Commerce awards $3.3 million to community festivals and events; over $125,000 in local funding

The Washington State Department of Commerce, in collaboration with the Washington Festivals and Events Association (WFEA) and ArtsWA, announced 284 successful applicants in 36 of the state’s 39 counties to receive more than $3.3 million in pandemic relief and recovery grants. 

These funds are intended to provide support to “legacy-level” events that have taken place for five or more years, festivals, civic and holiday celebrations, cultural and heritage events, music festivals, and street and arts fairs in communities with populations of 100,000 or less.

Grants can be used to restart local festivals and events suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic or to stabilize depleted budgets. 

Locally this brought over $53,000 to Grays Harbor events and organizations, and nearly $100,000 in Pacific County.

Included in the allocation were funds for Loggers’ Playday, Rusty Scuppers Pirate Days, the Willapa Harbor Festival, and a number of other groups.

Grants ranged from $178 to $35,000 and were based on need and demonstrated losses. 

The program was made possible through a tourism relief grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Recipients can use the funds for deposits on infrastructure (security, temporary fencing, staging, lights, sound equipment, etc.) and staff and labor costs. 

According to Commerce, the goals of the program are to “increase business revenues in affected communities, preserve the vibrancy, diversity and growth of events that celebrate the area’s arts, history and culture and provide opportunities for entertainers, artisans and craftspeople who depend on these events” for their income.

“Festivals and events are important to a community’s sense of place. They bring residents together and visitors from out of town,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Many of these celebrations also support other causes, from local food banks to college scholarship programs. They are an essential part of Commerce’s mission of strengthening communities and growing Washington’s economy.”


Organization Name County Award
City of Montesano Grays Harbor County $ 5,000
Cranberry Heritage Grays Harbor County $ 197
Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Grays Harbor County $ 10,000
Half Moon Bay Pirates Grays Harbor County $ 7,000
Hoquiam Loggers Play Day Grays Harbor County $ 11,000
Master Gardener Foundation of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties Grays Harbor County $ 9,000
Westport/Grayland Chamber of Commerce Grays Harbor County $ 11,000
Grays Harbor Total $ 53,197
Finnish American Folk Festival Pacific County $ 7,000
Friends of Chinook School Pacific County $ 11,000
Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Pacific County $ 9,000
Ilwaco Heritage Foundation dba Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum Pacific County $ 5,000
Ilwaco Merchants Association Pacific County $ 5,000
Long Beach Merchants Association Pacific County $ 9,000
Pacific County Fair Pacific County $ 15,000
The World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame Pacific County $ 17,500
Tokeland Hotel & Restaurant Pacific County $ 15,000
Willapa Harbor Festival Pacific County $ 3,424
Pacific County Total $ 96,924