CALL TO ARTISTS – FlorenceFest!

The Florence Regional Arts Alliance (FRAA) is very excited to invite all artists to participate in the 2nd annual “Florence Fest” to be held at the Florence Events Center on April 27 and 28, 2018. Last year’s event was a huge success as over 700 people attended and we sold almost 40% of the art selected.  This year’s event, which will feature two days of Jazz, Art and Wine, will be highlighted by talented jazz musicians and outstanding wine from some of the best wineries throughout the state. Selection for the exhibit will be made by Margaret Prentice, who is an accomplished painter and printmaker and has curated numerous exhibitions throughout the Northwest.   She is currently Professor Emeritus in the Art Department at the University of Oregon where she taught for 26 years.  Prentice taught drawing, intaglio, and relief printmaking, papermaking and artist’s books.  Her original prints are included in […]

Call to Artists for new Outdoor Gallery Program

The Public Art Committee of the city of Florence has created an exciting new program to enhance the beauty and livability of our community by regularly introducing original outdoor art into Florence to create a unique sense of place and enhance community identity.  This program, called “Art Exposed – Dynamic Public Art” provides a creative outlet for artists to display their work, and artists are encouraged to submit unique pieces that demonstrate extraordinary creativity and elicit a feeling of “Wow” from all who view them.  Many cities around the world are engaged in programs of this type and it creates excitement for both the community and visitors. Five (5) locations for this art have been selected by the Public Art Committee and are in the high visibility/high traffic area of Historic Old Town Florence along Bay Street.  This area is filled with restaurants, galleries and specialty shops and provides a […]


January 30 is National Plan Your Vacation Day, and the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is ready to help. The event, promoted by Project Time Off who encourages everyone, on January 30, to take 30 minutes to plan a vacation. Nationally, more than 660 million vacation days go unused. “It is proven that those that take vacation time are happier, healthier, and more productive,” says Bettina Hannigan, executive director of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. “Vacation is essential to strengthen personal relationships, inspire creative thinking, improve professional performance and promote better health—and Florence should be at the top of your list of vacation destinations for many reasons.” “Our visitors, and locals too, enjoy the dunes for ATVs, sand rails, sandboarding, and hiking. They love that we have more than a dozen lakes within a dozen miles of town, as well as the Siuslaw River and the ocean. There’s fishing, […]

Rhododendron Court Announced!

This week, the Rhododendron Festival Committee announced the selections for the 2018 Rhododendron Court, comprised of a Senior Court of five princesses and two princes, and a Junior Court with five princesses. The Senior Court Princesses are Andrea Hernandez, Lainey Goss, Thelma Gentry, Alex Saindon and Denielle VanWinkle. The Senior Court Princes are Colby Waters Trent Reavis both from Siuslaw High School. Junior Court Princesses from Siuslaw Elementary are first-grader Alleya Thomas, second-grader Jasmine Krause, fourth-grader Kylee Stinger and fifth-grader Brittney Adams. Abigail Mendez, the third-grade princess is from Mapleton. “The students are all wonderful representatives of Florence and Mapleton,” said committee chairperson Jenna Bartlett. “These courts will be introduced at various functions during the next few months and represent Florence and the Rhododendron Festival throughout the year.” Members of the Junior and Senior Court were presented with roses by Florence Mayor Joe Henry and committee members Nancy Bosket, Jenna […]


“Our town buzzing with the spirit of revolutionizing, re-visioning and revitalizing,” says Bettina Hannigan, executive director for the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. “The 10th annual Siuslaw Awards are a great way to celebrate that.” The event, open to the public, takes place Wednesday, February 7, at the Florence Events Center, 715 Quince St. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person or $320 for reserved tables for eight people, and are available online at or at the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce office 290 Highway 101 in Florence. “We invite Chamber members and the community at large to join us ‘Rhody Rendezvous-style’ as we celebrate at the Florence Event Center with live entertainment, a State of the Chamber address, a delicious dinner, and presentations by our community business leaders for a fabulous evening together,” says Terry Abeyta, event coordinator and […]


In a state that measures nearly 100,000 square miles, two of the top-20 landmarks to visit are within about 10 miles of each other in Florence. The Oregonian/ recently published their list of the 20 most iconic landmarks in Oregon. Author Jamie Hale defined “landmark” as any natural or manmade feature that helps define a place in Oregon, explaining that “If it’s worthy of a postcard, it’s a landmark.” Hale ranked Sea Lion Caves at number 16 writing, “It’s been built up and turned into a tourist attraction for the last 75 years, but there’s no denying the grandeur of the Sea Lion Caves. The towering sea cave just north of Florence is home to a Steller sea lion rookery, which generally stays inside the cave in the fall and winter, heading out to the rocky shores come spring and summer. “ At number nine on his list are the […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is kicking off its annual Holiday Festival on Saturday, November 25. Santa’s arrival, hayrides, lighted boats at the marina, and the official lighting of its Christmas tree will take place in Historic Old Town; and shops and galleries will be open for holiday shopping all around town. Many events will take place in Historic Old Town between 3:30 and 7:00 p.m. “Rain or shine, it’s time to celebrate together!” says Bettina Hannigan, the Chamber’s executive director. “Our Old Town area is getting decked-out for the holidays and we are excited to announce that The City of Florence has planted a gorgeous live tree at the Siuslaw Interpretive Park for our town to enjoy year after year. Come on out to be a part of the festivities!” At 3:30 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive via firetruck down Bay Street, courtesy of Siuslaw Valley Fire […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Center, 290 Highway 101, features a different local art exhibit each month. Their November display of local artistry features the photography of Rodger Bennett. “It’s an honor to have been chosen by the Chamber to hang my work in their lobby,” says Bennett. “I think that the Chamber’s monthly exhibits are a good offering of the Florence area’s arts community, and that gives credit to the Chamber, local artists, and the kinds of things that are unique to Florence. It also provides another attraction for locals and visitors alike to sample all the different kinds of arts and the artists behind them.” “I believe that quality art makes people feel better and that certainly is a growing attraction to Florence in itself,” he adds. Bennett’s exhibit includes nine self-framed prints. Several are printed on metal, a few are printed on foam board, and […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the theme for its 111th annual Rhododendron Festival. “This year’s ‘Rhody Rendezvous’ theme intends to evoke a feeling of coming to Florence and meeting up with friends and family for a great time here in Oregon’s Coastal Playground,” says executive director Bettina Hannigan. “It’s our 111th year, making us about a year older than the Portland Rose Festival but a little younger than Pasadena, California’s Tournament of Roses,” adds Hannigan. “After that many years we’re pretty sure that several generations of Oregonians and other visitors have rendezvoused around our rhodies many times.” The festival takes place the third weekend of May each year, making it May 17-20, 2018. Traditionally the Davis Shows Carnival opens on Wednesday afternoon at the Port of Siuslaw parking lot, the Rhododendron Court coronation takes place Thursday evening at the Florence Events Center, and the town begins filling […]


The Florence Area Chamber of Commerce has selected the winner of a $250 cash prize in its 2017 photo contest. The organization was looking for the best photos of the fun, frolic, and iconic buildings and scenery, from Oregon’s Coastal Playground—an area up to 30 miles in any direction of Florence. More than 120 photos were entered. Steffen Hefley of Covington, Washington, entered the winning photo of her son running along the beach, happily dragging a long bunch of seaweed behind him. Hefley’s mother lives in Florence and created the “Dancing With Sea Lions” statue on exhibit at Sea Lion Caves. Hefley’s photo will be featured in the Chamber’s Visitors’ Resource Guide and other printed marketing pieces, on the Chamber’s website, and in social media. A panel of Chamber members selected the winner. “Steffen’s photo really captured a fun “playground” moment and expresses how great of a destination Florence is […]