The ax has officially fallen, and the Gorge Games will not return to Hood River in 2003.
After months of negotiations and searching for a title sponsor, Connecticut-based Octagon Marketing has decided to abandon its plans for the annual outdoor lifestyle festival until next year.
“Basically, the companies that expressed interest didn’t step up,” said Gorge Games part-owner Peggy Lalor. “Octagon didn’t want to put themselves out on a limb, so they chose to focus on 2004 instead.”
Octagon had set a Feb. 15 “drop dead” date to find a title sponsor, and when nothing concrete had surfaced, they decided to focus their efforts on the future.
Lalor said the Gorge Games could return in 2004 and that no one is to blame for the cancellation. She pointed to the failing economy and the stance many companies have right now of not taking unnecessary risks.
But Lalor also insisted that the Gorge Games concept is still very much alive, and that by focusing on the future, both she and Octagon can ensure an even better festival than in years past.
“It’s going to come down to what makes sense for the future,” Lalor said. “We’re not going to put ourselves at risk right now, but we’re still going to listen to ideas for how we can do something this summer.”
Lalor has organized a community meeting for March 5 at 5 p.m. in the Hood River Hotel ballroom, to discuss alternatives for the Gorge Games. Anyone interested may attend, and “everything will be on the table.”
“We’re going to give an overview of what has happened, and then talk about what we can do to support a more locally driven festival,” Lalor said.
“There are so many if’s right now, and it’s going to depend on how much the community wants it.”