To Krista Tanner, it seemed like anytime there was a woman-focused event, wine was always the natural pairing to go with it.
Tanner isn’t a huge fan of wine. So when she came to Cannon Beach for the WOW! event, she was pleasantly surprised to so a whiskey making tour at the Cannon Beach Distillery as a part of the itinerary. “It’s just nice to have options,” said Tanner, a Portland resident. “I prefer whiskey over wine, anyway.”
Adding a distillery tour is apart of a larger strategy to rebrand Women’s Only Weekend, which in the past has traditionally been a shopping event hosted by independent shops and hotels.
While the annual mid-November event still has a feminine bent, Melissa Dupre of EVOO and Buddie Anderson from the Cannon Beach Library renamed the event WOW! — which is how the event was referred to casually — as a way to expand the event to be more inclusive of all people.
“I moved here a few years ago, and I fell in love with it. Why? Because it is amazing. This event is to show why we love Cannon Beach,” Dupre said. ”We wanted to make sure it’s not just for women. It’s still geared that way — still pink, still women leaders. But this event is for everyone — and every type of woman.”
Dupre got involved after the former organizer, Wendy Higgins, left town and reached out to her about participating. Before this year, the event was sponsored business by business, and individual vendors would receive the proceeds of their sales. But in order to expand, Dupre needed to apply for a Tourism Arts Commission grant, which requires grant funds to benefit some kind of non-profit.
That’s where Anderson stepped in.
“I knew of WOW before, but we had never been asked to participate,” Anderson said. “Last year, was the first time we got involved when Melissa asked if we would have a female author for the weekend. We made sure we had a female author for that weekend,” Anderson said. “When she said she needed to partner with a nonprofit, I said ‘Hey, why not us?’”
With a $6,500 grant secured from the Tourism Arts Commission fund, the two were able to expand the weekend to offer painting classes, craft events, children’s events, music and a poker night. All of the proceeds of the event will then benefit the Cannon Beach Library.
“We could take everything to the next level,” Anderson said. “Last year, everything was done on a shoestring budget. Without worrying about pinching pennies, now we are making it fun.”
Since this is the first year the Cannon Beach Library has been the recipient, Anderson isn’t sure what to expect from the proceeds. But with hotel rooms booked and events near full, Anderson expected it to be significant.