Last weekend was a lively one on the North Coast.
Saturday morning, my friend and I drove down to Seaside, staked a parking spot on Sixth Avenue and the Prom, and walked to our courtside seats at the Seaside Beach Volleyball Tournament.
It was my first time at the tournament, and the stellar weather and sheer number of people lent an electrifying air to the day. Seaside was hopping. On the Prom, we passed bike riders, rollerbladers and plenty of volleyball players. This year saw 143 courts and over 1,400 total teams – another record-breaking year for the World’s Largest Amateur Beach Volleyball Tournament.
At the main court, much of the afternoon was devoted to the men’s doubles semifinals. With sand flying and cheers from the crowd, we watched teams from Canada and Austin, Texas, as well as Paul Araiza and Alejandro Parra of San Diego, Calif., play. Araiza and Parra ended up winning the men’s open final.
Spectators were prepared to have fun. In the midst of all the bikinis and tanned skin on display in the crowd, my friends and I spotted a sombrero, a pirate and a shark costume.
Taking a break from the games, my friend and I strolled down Broadway. At The Freedom Shop, she got a custom design printed on a hat. At Twisted Fish Steakhouse, we cooled off from the hot sun and people watched through the window. When a parked car left its spot, a slick maroon hot rod swooped in for primo parking, garnering admiring double takes from passersby.
As evening descended, we headed back to our car and Astoria for the Second Saturday Art Walk. Galleries were packed with regulars and Astoria Regatta visitors sampling appetizers and checking out new art exhibitions.
The Astoria Dog Park Friends held an art sale fundraiser during art walk. Works by local artists were up for silent auction in the front room – including Noel Thomas, Harry Bennett and Diane Beeston – and the back room was full of donated art at flat-rate, affordable prices. If you saw someone walking around with a paper-wrapped frame under their arm, chances are they found a treasure at the fundraiser.
I also stepped into Ratz & Company for the first time. A new gallery/studio on 10th Street, Ratz features the funky and weird art and illustrations of owner Dave McMacken. The mix of pulpy posters and dark local landscapes of boats and buildings – including the Flavel Mansion – offer great contrast and draw you in to explore the all-wood interior of the shop.