Coastal Voices: Fest's greatest benefit: Pride

May 11, 2007 12:00 am
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Our sincere thanks to the Triplicate for publishing Scott Michael Potter's account of the "early days" of the . We continue to thank Scott and the original committee – many of whom continued in the new committee – for their foresight and early work.

We write now to document for the community the substantial economic and personal benefits to the people who worked on the festival and what we now see is a major benefit in community pride that was an after-glow from the event.

The phenomenal success of the Tall-Masted Ships Celebration was not merely the result of any single individual or small cabal of extremely bright, clever and talented people. Success here was the result of a very large, diverse group of volunteers representing a broad spectrum of non-profits, private sector enterprises, government agencies, and ordinary citizens expending thousands of hours in a very short period of time – our committee had just 102 days to be successful.

The numbers are not yet in, but whether the week's events produced $250,000, $500,000, or $750,000 in economic benefit (after using a statistical economic multiplier), the community seemed to get an even greater benefit in pride:

•Pride in having new spotlight on the community

•Pride in accomplishing the seemingly impossible task of creating a six-day celebration in just 102 days

•Pride in volunteering – yes it will turn out to be thousands of hours spread among over 60 committed volunteers

•Pride in seeing the naval cadets, the coast guard, and our newest business neighbor, Home Depot play active roles

•Pride in observing the memorial services and in taking part in the wonderful museum exhibit.

•Pride in the awesome commitment on the part of The Elk Valley Rancheria. Not only did the rancheria provide major funding, but it welcomed the ship's crews into their home for a traditional salmon bake, and assisted our committee at every turn to make it a success

•Pride in seeing so many of our neighbors participate and attend the wonderful cultural and musical events in the at the Cultural Pavilion. Yes, we had cultures, old and new represented and proud to be part of the community and to teach others of their heritage

•Pride in being told over and over by the ships' officers and crew that no community, large or small, had ever provided the welcome and hospitality extended by the residents of this community

•Pride in saying that we accomplished something grand – that we are a community on the move – and that we are looking forward, we are growing, we are developing – we are the new Del Norte County, the New Crescent City – a new community with a fierce can-do spirit

Now that the event is safely behind us and we have achieved a modicum of success, it is indeed time to recognize the brilliance of the "Original Tall Ships Idea," to genuflect respectfully in Scott's direction, and to thank all of those volunteers whose desire was not for recognition and accolades, but simply to facilitate a successful event – Thank you, one and all!

Brian C. O'Callaghan, executive director of the Del Norte County Historical Society, and Larry Lakes, executive director of Rural Human Services, headed the committee that organized the Tall-Masted Ships Celebration during the past four months.