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Posted on: February 19, 2019

SeaFeast Board Hires Executive Director to Oversee Popular Waterfront Event

The Bellingham SeaFeast Board of Directors is pleased to announce Liz Purdy has been hired to serve as Executive Director for the increasingly popular event which celebrates Whatcom County’s rich maritime heritage, thriving working waterfront, commercial fishing and seafood industries, and the culinary bounty of the Pacific Northwest. 

Bellingham SeaFeast 2019 is scheduled for a full weekend event September 21 and 22, when much of the commercial fishing fleet will return after a successful summer season.

“Liz Purdy is the ideal candidate to serve as Executive Director for Bellingham SeaFeast,” said SeaFeast Board of Directors Chair and Port Executive Director Rob Fix.  “Liz worked during last year’s festival and proved herself to be a tremendous asset.  Liz has the working waterfront background and event planning experience necessary to hit the ground running and continue to grow attendance at this incredible event.” 

“I’m honored to serve as Executive Director” said Purdy.  “Bellingham SeaFeast represents what I love about living in Whatcom County.  Deb Granger started this event with a vision to showcase the significance of the working waterfront. I intend to carry that vision forward to host a family-friendly celebration with plenty of fresh seafood for an experience that keeps people coming back each year.”

The first Bellingham SeaFeast was held in 2016 after a longtime member of Whatcom County’s working waterfront, Debbie Granger, learned from Mike Gruenheit, a local commercial fisherman, that the City of Bellingham was seeking proposals for a new signature event to boost tourism and increase hotel occupancy during the off-season.  Ms. Granger, along with many others, submitted her idea for Bellingham SeaFeast and the team was awarded seed money after a competitive process evaluated by the City’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.  The event has attracted thousands of people each year and continues to grow in size bringing economic value to the community in the form of tourism.

“Many people don’t understand just how much fish comes over the docks in Whatcom County” said SeaFeast‘s first Executive Director, Debbie Granger.  “Over 6,000 people in Whatcom County have jobs created or supported by the maritime sector and the success of Bellingham SeaFeast is the result of the pride in our waterfront shared by the individuals and families who make up our maritime and commercial fishing industries.”

“Bellingham SeaFeast is everything we hoped for when we asked the community for ideas for a new signature event” said City of Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville.  “The success of SeaFeast is credit to the passion of our working waterfront, the huge quantity of fresh seafood coming over our docks, and the high value our community places on the waterfront.  From FisherPoets, to tours of commercial fishing boats, to the kid’s area; Bellingham SeaFeast is an amazing celebration of what living in a true maritime community is all about.” 

Purdy brings a wealth of experience to the position.  After obtaining her BA from Gonzaga University, and her MA in Sustainable Development, Purdy spent time living in Southeast Alaska and commercial fishing in Bristol Bay before returning to the Pacific Northwest.

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