Jeff Tocher of Port Angeles live paints during Arts and Draughts in downtown Port Angeles on Sunday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Jeff Tocher of Port Angeles live paints during Arts and Draughts in downtown Port Angeles on Sunday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Organizers: Arts & Droughts Festival in downtown Port Angeles sees healthy growth

This year’s festival, presented by the Port Angeles Downtown Association, saw an estimated 30 percent increase in attendance.

PORT ANGELES — Seahawks, beer and art highlighted the last day of the second-annual Arts &Droughts Festival in downtown Port Angeles on Sunday.

Seahawks fans sat outside in the sun on Laurel Street sipping craft brews as they watched their team dominate over the 49ers in a 37-18 win.

Organizers say this year’s Arts and Draughts Festival, presented by the Port Angeles Downtown Association, went off without a hitch and saw an estimated 30 percent increase in attendance.

The weekend-long celebration showcased local and regional artisans and crafts people in the vendor row on Laurel Street with local and regional beers and wines in the beer garden.

About 20 breweries, wineries and cideries provided samples this year.

Angela Oppelt, one of the organizers, estimated about 1,100 people attended this year, about 300 hundred more than last year.

“Each year we do this, we anticipate on getting bigger, getting more people to come into town and teach people about beer, good food and local arts,” she said.

Among the reasons for the increase may have been this year’s music lineup, she said. Jesse Roper, of Victoria, B.C., packed a large crowd into the festival Saturday night, the first time he’s ever played in Port Angeles.

“He’s up and coming in the states, but he’s huge [in Canada],” she sad. Roper recently performed at the Rock the Shores and Rifflandia festivals on Vancouver Island this summer.

“We made close to 1,000 people the happiest people [Saturday] night,” she said. “People were so stoked he was here and he absolutely loved being here.”

While organizers haven’t had the chance to really discuss next year’s festival, Oppelt said the goal is to continue growing.

She said this year was much more organized and that organizers have had plenty of positive feedback about the changes.

Among the changes was a larger beer garden, making it easier for people to roam around, she said.

Next year the festival will likely stay the same size — about two blocks — but the beer garden may grow, she said.

“We almost ran out of space for people last night,” she said, referring to the Jesse Roper concert Saturday.

Oppelt said customers came from all over, including Victoria, Seattle and California.

Organizers noticed last year that Sunday had the lowest attendance of the entire weekend. In an effort to increase attendance this year, the festival showed Sunday’s Seahawks game on a 13-foot-wide LED screen.

“The game was something that lined up for us,” she said.

Richard Stephens, the committee chair for the event, said it’s the year-long effort downtown association members put into organizing that made the event possible.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

Brian Thiel, co-owner of Seattle’s Ghostfish brewery, pours a grapefruit IPA during Arts and Draughts in downtown Port Angeles on Sunday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Brian Thiel, co-owner of Seattle’s Ghostfish brewery, pours a grapefruit IPA during Arts and Draughts in downtown Port Angeles on Sunday. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Christine Paulsen of Port Angeles cheers at Arts and Draughts in downtown Port Angeles while watching Sunday’s Seahawks game against the 49ers. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

Christine Paulsen of Port Angeles cheers at Arts and Draughts in downtown Port Angeles while watching Sunday’s Seahawks game against the 49ers. (Jesse Major/Peninsula Daily News)

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