Travel
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Seaside, Oregon, to host Eden Pacific Northwest women’s festival

Three ambitious women hope to create a ‘West Coast Provincetown’

Cruising Seaside, searching for saltwater taffy. Credit: Seaside Visitors Bureau

The inaugural four-day women’s festival Eden Pacific Northwest (Eden PNW) will take place Oct 3 to 6 in the beach resort town of Seaside, Oregon.

The festival will feature live performances by women musicians, world-class female DJs, and nationally renowned women comedians and artists.

“We’re thrilled to have a first-time group like Eden Pacific Northwest coming to Seaside,” says Jon Rahl, director of tourism and marketing of the Seaside Visitors Bureau. “Seaside is truly more than just a day at the beach, and we are excited to have you find out why!”

Three Pacific Northwest community organizations have joined forces to produce the festival — the LGBT publications PQ monthly and The Seattle Lesbian (TSL) and Eden Pride Events.

From concept to operations, everything rests on the shoulders of the three festival co-producers: Sarah Toce, founder and publisher of TSL; Gabriela Kandziora, head of partnership and business development for PQ; and Christine De La Rosa, producer of the Eden Pride Events and fiveTEN Oakland Events.  

Toce and Kandziora say they have both enjoyed Seaside’s charms for years and wanted to create an event to introduce Seaside to other queer women and their friends, so they partnered with Eden Pride Events in the San Francisco Bay Area to produce the weekend getaway.

“It is a great town with lots to do and see and a beautiful beach,” Kandziora says. “The Oregon coast can be sublime during this time — warm, mellow and calm.”

With its close proximity to Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, Seaside has been a popular resort destination for more than 100 years.

“Seaside offers both a relaxing getaway and nightlife options for all different types of people,” Toce says.

“Where else can you ride a Harley one minute and play arcade games and eat saltwater taffy the next? Add to that dance parties overlooking the water and bonfires in the sand, and you’ve got the perfect destination location,” Toce says.

Toce isn’t the only one pushing Seaside’s saltwater taffy.

“Seaside has a tendency to bring out the kid in everyone. From finding a sand dollar on the beach during an early-morning walk, to enjoying a fresh piece of saltwater taffy,” Rahl says, “our town is perfect for relaxing or rejuvenating with an endless amount of recreational activities.”

“Personally, I am looking forward to experiencing the quaint town of Seaside as a vacation getaway,” De La Rosa says, noting that the group is starting out small but has “big plans to make this a full week of events for women and our friends over the course of the next five years — our very own West Coast Provincetown.”

Eden PNW will feature a comedy show, dance parties and outdoor activities throughout the weekend. Festival producers anticipate the entertainment lineup for the weekend will be a large draw.

“Eden loves bringing together diversity in our entertainment lineup,”  De La Rosa says. “We are very proud to be working with these world-class entertainers and making sure that we stay true to our mission, diversity and amazing entertainment.”

Comedians Belinda Carroll, Lisa Koch and Sandra Valls are booked to perform their unique standup routines. DJs Fusion and Mr Charming will be driving the dancefloor energy throughout the weekend.

“With acts like these, the tickets won’t last,” Toce says.

“I’m especially excited to showcase comedienne Lisa Koch for our inaugural event. She is not only a personal friend, but also a Seattle fan favourite. She’s going to have our audience rolling in the aisles,” Toce says. “Sandra Valls keeps it real, so she was a great fit for Eden PNW.”

“The energy of the women and the great talent involved with the event make it spectacular,” says Carroll, a multitalented standup comedian, writer, vocalist and actress who has toured nationally, as well as appeared on NBC’s Grimm and MTV.

Comedian Valls agrees, adding, “Eden events always have the best audiences who just want to laugh and have fun!”

“I’ve spent lots of time on the Oregon coast but never with so many amazing women,” says DJ Mr Charming, who’s been spinning in the Pacific Northwest for eight years at Gaycation, a popular homo dance party that is a staple of Portland’s queer nightlife.

“I hope to help create a sexy dance party for all the women at Eden PNW, and to keep them dancing and flirting all night long,” Charming says.

DJ Fusion, a veteran Eden-event DJ from the San Francisco Bay Area, is into making new “musical connections” and plans “to take the girls of Eden PNW on a guided musical trip.”

“Everyone in the house should hear a song they love or a song they forgot they loved but haven’t heard in a while,” Fusion says. “Expect to sing along to those songs and stay on the dancefloor!”

Carroll, Koch and Vall will perform on Friday, Oct 4 at 7pm, before the Beach Bonfire. The Saturday-night dance with DJs Fusion and Mr Charming will start at 9pm, following a live music showcase.

To purchase your weekend pass or for more information about Eden Pacific Northwest, visit edenpnw.com.

To reserve your room at the Shilo Inn Seaside Oceanfront, call 503-738-9571 and use the guest code “Eden PNW” to get a special discounted rate.

For the most up-to-date travel information on gay Portland, see our City Guide, Listings Guide, Events Guide and Activities Guide.

For the most up-to-date travel information on gay Seattle, see our City Guide, Listings Guide, Events Guide and Activities Guide.