Next year, the Sequim Sunshine Festival looks to bring light to the area with unique events that draw people to Sequim in a typically quiet time of year for tourism. The festival runs March 6-7, 2020 throughout the City of Sequim. Photo courtesy City of Sequim

Next year, the Sequim Sunshine Festival looks to bring light to the area with unique events that draw people to Sequim in a typically quiet time of year for tourism. The festival runs March 6-7, 2020 throughout the City of Sequim. Photo courtesy City of Sequim

Sequim Sunshine Festival starts in March 2020

First there was the Irrigation Festival and then the Lavender Festival. Now, community members and leaders with the City of Sequim look to start a new tradition called the Sequim Sunshine Festival starting next year.

“There aren’t many places in Western Washington that could consider having a sunshine festival, but Sequim can,” said Barbara Hanna, City of Sequim communications and marketing director.

The festival is slated for March 6-7, 2020, throughout the City of Sequim.

Hanna told Sequim city councilors in late February that many of Sequim’s festivals and events happen during the peak season so they wanted to find something to draw in people at the end of winter.

“We want something fun and energetic that focuses on positivity and light,” she said.

“We can’t guarantee sunshine, but the tag line is to ‘make your own sun.’”

She and a committee of about 20 people have met for a year talking about potential offseason events. Their discussions led back to one of Sequim’s well-known features, its weather, Hanna said.

Tentatively, the event will begin on the night of Friday, March 6, with either an inspirational movie or speaker, Hanna said.

Organizers look to bring live music out on the street and light up downtown, similarly to efforts for Christmas.

Saturday morning may feature a fun run and organizers are exploring events like beach volleyball, a scavenger hunt and sand sculpture construction.

Hanna said as people participate they’ll earn “glow bling,” or glow sticks and lights that can be used to dress up in for nighttime events.

Saturday night’s event will build up to a promenade around the 1-mile path in Carrie Blake Community Park.

“The idea is we want this to be open to everyone,” Hanna said. “You can walk, dance. We want kids and families to come out. We’re looking to figure out a bike element, too.”

Organizers also are exploring a drone light show.

The Guy Cole Event Center will serve as a hub with food and music, Hanna said.

Festival producer needed

This week, city officials sent out a Request for Proposal to contract with a new festival producer to manage the Sequim Sunshine Festival.

The contract tentatively begins June 2019 through the end of March 2020 with the possibility for an extension pending the successful completion of the first event. The festival producer may contract for up to $18,000 over the 10-month contract.

City officials said proposals will be judged on the quality and completeness of entries, festival production experience of the proposer, past performance of the proposer and a case study of a comparable project.

The deadline for proposals is 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 30. All proposals must be submitted to: City Clerk, Attn: Sunshine Festival Producer RFP, 152 W. Cedar St., Sequim, WA 98382. With questions or inquiries, contact City Clerk Karen Kuznek-Reese at kkuznek@sequimwa.gov. Visit the City of Sequim website https://sequimwa.gov for the complete Request for Proposal.

Logistics

Hanna said organizers’ goal is to be self-sustaining in three years.

Funding for the festival came from an aim to use monies from the Lodging Tax Fund for a capital project to increase tourism.

City staff revealed that Lodging Tax Fund dollars, taxes on hotel/motel visits, rose from about $179,000 in 2010 to $378,000 in 2018. This year, city councilors allocated $25,000 from the Lodging Tax Fund for the event.

Hanna said many plans remain to be determined and more will be determined in the coming months.

She said organizers continue to look at inclusive ways to partner with community groups and businesses and restaurants.

For more information on the Sequim Sunshine Festival, call 360-683-4139 or visit www.sequimwa.gov.

Reach Matthew Nash at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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