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Down the cornhole - Countrycon flops

St. Helens tourism official: 'It was disappointing'


Less than one-fifth the daily turnout event organizers hoped to see at Countrycon in St. Helens last weekend materialized, the city’s tourism director said Wednesday, May 21.

Chris Finks told the St. Helens City Council that in spite of promotions through Portland country music radio station 98.7 The Bull, a billboard along Highway 30 north of Scappoose, and a partnership with the Washington County Visitors Association, attendance was lackluster on May 17 and May 18 at the Olde School in St. Helens.

“We had maybe 40 people,” said Finks. “It was disappointing, to be sure.”

Countrycon featured performances by eight country music artists, including the Sweetwater Band from Columbia County. Its other main attraction Saturday, May 17, was a cornhole competition with cash prizes. Cornhole is a game in which players attempt to throw a beanbag into a hole in a board.

“We didn’t have as much of a turnout for this as we clearly would have liked, especially for the cornhole tossing,” Finks said. He said he does not believe cornhole “has caught on yet” in the region.

Countrycon organizers were looking to have 250 people each day at the event, Finks told the council.

“Not a lot of people in the community were aware of what Countrycon was, that it was going on,” Councilor Ginny Carlson said. “And I know that communication piece is a real bear.”

Finks said he considers the event this year to be a learning experience.