Recreation — With more than 3,000 visitors, annual celebration considered successful

Co-chairman Bryan Stewart summed the 2014 Newberg Camellia Festival in just a few words: “It was a home run. It wowed a lot of people and it was a beautiful day weather-wise, so that helped a lot.”

In its sixth year, the festival welcomed more than 3,000 visitors April 12, including 250 participants in the 5K race.

“It’s all about the community,” he said. “It boosts the local economy and it really affirms everything about shared commitment to the strength of our community, which makes Newberg very unique.”by: GARY ALLEN - Hawiian dancers were just one of the draws to the Camellia Festival in early April.

Stewart added that the celebration of the city’s official flower has spread across the state, drawing visitors from all corners of Oregon.

“I can’t stress enough how unique that is and how fortunate we are to have it,” Stewart said.

Even more fortunate, he said, was to host the festival in the newly-completed forecourt in front of the Chehalem Cultural Center.

“We were the first main event when the cultural center opened in 2010 and now the first big event held in the forecourt,” Stewart said. “The diversity and flexibility of that forecourt we demonstrated. That’s a very unique and positive thing for the community, to be able to have that flexibility of the outdoor area.”

Looking forward, he thinks the seventh year will be even better with the completion of the CCC ballroom.

“Next year we’ll have all three areas to do the festival (gallery, ballroom and forecourt),” he said, adding that expanding the festival into the gallery space and the forecourt made a noticeable difference in the atmosphere.

“With that amount of people, it didn’t feel that way because of the diversity and flexibility of the forecourt being spread out,” Stewart said. “For a town our size, or any size, to have that type of area to do the things we do, we’re very lucky and I think we proved that with this festival.”

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