Fermenting on South Coast: Live Culture

The 10-day celebration this fall is seeking proposals to build a "culture stand" that will be visitor center, merchandise table and gathering spot all in one

A press release recently landed on my desk seeking proposals to build a “Culture Stand” for the upcoming “Live Culture Coast” to be held on the southern Oregon coast in October. I confess I was duly – and dually – baffled. A Culture Stand? Live Culture Coast? I had no idea, so I put in a call to Amber Peoples, the creative director behind the event. We began with the obvious.  

What exactly is Live Culture Coast?

Peoples: It’s a 10-day celebration of food, art, and place that will travel the entire South Coast from Reedsport to Brookings, over 135 miles, Oct. 18-27. This is the first. We’re calling it the pilot.

And a Culture Stand?

The Culture Stand itself will be on a 5-by-10 trailer. We’ll put it on the back of a truck and haul it. It’s a traveling visitor center; it’s a merchandise table, a gathering spot. Its location will designate where the celebration is, where the Live Culture Coast is focused that day. We’re also creating a map.

Fermentation Fest in Sauk Country, Wis., bills itself as a “celebration of live culture in all its forms, from dance to yogurt, poetry to sauerkraut,” as well as home-grown sausage. The October event is the inspiration for “Live Culture Coast” to be held along 135 miles of the South Oregon Coast this fall. Photo by: Amber Peoples
Fermentation Fest in Sauk Country, Wis., bills itself as a “celebration of live culture in all its forms, from dance to yogurt, poetry to sauerkraut,” as well as home-grown sausage. The October event is the inspiration for “Live Culture Coast” to be held along 135 miles of the South Oregon Coast this fall. Photo by: Amber Peoples

Let’s say the Culture Stand is parked in Coos Bay on Saturday, October 19. The event happening that day could be a brewery demonstration. It could be an art class, or a coffee roasting. We’re hoping people will sign up for one of these experiences, and that will encourage people to travel and explore the South Coast.

What do you want designers/builders to know about creating a Culture Stand?

We are really excited to work with people who will focus on designs and builds that have place-making at the heart. The deadline to submit first concepts – there are several phases –  is June 17. From there, we will choose finalists to develop their ideas further, and then we’ll pick a commission from one of those finalists. We’re going to buy the trailer and that’s $1,500, and then the stipend to the designer/builder to cover materials and labor is $5,000. (See the full proposal specifications here.)

What inspired this?

There is an event in rural Wisconsin we are drawing inspiration from called Fermentation Fest. I approached the Oregon Coast Visitors Association about the event and they were excited to be part of it.

What can people expect?

When people hear the word “ferment,” they think alcohol and beer and maybe sauerkraut. We’re taking that word and applying it to the larger definition, which is about excitement, curiosity, change, incubation, and diversity.

For example, we’ll work with the breweries on the South Coast. We’ll commission art installations. We’ll be working with local artists and outdoor recreation providers. Friends of South Slough have devised a special hike just for Live Culture Coast. South Coast Tours,  a kayak and paddle board company, will be doing guided van tours, including one that starts in Brookings and goes into the Oregon redwoods.

live culture coast logo

Why the South Coast?

A really exciting thing that has been happening here is the development of tourism and using tourism as an economic driver for the area. This event will become an anchor to introduce people to the South Coast and support those creative entrepreneurs, while also helping to develop or incubate new opportunities.

Do you anticipate building more Culture Stands?

That’s our goal. With the success of the pilot, we hope to launch a Live Culture Coast in 2020 and along with that build upon the elements that are successful. We always want it to be here on the South Coast. Our hope is, as it grows, we create more partnerships to develop an ever-increasing support system for the South Coast.

This first year we’re starting with a Culture Stand that can hopefully be a jack of all trades — farm stand, artist display, and possibly even a stage. In future years, we will learn if there are different designs or focuses that we can commission to support different initiatives.

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