It was a full house Monday at Journey Community Church for the annual Downtown Camas Association (DCA) Awards night.
In attendance were local merchants, business owners, DCA board members, city council representatives, and Camas Mayor Shannon Turk.
Emceed by DCA Executive Director, Carrie Schulstad, the evening began by reviewing statistics about the growth and successes of Downtown Camas.
Schulstad reported the following:
- A 26 percent increase in First Friday attendance over 2018.
- First Fridays started in 2005, became more family friendly in 2014, and have steadily increased in popularity.
- The annual Car Show, Girls Night Out, Boo Bash, Plant and Garden Fair all helped bring people into the downtown area.
- The first Camas Car Show started in 2006 with 10 cars as a First Friday event. The Car Show moved to Saturdays, and in 2019 there were 250 cars with an attendance of 5,000+.
- It was the 10th anniversary of Girls Night Out.
- Boo Bash brought in 2,500+ kids with parents.
- New events in 2019 were Little Art Camas and Picnic in Color.
- The DCA has 175 volunteers.
- There were 12 Downtown Camas ribbon cuttings in 2019.
“Little Art Camas was a huge success,” said Schulstad. “Picnic in Color happens on the Sunday of Camas Days, and it brought out 250 kids. It’s helping kids to find their inner artist. We do so many events so people have a compelling reason to come to downtown more often, but we really couldn’t do what we do in downtown if we didn’t have great merchants. They bring it every single day!”
DCA President, Caroline Mercury also chairs the design committee, which focuses on the aesthetics and tone of Downtown Camas.
“We hear often from newcomers who say how cute Downtown Camas is,” said Mercury. “We are Mayberry with a paper mill, which we love. We fund the flower baskets through community donations. We have extended the flower baskets on 3rd and 5th. And we really want to extend the whole look of downtown.”
Vega, Salud and A Beer at a Time put the baskets on their buildings.
Mercury also highlighted these points:
- The DCA repainted the Downtown Camas sign on 4th and Adams.
- The lights on the buildings are a DCA project through a grant from PUD.
- They replaced all the light strands with LED.
- The lights costs $300-$500 per building depending on the footage.
“The lights add to the aesthetics of the downtown,” said Mercury. “It creates an ambiance when you’re downtown at night. Thank you to the building owners who participate in this. It was Ken Navidi’s idea to string up the lights.”
Mercury reported they have a public art grant to paint a mural at the US Bank parking lot, which will be a 10 x 20 collage.
“Work will be starting soon, and we hope to have that up the first part of 2020,” said Mercury. “It’s a tribute piece to the mill.”
Here are the award recipients:
- Best DT Improvement-Exterior: Hidden River Roasters
- Best DT Improvement-Interior: Attic Gallery
- Outstanding Window Display: Natalia’s Cafe
- Creative Local Marketing: Caps N’ Taps
- Putting Camas on Map: Grains of Wrath
- Change is Good: Camas Gallery
- Something New in Camas: Cedar Street Bagel Company
- Outstanding Customer Service: Hidden River Roasters
- Exceptional Employee: Allie Baden of Caffe Piccolo
- Downtown Spirit Award: Erica and Wendy of Natalia’s Cafe
- Volunteers of the Year: Amanda Whitcombe and Lee Lapp
- Student Volunteer of the Year: Emily Curry
- Lighting Our Community Award: Ken Navidi, Greg Goforth, Doug Quinn, Craig Schulstad, Randy Curtis
To learn more, visit www.downtowncamas.com