Cindi Lucarelli brought her fundraising presentation to the Port Orchard City Council last week, which she used to pitch her goal of a Cedar Cove Days festival celebrating the books of area author Debbie Macomber.
Lucarelli’s slide show presentation included pictures of South Kitsap’s waterfront and nearby communities Bremerton and Gig Harbor, and she presented it to Macomber’s publishers at Harlequin Publications in the hopes of raising more money for the $400,000 to $500,000 festival scheduled for August of 2009.
The festival idea mimics other community events that draw in tourism dollars for a weekend, such as the Lavender Festival in Sequim.
“We realized that you don’t have to have flowers,” said Councilman Jerry Childs. “You can have home grown talent.”
The actual event will be more like the one-time Mitford Days in Blowing Rock, N.C., which celebrated the Mitford Series by Jan Karon.
Like Karon, Macomber based her fictional Cedar Cove loosely on Port Orchard, including familiar sites like JJ’s On The Bay (Amy’s On The Bay) or the Art Gallery (The Sidney Art Gallery).
Macomber created a map of Port Orchard for her fans, highlighting some of the spots that appeared in her book.
Lucarelli said the publishing house was excited by the festival, and she hopes to have a definite donation commitment soon.
“What we realized is that Debbie is a big deal to the world, even more than we know sometimes,” she said. “They are so responsive to anything having anything to do with her.”
The event will have a number of activities, including cruises around the Sinclair Inlet, which require some initial reservation fees.
The goal is to bring “heads in beds” to area hotels and inns, Lucarelli said, and she hopes to have 2,000 to 3,000 people bringing their tourism dollars into South Kitsap.
The event is scheduled for Aug. 26 to 30, 2009, and Lucarelli has received some donations and commitments, but is continuing to raise funds.