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Cayucos Sea Glass Festival canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

Posted: 6:47 AM, Mar 12, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-12 13:53:02-04
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UPDATE 10:30 a.m. - The Cayucos Sea Glass Festival has been canceled due to concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus.

Festival director Katie Sturtevant notified KSBY that the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department had given the festival the all-clear to move forward as planned as of Wednesday.

However, after Governor Gavin Newsom's announcement Wednesday night that all gatherings of 250 or more should be suspended, the county health officials asked Sturtevant Thursday to cancel the 10th annual event.

More than 5,000 people were expected to attend the Cayucos Sea Glass Festival and 34 sea glass vendors from around the world were scheduled to participate.

Sturvetant said at this point, it's unknown whether the festival will be held at a later date or canceled altogether. In the latter case, she says they look forward to holding the festival again in 2021.

The San Luis Obispo downtown farmers' market was also called off Thursday morning over coronavirus concerns.

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Central Coast Living comes with beautiful beaches. If you look closely, you may find colorful, glimmering pieces of glass in the sand that have been smoothed by the ocean.

What exactly is sea glass? We asked Cambria-based sea glass artist Rachel Kenney.

"It's basically just glass that has been either thrown in the ocean or washed down into the ocean and it gets kind of tumbled over time so it becomes kind of like a gem or treasure you find," Kenney said.

She started looking for sea glass six years ago, a hobby that is both artistic and eco-friendly.

"When you do pick up sea glass you are basically picking up trash, to most people," Kenney said. "It's cool because then you're cleaning up the beach but then you also get to create these beautiful pieces that you can wear and love."

Her discoveries turned into a storefront on Main St. in Cambria called REK. This weekend, hundreds of Kenney's REK sea glass creations will be on display just down the road at the 10th Cayucos Sea Glass Festival.

Festival director Katie Sturtevant says Kenney will be one of 34 sea glass vendors at this year's event.

"[The festival] started with a group of I think five or six local women volunteers who just loved sea glass," Sturtevant said.

The festival is a fundraiser for the Cayucos Camber of Commerce. Sturtevant says the influx of visitors and locals is a major boost for the beach town's economy.

"Now, we get about 5,000 people throughout the weekend coming to look at sea glass, buy sea glass art. It's really, really outstanding," Sturtevant said.

So, how do you find sea glass?

Kenney and Sturtevant gave us some pointers.

"My biggest tip is anywhere there are rocks on the beach, there's going to be glass," Kenney said.

"The best time to check for sea glass is after a storm because it washes up all the material from the ocean," Sturtevant said.

That means, this weekend may be a prime sea glass hunting opportunity while also cleaning our beaches.

"You're helping recycle what's already on the beach," said Sturtevant.

The Cayucos Sea Glass Festival kicks off Friday with a Mermaid Ball. Everyone dresses up as mermaids and mermen. There's also a clam chowder cook-off.

The main event runs Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $7. The festival will be inside a tent at the base of the Cayucos Pier.

For $15, sea glass lovers can shop the festival before everyone else starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to plenty of sea glass, there will be food, beer, wine and live, local bands for people to enjoy.