Cedar Cove Days gets downtown headquarters

With a little more than two months before the beginning of Cedar Cove Days, the sponsors have secured a space downtown that will serve as the command center for the event.

“This will be our welcome center,” said Cedar Cove Days co-chair Cindy Lucarelli, standing outside the building at 701 Prospect St. in Port Orchard. “All of our logistics for Cedar Cove Days will operate right out of this building.”

Cedar Cove Days takes place from August 26 to August 30, and celebrates the novels of local author Debbie Macomber. The books in Macomber’s Cedar Cove series, of which there are now nine, is modeled after Port Orchard.

Lucarelli had been looking to establish a central location for the festival’s administration for several months. After a request from Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola, landlord Mansour Samadpour agreed to provide the space, which normally rents for around $2,500, free of charge to the festival.

This is only the beginning, as the festival management must make renovations and secure the proper insurance. But it is a big advantage to not have to pay for the space, according to Lucarelli.

“The fact is, they just handed over the key,” she said. “Isn't that cool?”

As of Tuesday no lease had been signed. “It’s just a verbal agreement right now,” Lucarelli said.

Lucarelli acknowledges the outside is somewhat overgrown, and the inside also needs a little renovation. However, she expects everything will be finished by opening day, and will be accomplished with volunteer labor.

“This is a perfect project for a garden club,” she said of the vegetation outside of the front door. “We're looking for a volunteer group to turn this jungle into a blooming paradise.”

The 5,000-square-foot space has three large rooms. Lucarelli said the front room will be used for registration and merchandising sales, while the others will house administrative and media services. The hardwood floors lend themselves to a variety of functions and the space is very flexible, she said.

Additionally, the fact that it faces Prospect St. instead of Bay St. will make it a lot easier to access as parking is more plentiful outside of the main drag.

The space was most recently used by The Dance Gallery, which still occupies the building’s ground floor.

Lucarelli took over the building this week and plans to begin renovations immediately. She said that the event has already recruited about 200 volunteers to help out in various ways, but they are “self governing and usually work on their own.

Lucarelli is pleased with her good fortune, and Samadpour's generosity.

“It needs a lot of work and we will need to take ‘before and after’ pictures,” she said. “But this is going to be cool.”

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