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Author thrilled over Cedar Cove Days

The popularity of Cedar Cove, Debbie Macomber’s fictional rethinking of Port Orchard, has only grown over time, drawing attention from fans across the country — even the world.

Macomber first came to write about Port Orchard after several other book series, thinking that it was time to feature an area she knew intimately.

“There’s no place more beautiful than the Pacific Northwest when the sun shines,” she said.

And soon she’d developed a fan-base, with thousands on an e-mail list wanting to know more about the real-life Cedar Cove, which has led to an area map and a forthcoming days-long festival, Cedar Cove Days in 2009.

It started with tea parties at the Victorian Tea Rose Room, which drew fans of the series from Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Hawaii. Soon after, Macomber distributed a map of Port Orchard with several landmarks from her series.

Now Jerry Childs and Cindy Lucarelli are trying to bring the series to life. The idea came from Jerry Childs of Kitsap Street, and Macomber was thrilled to hop on board.

“I’m so impressed with both Cindy and with Jerry Childs,” she said. “They have big plans, big ideas. We immediately e-mailed my list and asked for suggestions.”

Lucarelli and Childs got a running start on the program last week, and are already reserving event space for the festival, which follows a similar festival, Mitford Days, based on the popular book series by Jan Karon.

And of course Macomber has her own ideas as well. There will be a number of teas, much like those she hosted in the past, a big dinner and a 5K run, and of course a number of different characters.

Macomber hopes to see characters like Justice Olivia and newspaper editor Jack to make appearances during the event.

And the event of course means financial opportunity for Port Orchard and the surrounding communities.

“Heads in beds — that’s the goal of this,” Macomber said. “Bring heads to beds in this area, to create an event that will bring the tourist industry to Port Orchard.”

Macomber hopes the fan-base that spreads as far across the ocean as Australia will come out and bring some tourism money to the area.

Lucarelli sees the event as beneficial to the area’s financial growth, bringing in money without redeveloping property into condominiums, but Macomber said the world of Cedar Cove and the world of Port Orchard are completely separate. She won’t include local events in her stories.

“Cedar Cove is Cedar Cove and it’s completely different from Port Orchard,” she said. “I’m not putting anything political in the books about Port Orchard.”

She explained that, unlike Port Orchard, Cedar Cove is fully developed, and she does not expect Port Orchard to mimic the fictional town as it grows.

And who knows what Cedar Cove will do in the coming years for itself, as the story has no end in sight.

“I’ll write these Cedar Cove books until I’m tired of writing them,” she said. “Which will be about the same time readers get tired of reading them.”

Macomber is still amazed and overwhelmed by the popularity and the fan-dedication of the series.

“I certainly never dreamed that a series I created would cause such a phenomenon,” Macomber said. “I didn’t anticipate that when I started the series.”

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