Record Attendance, Food Donations And A Wedding At The 2008 Sea Of Lights!

December 11, 2008

Record food donations reveal a spirit of generosity during difficult economic times

While Wall Street and economists report economic calamities, a spirit of generosity was apparent among those attending the 16th Annual Sea of Lights at the Oregon Coast Aquarium December 5 and 6. The Aquarium saw record breaking attendance of 3,542 people at the event, considerably more than last year’s attendance of 2,122 and collected a record 6,463 pounds of food donations, more than double last year’s 2,927 pounds of food. A wedding, taking place under a canopy of twinkling lights, added to the sense of celebration Saturday evening.

The food, donated by visitors in lieu of admission to the event, was donated to Lincoln County Food Share, which serves six independent food pantries, two meal sites and six supplemental nutrition programs. Visitors brought two items of food or a new toy or pet food to get in free. The pet food goes to the Lincoln County Animal Shelter.

The event also featured a pet tree with photos of the many shelter animals needing homes at the Lincoln County Animal Shelter. The pet tree is a way for people to see what animals are available for adoption, and allows enough time for both pet and family to adjust to one another before the busy Christmas season.

Morgan Locklear, the ordained minister who performed the wedding ceremony, said Mike and Amanda Blakely contacted him and requested a short and casual ceremony at the Aquarium’s annual Sea of Lights. “It was a challenge for me to convey the seriousness of the promise within a five minute vow,” said Locklear, “but it was a fun challenge, and I was happy to accommodate their wishes.”

The Sea of Lights has become a regional tradition, drawing people from all over the state for a weekend at the beach, a holiday celebration and an opportunity to give to those in need within the community. “Working with Lincoln County Food Share is a way to give back to our community,” said Aquarium Marketing Director, Carrie Lewis. “Part of the Aquarium’s mission is to promote responsible animal care and welfare in wild or captive settings and working with the Lincoln County Animal Shelter to find good homes for animals is another way for the Aquarium to achieve those objectives.”