110th Rhododendron Festival Winds Up

From Thursday’s coronation of Queen Rhododendra and The King of the Coast to Sunday’s grand floral parade, the 110th Rhododendron Festival was a total success. By all indications, we may have had as many as 35,000 people attending this year. That’s four times the population of our town! And, if eyewitness accounts are correct, about a half-dozen orcas were seen in the Siuslaw River. That makes two times in the last three years. We had orcas last year too, but they came during Memorial Day weekend. I guess orcas enjoy Oregon’s Coastal Playground too, but maybe for different reasons than the tourists. This year we had flower, art, motorcycle, and classic car shows; parades, a street vendor fair, and a carnival—something for everyone. And boy, were the folks “ready to rhody” this year! You see, that was our theme: “Always Ready to Rhody.” We kind of borrowed it from the […]


The 110th annual Rhododendron Festival begins Thursday, May 18, with the coronation of Queen Rhododendra and The King of the Coast, and continues through Sunday evening, May 21, with the grand floral parade beginning at noon on Sunday. As a town, and as a Chamber of Commerce, we are “Always Ready to Rhody.” And this weekend’s weather looks to be fantastic for doing so. Come make it a day at the beach, or two, or a whole week! The Siuslaw River Coast Guard Station is our inspiration for this year’s slogan. The Coast Guard’s slogan is Semper Paratus, or Always Ready, and they will be our grand marshal for the annual parade. The selection was easy. These brave men and women are celebrating the station’s 100 years of service in Florence. The list of events for the celebration is long. There’s just too much to do in one day. You […]

Chamber Memberships for $20 a Month!

The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce announces that annual membership can be purchased on a monthly program for $20 a month! Yes, it’s true, Florence area businesses can now reap the benefits, rewards, leverage, connections, and resources of being a Chamber member for $20 a month!  DOWNLOAD THE CHAMBER APPLICATION HERE AND THE MONTHLY AGREEMENT HERE! How can the Chamber help you? The question is what does your business need? The Chamber brings resources beyond wildest expectations. By leveraging resources and relationships the Chamber has established it is prepared to partner with Florence Area businesses to strengthen, expand, streamline, update, and develop small to large businesses. The Chamber spends over $200,000 a year marketing Florence regionally and globally. Florence is on the map, is your business? Referral is a key benefit of membership, website, phone, walk-in, 99% of these contacts are looking for a referral. Visitors, relocations, new businesses – […]


USA Today’s “10Best.com” editors teamed up with a panel of travel experts chosen based on their knowledge and experience with the region to find the best small towns in the Northwest with populations less than 10,000. Florence took second place out of the 50 originally considered for an online poll that concluded April 24. “We were super excited to be nominated to this list of great places, and are delighted to be the only Oregon town in the top 10, especially considering the other awesome places from our great state that were part of this national survey,” says Bettina Hannigan, executive director for the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. USA Today’s write-up stated, “Situated where the Siuslaw River meets the Pacific Ocean, Florence is home to two of the most popular attractions on the central Oregon Coast, Heceta Head Lighthouse and Sea Lion Caves. Fresh seafood dominates the restaurant menus […]

Businesses – Get Ready to Rhody!

A message from the Rhododendron Court. To create excitement about Rhody weekend (it’s almost here!) and to help us raise scholarship money for our graduating senior court, we would like to paint pink, red and yellow Rhodies on business windows all over town. People will notice your windows, know you’re supporting the community and want to do business with you. We’ll generate anticipation about Rhody weekend, and you’ll be helping us immensely. We can paint 1 rhody for $50, 2 rhodies for $100, 3 rhodies for $150, 4 rhodies for $200, etc. The choice is yours! Contact the Chamber office at 541-997-3128 or Wendy Krause at 541-999-7765 Click HERE for details and to sign up.

Souvenir Florence Charm Bracelets Now Available!

Create a one-of-a-kind souvenir of your visit to Florence, as you follow the Charm Trail through town. Pick up your bracelet and signature charm, available only at a Trail Head (Florence Chamber Visitors Center!) for $5.00. Then visit each Stop around Florence and add other charms for $2.00 each to complete your bracelet. Download locations here! Look for the YELLOW door signs! Follow the trail in any order you choose, and have a Charming time in Florence! The Charm Trail is a Program of the Siuslaw News (541) 997-3441.


Button, button—who’s got a button? By the third weekend of May, Rhododendron Festival organizers hope everyone in Florence will have, and be wearing, one of this year’s Rhododendron Festival buttons. And this year, there is a delicious, old-fashioned benefit that comes with pin ownership. Get your pin here. This year’s pin follows the festival’s theme, “Always Ready to Rhody”—a motto borrowed from the Coast Guard’s “Semper Paratus,” or Always Ready. In honor of the Coast Guard’s centennial anniversary in Florence, USCG Station Siuslaw River was chosen to be this year’s honorary parade grand marshals. The festival button features the Always Ready motto, an anchor, a patriotic red, white, and blue color scheme, and the traditional rhododendron bloom. The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce, organizer of the May 19-21 event, is bringing back two of the festival’s past traditions—metal campaign-style buttons and clam chowder. For many years of their history, the Rhody […]


This is the year to celebrate Oregon’s beautiful—and singularly protected—beaches. It’s the 50th anniversary of Oregon’s Beach Bill, signed into law on July 6, 1967 to safeguard beaches from development. But it easily could have been a different story. When lawmakers first introduced it, the bill faced steep opposition from private developers. Luckily, a few individuals alerted Oregonians to what they stood to lose, which helped turn a trickle of public support into a tidal wave.  After months of  battle, the bill was signed into law. And so it is that today, 50 years later, Oregonians and visitors from all over the world can continue to explore Oregon’s beloved beaches. Take a stroll, hunt for agates, dip your toes in the sand—and know this beach is  yours and mine and everyone’s to treasure and protect, forever. Now that’s something to celebrate.

You’ve heard it said of many places, “Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes.”

That can easily describe this time of year in Oregon’s Coastal Playground. And that’s one of the things we love about this place. After all, you don’t want to be bored with the same weather day after day, do you? This week has seen snow (a real rarity on the coast), hail, rain, and sunshine (at the moment). We’re anticipating another round of dramatic storms soon. You know, the kind that can send the waves crashing dramatically against the bluffs and rocks? This week gets us one step closer to Spring Break. We love Spring Break. We get to meet people from all over the west coast…and beyond. Just take a walk down our beautiful Bay Street in Historic Old Town Florence and you’re likely to hear a number of different languages and accents from around the world. Did you know, whales take Spring Break too? Spring whale watching begins in […]

Florence Area Chamber Seeking Board Nominations

The Florence Area Chamber Board of Directors is currently taking applications to fill two 3-year vacancies on its Board of Directors. Applicants must be in good standing as Florence Area Chamber members, having paid their dues and actively participated in Chamber activities or committees. All board members are expected to support the Chamber’s mission “…to champion the future of the greater Florence community as an innovative leader in economic vitality and active lifestyle” and goals by helping to recruit new members, supporting special events and actively engaging in committees and programs. The board meets the fourth Thursday of every month at 7:30am at the Driftwood Shores Resort & Convention Center. If you are interested in being considered for a board seat, the application is available for download HERE or you can email bettina@flornecechamber.com to request the form be emailed to you. Deadline for applications is March 31st 2017. Nominees will be announced April 28th 2017. Chamber members will be allowed to […]