In Reedsport/Winchester Bay, we’re wrapping up an incredible year.
The past three years have been dedicated to a complete rebuilding of our board, finances and events. During this time we’ve changed how we do business. We’ve broken into teams that provide the same services for each event, such as an advertising team, a money handling team and a team to recruit and manage volunteers. It has really streamlined all of the events.
We had an audit and started completely fresh with a professional accounting firm. Each team does the work its members like best, so the burnout rate is much lower. Because they do it so much, they are aces in each department.
The result of the changes has been a very well-informed board running like a well-oiled machine. Right now we have only one paid employee and are searching for an event coordinator or executive director. We have a lot of volunteers, but really need someone who oversees the bustling hive.
The highlight of the year was without doubt the big money giveaway in August. The DuneFest Charity Auction is made of gifts from vendors and sponsors. Bidding is by everyone at the event. It’s the DuneFest crowd’s way of saying “thanks” for the hospitality and supporting our community.
This year a windfall made huge news. Polaris Inc. donated its new 2014 RZR side-by-side sand vehicle. The new model was held secret until July 31. No photos or descriptions of the RZR were released.
Guess where it was seen first? Yep, in Winchester Bay on the auction block. The very first one sold in the U.S. People came from near and far to bid on the sporty sand ride, and it was eventually sold to a man who flew in from Utah to make the winning bid on the virgin RZR.
The vehicle normally goes for around $20,000 but at the auction it sold for a whopping $36,000. Polaris brought along a production team to capture the first buyer on his first ride and those clips will be used in upcoming commercials.
The total proceeds of the auction were $44,000. The money was divided among worthy organizations in the Reedsport/Winchester Bay area, ranging from a kids “great afternoons” program to a spay/neuter program for feral cats to the Lion’s Club and the Spirit of Christmas. Every cent was distributed, filling food pantries and school lunch trays. It was wonderful, happy day for DuneFest, the chamber and all of the 29 recipients of the cash.
We’re all looking forward to 2014 when we’ll have some new additions to the board and a new president — Rich Patten. Rich is a former Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy who is retired, but kept very busy with volunteer work.
Our first event of the new year will be Confluence — the Wine, Beer and Seafood Festival. There’ll be two days of live music over President’s Day Weekend (Feb. 15-16). We hope to see you here!
• Nancie Hammond is president of the Reedsport/Winchester Bay Chamber of Commerce.