NEWPORT CELTIC FESTIVAL & HIGHLAND GAMES IS CANCELLED.
It is with deep sadness that the Celtic Heritage Alliance ("CHA") announces the cancellation of the 2016 Newport Celtic Festival & Highland Games. Many factors have led to this decision, but the CHA Board and the Festival's Director felt it was a decision that had to be made, as difficult as it was.
The Celtic Heritage Alliance formed as a charitable non-profit in July 2011 in order to continue its success after organizing the first-ever Celtic Festival & Highland Games on the Oregon coast. Their mission: to promote and preserve Celtic culture and heritage through creation and development of Celtic cultural events, activities, and programs which facilitate education, workshops, musical performances and traditional competitions which include athletics, music and dance.
The event has been the catalyst for over $2 million in revenue generated in visitor spending over its five-year period on the Oregon coast with 60% of its patrons traveling from outside Lincoln County to attend. At its peak, approximately 6,000 people were in attendance over the three day event which held events on the beach, on the Bayfront and at the fairgrounds to encourage visitors to traverse all areas of Newport where they could spend their weekend in retail shops, restaurants and local lodging.
Each year, sponsors and volunteers stepped forward to ensure the success of the festival and, this year, the event was slated to move inland to Toledo this summer in order to accommodate the vendors who endured the windy coastal weather conditions each year at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds.
The festival's Executive Director, Belinda Goody, said "It takes a year's worth of organizing, coordination and effort to pull off an event as large as this one. Each year we face challenges, but this year we realized that we do not have in place what we need to deliver the quality event our patrons have become accustomed to. This has not been an easy decision and we, too, feel disappointed in having to make this announcement."
CHA wishes to confirm that all participants who have submitted payment to be a part of the event will receive refunds and hope local lodging facilities will extend the same courtesy to the many visitors who have made hotel reservations in anticipation of attending this event already this year. The group does intend to leave a legacy in which the Highland Games will continue, but in the form of clinics which will be held to train athletes who will hopefully go on to compete in the other Highland Games competitions in Oregon and beyond. Plans for the group's remaining events are yet to be determined, however the closure of the Celtic Festival will be permanent.
"We are proud of what has been achieved here and for those who supported us from the beginning until now. CHA would like to thank the many sponsors, volunteers, performers, vendors, service providers and others who made this event possible. We have always had deep appreciation for those who donated their time, services, creativity and funding, without which events like these are simply impossible to produce. This event was run solely by unpaid volunteers and we are glad we were able to make an indelible mark on our community in a positive way. Each year we looked forward to seeing many familiar faces and making something truly special for our guests." - said Goody.