Arts Commission moving ahead with Driftwood Day

While many events were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oak Harbor Arts Commission isn’t planning to cancel Driftwood Day in September.

In the past, the event drew about 140 participants, who have 90 minutes to build a sculpture out of materials found on the beach at Windjammer Park. Participants and observers then vote on sculptures and the winning artists would receive awards.

However due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arts Commission was unsure if it could hold the event because of social distancing parameters.

During a recent meeting, the arts commission decided to continue with the event based on progress Island County has made in regards to Gov. Jay Inslee’s phased reopening plan.

The commission is proceeding tentatively however as the COVID-19 situation could change.

“From the progress we’ve made so far Island County should be in Phase 4 by that time,” said Assistant City Administrator Lisa Felix.

County officials are hoping for approval to enter Phase 3 of reopening soon, which would allow gatherings of under 50 people. While Phase 4 would allow gatherings of more than 50 people with social distancing practices in place.

“We’re still not sure if they’re going to put some limit on gatherings, we still understand they’re going to require social distancing protocols as part of gatherings,” Felix said.

Felix said that the timeline was not guaranteed and that the county could revert back to different phases based on the state of the pandemic.

She encouraged the art commission to continue to host because of the event’s low cost. The Art Commission estimates about $1,000 for expenses for driftwood day, including signage.

“It’s not like a music festival where you still have to make a lot of investments up front,” City Administrator Blaine Oborn said.

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