundraising committee. "When I took over this committee I said 'I don't want to do another silent auction,' although I have nothing against silent auctions — they're great — but I've done that for 35 years. I wanted to start something a little bit different. For the last 10 years, my girlfriends and I have always gone down the coast to the Cannon Beach Cottage Tour while our husbands did the Rod Run — but I finally said, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we had a home tour here on the Long Beach Peninsula. There are some great homes right here!'"
And Karyn knows whereof she speaks. She, with business partner Kathy Mathews, started "Home at the Beach," the first interior design business on the Peninsula. "We had the shop for 10 years and it really became a destination," she says. "We've decorated some really lovely homes. We built a great clientele and had a lot of repeat customers. We just sold the business and the name but we're going to keep our staging and design activities."
"Once we landed on the home tour idea, it was a matter of choosing the right homes. I just started out with some friends that I know have beautiful places. There are nine homes on the tour starting in Ilwaco and ending in Surfside."
The home of Sue and Bill Svendsen, owners of the Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, will be one of the houses on the tour. As Sue says, "Our home was built in 1910 and last remodeled in the '50s. We wanted to bring it back into its own era but still respect its quirkiness with a nod to modern farmhouse design. One of the pieces we brought into the home was my great-grandmother's secretary, which she used as the Pacific County school superintendent." This is just a little taste of what OBHF has in store for you. (Keep your eye on their website "Donation" button for ticket information https://www.oceanbeachhospital.com/foundation/).
Obviously, this summer there's a little bit of something for everyone. So grab a map, grab tickets, grab a friend, grab a seat, and go out and do!