A fair question might be 'Did they take on too much too soon?" When Past Astoria Regatta Association President Eric Paulson decided serving in that position for two years was quite enough and no one else stepped up initally it was announced there would be no Regatta Festival in 2013 with a possible rebirth in 2014. At that point the association was in search of new leadership which finally came with local chef Peter Roscoe volunteering to take on the top spot and the difficult task of rebuilding the organization. Citizens breathed a sigh of relief and went about their business with a few offering almost immediately to serve on various committees.
The organizational effort is suffering from a lack of participation and some poor follow-up that that makes holding on to volunteers difficult.
Roscoe had a vision of returning the annual festival to it's roots with a focus on the water, wanting to beef up such events as the twilight boat parade. According to the minutes of the June meeting only 6 boats have registered and more effort will be made to reach boat owners. The Grand Land Parade has 27 entries which organizer Jeff Newenhof told KAST News is about normal at this point and is projected to attract about 75 entries. In the past there have been well over 100. The parade requires a number of volunteers estmated at up to 24 persons to help organize the entry line-up, help with checking in entries, and manning the barricades blocking off the downtown streets to traffic. Traffic this year is an issue with the city CSO sewer project construction work ongoing. Some effort will be made to enlist the help of the Oregon National Guard to provide soliders in uniform at the traffic barricades. It's already been reported that the Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard will be unable to participate due to federal budget cutbacks.
Parade registration hasn't been without it's own issues. Registration is handled through the Regatta Association website but some have commented that once they complete the registration there is no confirmation and no contact so they aren't sure their entry is actually registered.
Regatta Secretary Kevin Leahy reported that he has gotten some feedback from volunteers that they have not been contacted by some of the committee chairs and he said that those who have offered to help and have not been contacted will be placed on committees where their valuable contribution will be treated with the respect they deserve although it's not clear how that will be accomplished unless someone calls to complain.
There is some concern over the cost of buying a Regatta pin which allows access to some events. The association set the price at ten dollars which some committee members say might discourage the public from participating in things like the Queens Coronation. It's not clear exactly what the pin buys beyond the coronation event.
Donations from benefactors aren't exactly flying in. It's been suggested that donation jars be set up to gather some funds for the scholarship program and the annual Queens Sponsor lunch has been cancelled in favor a light lunch reception the day of the coronation.
The July meeting for the Astoria Regatta Association is open to the public and will be held Thursday night, July 11th at Astoria City Hall 7:00pm
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