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Originally published Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 7:00 PM

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Astoria festival celebrates maritime arts

Looking for a winter weekend getaway? Astoria, Ore., on the Columbia River, celebrates the maritime arts with its annual Fisher Poets Gathering.

Seattle Times travel writer

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Itching to get out of town? Historic Astoria, on the Columbia River in Oregon, is just a few miles from the ocean, and winter is a cozy time to visit. February means fewer crowds and lower prices. New restaurants, coffeehouses and brew pubs await, all within a few hours' drive.

Why leave town: Because if you're reading this, you're probably home for the Presidents Day weekend; all the more reason to plan your next getaway.

What's going on: The 15th annual Fisher Poets Gathering, a maritime extravaganza that includes poetry, music, art exhibits and workshops.

When and where: Feb. 24-26 in seven downtown Astoria venues.

What to expect: Seventy fishing and maritime experts sharing their experiences with poems, story circles and songs in cool locations such as the Baked Alaska restaurant, Wet Dog Café, the Voodoo Room and the funky Columbian Theatre.

What's special: Poets and songwriters come from as far away as Japan for this annual celebration of maritime arts. Highlights include a Fishermen's Open Mike, silent auction to raise funds for poets and musicians, and Saturday workshops covering topics such as the impact of Japan's 2011 tsunami on the fishing industry.

More details: $15 for an all-inclusive button for event entry, or single-entry covers at the door. Details at www.clatsopcc.edu/fisherpoets. For tourist info, call the Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce at 800- 875-6807 or see www.oldoregon.com.

Carol Pucci: cpucci@seattletimes.com.

On Twitter @carolpucci.

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