Aquarium Hosts The Halloween Harvest Festival

October 26, 2009

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is doing something a little different this fall. Instead of the annual Creatures of the Night celebration, normally held the Saturday before Halloween, it will host a week long Halloween Harvest Festival celebration, partnering with the Newport News-Times. The festival, held October 25 – 31, will celebrate the bounty of the fall season with the goal of collecting food donations for Food Share of Lincoln County during the month of October.

“One of the main goals for Creatures of the Night has always been to collect food for Food Share of Lincoln County,” said Cindy Hanson, Aquarium Public Relations Manager. “This year we decided to extend the effort to a month long food drive, with the goal of meeting increased demand during these challenging economic times. The celebration itself will be spread out over the week of October 25 – 31 this year, giving more people the opportunity to enjoy the festivities and the Aquarium,” said Hanson. Throughout the month of October, donations of non perishable food items will be accepted at the Aquarium and at the office of the News-Times at 831 NE Avery in Newport.

The Newport News-Times is offering a special "Hunger Awareness" campaign, with an opportunity for local businesses to help out. “We’d like to show how the business community gives back, by putting together a special section about Food Share of Lincoln County,” said Jeremy Burke, Publisher of the Newport News-Times. “We’ll be printing 25,000 copies of this section and we are donating a pound of food in your name for every dollar we sell in this section.” Interested businesses may call the News-Times for details at 541-265-8571.

Nancy Smith, Director of Food Share of Lincoln County, also encourages cash donations. “I don’t know if many people realize how far a dollar goes. A $10 donation will buy 50 pounds of food!” Smith said she hopes the event will help to bring awareness about its mission; to alleviate hunger in Lincoln County. “This event will go a long way toward getting the community involved in the effort in a fun and meaningful way.” Anyone wishing to help Food Share of Lincoln County can make a donation through PayPal on their website at:

Food Share of Lincoln County distributes emergency food boxes through six affiliated pantries located in Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Siletz and Toledo. In addition to the pantries, it provides assistance in the form of food, and other donated items to nine agencies. Between 7 to 10% of county residents use a food pantry in any given month. The people who use food pantries include children, working families, the elderly, retired, disabled and the homeless members of our community. 

Halloween Harvest Festival activities range from story telling to pumpkin carving and costume contests to a turkey vulture naming contest. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is building a turkey vulture aviary slated to open with live turkey vultures in the month of October. “What a perfect time to name our vultures – Halloween!” said Hanson. “The Aquarium’s aviculturists will choose the winning names for the turkey vultures.”

Halloween Harvest Festival Schedule:

All Week, October 25 – 31:

  • Turkey Vulture Naming Contest: (box in lobby to submit name entries)
  • Food Drive: Receptacles in lobby and front of Aquarium
  • The entire Aquarium will be decked out in a colorful autumn theme
  • Count the candy corn contest with prize for winning entry
  • Aquarium scavenger hunt with prizes

Thursday, October 29 through Friday, October 30:

  • Pumpkin carving contest – public is invited to drop off entries (Winners will be selected Saturday, Oct. 31)

Thursday, October 29:

  • Bake Sale with proceeds benefitting Lincoln County Animal Shelter

Friday, October 30:

  • The New Turkey Vulture Exhibit Opens
  • “Ghosts of the Coast” Stories by Andre’ Hagestedt in Aquarium Theater (11 - 11:30 am and 1:30 - 2 pm)
  • Halloween youth sleepover (13 – 17 year olds)

Saturday, October 31:

  • Admission is 2 items of food or pet food or $5 donation (Saturday, Oct. 31 only)
  • Face painting
  • 12:30 pm - Aquarium staff and volunteer costume contest
  • 1:30 pm - Public costume contest