See the Central Coast Through Rosé-Colored Glasses

By Gretchen Ammerman | Monday, February 17, 2020

As one of the biggest events in the state, and definitely the biggest on the central coast, the Newport Seafood and Wine Fest  might seem a bit intimidating. Personally, fathoming that this event regularly drew over 120,000 people in the past few years made me slow my roll a bit.

If you're trying to find your why? for visiting an event of this size, here are a few other w’s that might help you pull the trigger.

WARMTH

An outdoor tent in Oregon? In February? 

Even if a storm is raging outside, the 54,000-square feet of tenting housing the festival is gloriously filled with heat, a new luxury for this annual event. Gone are the days of needing to swaddle oneself in down, flannel and fleece.

Thanks to improved heating in the tents, you can check your down at the door

WAITING (or not)

What about the sometimes-long lines to get into the event? According to Bobbie Price of the Newport Chamber of Commerce, this has a sunnier outlook as well.

“Our tents have gotten larger, so we are past the days of the four-hour lines,” she said. “Our lanes are larger, too, so it feels much more open and less crowded.” 

People can also buy day-of tickets a bit later in the day when the crowds have died down a bit, a new option for 2020.

WALKING (or riding)

The City of Newport really, really doesn’t want you to drink and drive. The police force goes on high alert during the four days of the event, and the city makes it easier than ever to snag a free ride between the festival and your accommodations.

Even if you aren’t staying close enough to walk from Newport, take advantage of the free shuttles provided that stop at many of the local hotels, motels and Newport neighborhoods. The trips include a very cool trip over the Yaquina Bay Bridge.

WINE

Okay, I know, this one was kind of a no-brainer and is hinted at in the name. But seriously, you can taste some of the roughly 150 different wines on offer during the weekend. If you’ve decided to make this the year you become the kind of person who can tell a merlot from a malbec, this is your event.

What else? The food.

The long list of vendors' delicacies and dishes made with fresh salmon, shrimp, Dungeness crab, oysters and more all contribute to the event's draw every year. But don’t let the thought of crowds keep you from giving it a try.

“We’ve done so much to keep the event one of the biggest in the state but to not make it feel that way,” Price said. “It’s a different experience than it was 5 years ago but the food, vendors and wine are always fabulous.”

The festival runs from Thursday, February 20, through Sunday, February 23, located next to Rogue Ales in South Beach.

-Thursday, Feb. 20, 5 to 9 p.m., admission $26.

-Friday, Feb. 21, 12 to 9 p.m., $28.

-Saturday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., $33.

-Sunday, Feb. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., $12.

-Special three-day pass for Friday through Sunday, $48.

All ticket prices include a commemorative wine glass.

Ticket prices do not include wine tasting or food. Wine sampling starts at $1, and glasses of wine are available for menu price.

This event is 21+ only.

For other things to do on the Central Coast, check out our Daytime Events calendar. For evening entertainment, our Nightlife page steers you to the top happenings on the Central Coast.

About the Author Gretchen Ammerman
Gretchen Ammerman received an Environmental Science degree from Humboldt State University and was soon running a state environmental agency in Hawaii. She gave it up for the glamorous life of the freelance writer. This led to steady employment as a newspaper editor in Lincoln City, OR, where she knew she was doing well when the paper was threatened with a lawsuit within a week. Though the work was rewarding, she returned to freelance writing to have more freedom to explore the beautiful state of Oregon with her adopted dog, Scout.