Festivals

Dory Days Celebrates an Unusual Tradition

Beautiful Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Beautiful Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Standing on the beach one summer day in 2015, just staring out at the ocean and enjoying the rare sunny day on the Oregon coast, suddenly we hear a horn. “Odd,” we think. “There’s no fog, it can’t be a fog horn.” Then we see a small boat speed around the giant rock sitting out in the middle of the ocean. We watch in a bit of shock as it races towards us on the shore. “Uhmmm, is that thing going to crash?! It’s heading right for the beach!”

 

We stand there just staring as it keeps racing in. There’s nothing we can do. It zooms right up onto the beach and – just stops. No crash, no yelling, no damage. What the heck? We ask someone standing near us, “What is that?” They smile and tell us, “That’s a Dory fishing boat. That’s how they land. They don’t dock. They also just launch from the beach.”

Dory Boat landing on the beach, Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Dory Boat landing on the beach. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

We are thrilled and fascinated. Standing there at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, Oregon, we found out more about this unusual type of basically flat-bottomed fishing boat. While there are different types of dory boats, the beach dory is only used in a few spots around the country where the fishermen launch and land from the beach. According to the Pacific City Dorymen,“There is no other harbor, port, or fishing fleet anywhere in the world exactly like this. It is truly unique how we evolved.”

Traditional Dory Boat in the parade at Dory Days, Pacific City, Oregon

Traditional Dory Boat in the parade at Dory Days. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Pacific City celebrates this traditional way of fishing by holding “Dory Days” in July. We decided we need to check that out. Fast forward to July 2016. We pulled into Pacific City on a slightly overcast day, which quickly changed to downright warm. We managed to find a parking place pretty easily, and walked back over the little bridge over the canal to the “four-way stop” as everyone seems to refer to it. There we saw several tents with vendors selling their enticing wares. After checking them out, we went back to the bridge and found ourselves a nice little perch where we could sit and watch the parade. We were worried that since we had forgot to bring chairs that we would be standing the whole time but no worries with the bridge to sit on.

Dory Days, Pacific City, Oregon

David and his mom, Sue, are ready for the parade to start from our great perch on the bridge.

Who doesn’t love a small town parade? Everyone hollering out to the people they know on the floats, lots of candy being thrown. Since it’s the coast, David was thrilled to find they were throwing salt water taffy, one of his favorites. He ignored all the other candy but swooped in on the taffy like a seagull.

Creative jelly fish! Dory Days, Pacific City, Oregon

Creative jelly fish! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Some of the usual features, like a few politicians, were in attendance. But what was most unique in this parade was the Dory boats. Some were fairly plain, but many were decorated very creatively and were quite entertaining. For such a small town, it was a nice parade lasting about 45 minutes.

Dory Days Parade, Pacific City, Oregon

This patriotic Dory boat shows the simplicity of the design. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

As soon as the parade was over we made a beeline for the car. We knew we wanted to hurry down to Cape Kiwanda before the rest of the crowd got there. Again, we quickly found a parking spot right by Pelican Pub and Brewery, a place we have been wanting to try. Luckily we got there when we did because we got in right away and later saw quite the crowd waiting.

The Pelican Pub & Brewery is a popular spot at Cape Kiwanda. Pacific City, Oregon

The Pelican Pub & Brewery is a popular spot at Cape Kiwanda. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

Delicious meal at Pelican Pub & Brewery! Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Delicious meal at Pelican Pub & Brewery! (Photo credit: David Keaton)

After our very tasty meal, we went on out to the beach to watch the Dory boats coming in. We didn’t have to wait long before one came ripping in. I was a little nervous we were in its path, not sure how far they come up on the beach.

Dory boats are loaded up right from the beach after a happy and successful fishing trip. Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon

Dory boats are loaded up right from the beach after a happy and successful fishing trip. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

The customers who were on the boat and had been fishing looked happy and excited. Exactly what you want to see. We think we need to come back again and fish next time!

Vendor at Dory Days, Pacific City, Oregon

A variety of vendors set up at Dory Days. This gentleman showed how to flintknap, shaping obsidian into knife blades. (Photo credit: David Keaton)

There were a few other activities that were offered as part of Dory Days, such as the Fish Fry and the Oregon Heritage Traditional Dedication Ceremony. Dory Days was a very fun, small town event that we highly recommend attending. And you have to watch the boats landing!

Categories: Festivals, Fishing, Oregon, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Apples and History – Onalaska, Washington

Everything Apple, Onalaska Apple Harvest Festival, Onalaska, WA

Everything Apple

We love our small town celebrations, and this year we were finally able to hit the Apple Harvest Festival in Onalaska, Washington. Ironically, we always seem to stumble in on extra special celebrations, and this was one of those. Onalaska was celebrating 100 years as a town!

We arrived too late for the parade but in plenty of time for many other activities. There was a community dinner happening in the school gym. $12 for steak or chicken, and it looked like there were plenty of takers.

David was amazed at the size of this "Snake Gourd"! Apple Harvest Festival, Onalaska, WA

David was amazed at the size of this “Snake Gourd”!

Vendor booths lined Carlisle Avenue, the main road in front of the schools. Live music was happening on stage (excellent performers, by the way!) Of course, you know there had to be a booth with all things apple! And of course, that’s where we spent most of our money! Apple butters, apple pies, apple bars, and on and on. This booth was all donation based and the money is going to an orphanage in Mexico.

Redneck Beer Garden, Apple Harvest Festival, Onalaska, WA

Redneck Beer Garden

On down the road was the “food court” and wine and beer tasting. One local “entrepreneur” family set up their own “Redneck Beer Garden.”

Food Court, Apple Harvest Festival, Onalaska, WA

Food Court

Then David and I saw a simple little sign that said, “Onalaska History Room” and had to check it out. And this is where we struck gold!

Carlisle House, Onalaska WA

Carlisle House, Onalaska WA

Walking up the short driveway we were delighted to see a beautiful old house. It turned out to be the “Carlisle House” built in 1915. As we entered the front room which took up the whole front of the house, there was a poster board with old photos on it and around the table. Several older Onalaska citizens were sharing their memories of the town. We started talking to them and they had amazing memories!

Carlisle House when built in 1915, Onalaska WA

Carlisle House when built in 1915

Onalaska was once a company town. The Carlisle family had the lumber mill in town and almost everyone worked there. Kids even worked there in the summer, but when school started, Mr. Carlisle insisted they all get back in school. There was even company “money”. If you took a draw on the 15th of the month, you received company money and could only spend it in the company store, but if you waited until the end of the month you received a check.

Onalaska Lumber Co. Coin

Onalaska Lumber Co. Coin

Other Side of Onalaska Lumber Co. Coin, Onalaska WA

Other Side of Onalaska Lumber Co. Coin

We were treated to stories of old businesses that used to be in Onalaska. One establishment was a pool hall, which also had its own “money” to use within the business.

Pool Hall Coin, Onalaska WA

Pool Hall Coin

It sounded like Onalaska really had everything a person could need and there was little reason to go elsewhere. One gentleman did tell us though, of memories of going into Chehalis once a month. They would leave very early on a Saturday morning, get to Chehalis and get what they needed, then returning home they would have to camp at “Forest” before heading home the next day. (We’re assuming Forest is now somewhere around Napavine as there is a “Forest-Napavine” Road.)

So what happened to the big mill and this company town? Apparently there was a strike many, many years ago and when it was over the company was told they would have to pay back wages. Rather than do that they sold everything and left the area. But the small town persisted and is still known as one of the best towns in the area to raise a family. When we hear that a kid was raised in Onalaska, we know that they are down-to-earth with a good work ethic.

We thoroughly enjoyed the celebration of apples and our impromptu history lesson! Have you ever stumbled onto something unexpected like this at a fair?

Categories: Festivals, Food, Wine, Cider, Historical, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Honoring Our Troops: Spokane Armed Forces Torchlight Parade

1-IMG_4410Recently we were honored to be in Spokane, Washington during their Lilac Festival. As part of the festival, they hold an amazing parade which is held on Armed Forces Day. We were told it is one of the largest parades honoring our military men and women in the entire United States. I can believe it.

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It was a torchlight parade so it began at 7:45pm and had over 200 entries and went for over two hours. Beautifully decorated floats, lit up for the evening, many high school marching bands, and other fun entries started the parade.

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The Red Hot Mamas cracked us up, parading with walkers and using them as dance props.

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The various military entries were the real focus of the parade however. Dispersed throughout the parade, they received much-deserved standing ovations as they passed by. Blind service members rode in a truck as well as on interesting tandem bicycles. Some of the bicycles were the typical tandem but others were two bikes connected side-by-side.

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One impressive and fun group to watch was the Survival School Personnel from Fairchild AFB. They were in fatigues, marching along as expected. Then when they stopped at the corner, they would say something in cadence then suddenly all break off and run to the audience, shaking as many hands as they could. Then they would group back together and march to the next corner. Very cool to watch.

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The most poignant part for us though, was when a group of people walked down the street holding banners. It turns out each banner was for a fallen service member and it was called the Fallen Heroes Banner Project which is presented by the Washington State Gold Star Families (families of service men and women killed in action.) It really brought home the sacrifices that have been made for our freedoms.

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We were pleased and honored to be a part of this amazing tribute to our armed forces. Typically they are a small part of a larger parade so to have them be the complete focus and recognition of this entire parade was very powerful. The energy of the audience and their sincere appreciation for these heroes was truly heartwarming.

The 2015 Lilac Festival will be May 11-17, with the parade held on Saturday, May 16. If you want to be part of one of the largest events honoring our military, you will simply not want to miss it. Save the date.

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We at Northwest Revealed also want to express our gratitude and thanks to all those who are serving, have served or gave their lives for our freedoms. We are eternally grateful.

Categories: Festivals, Keatons Out and About, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Where Dinosaurs Roam” – Granger, Washington

1-IMG_2924“Where Dinosaurs Roam” is the theme for the small central Washington town of Granger. Why? Because every town needs a theme and because a mastodon tusks and teeth were found there in 1958.

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So in 1994, the first dinosaur was built out of steel, wire mesh and cement. Now there are around 30 dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes scattered throughout the town.

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It’s fun to drive around trying to spot them all. Some seem to just be placed with no purpose, others are in parks or near the library.

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The first Saturday of June is “Dino-N-A-Day” held at the Hisey Dinosaur Park and visitors are encouraged to help restore the dinosaurs.  There is also a man-made pond with a volcano shaped water fountain in it, and the restrooms are shaped like a volcano.

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When you see the dinosaurs, you can tell that they are in need of constant upkeep but they are still a joy to see. Kids will love trying to find them all and climb around on them and get their pictures taken being “eaten” by them.

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My “big kid” getting eaten…

So next time you are driving south of Yakima, Washington on Interstate 82, take exit 58 and take a chance to look around for the dinosaurs. You could be traveling where the real dinosaurs did millions of years ago!

Categories: Festivals, Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction, Washington | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lilacs, Sweet Lilacs: Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens, Woodland, Washington

1-IMG_3564Who doesn’t love the sweet smell of lilacs! I love it when they bloom every year, I’ll breathe them I as deeply as possible knowing the season to enjoy that fragrance is so short.

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Luckily living in western Washington, there is a place where we can go to enjoy a nice variety of colorful and fragrant lilacs. Just down I-5 off exit 21 in the small town of Woodland is the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens. While the grounds are open year round, the gift shop and historical house are only open during Lilac Days – a short span of the middle of April through Mother’s Day. That is also the only time lilac plants are for sale.

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It’s not a large place, don’t expect the Butchart Gardens. The area is four acres in size. Once through the gate, you realize that the grounds are not just composed of lilacs. Walking on around the gardens we saw several varieties and colors of lilacs and other plants. Almost every plant has a sign with the name of the plant, which was very useful to learn about the plants and to keep in mind for later.

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“Miss Canada”

Strolling through the grounds at times felt like a maze because we would see so many plants, “Oh, let’s go look at that one! Oh, look how do we get over to that one?” We took pictures of both plants and their signs so that we would know which ones we liked best. Then we went to the selling area. Ooohh, decisions, decisions. But then what helped make the decision was the size of the bigger plants. We couldn’t figure out how to get them home in our little CR-V without damaging them. Then we saw the smaller plants and besides fitting in the space in the car, they were of course, much less expensive so I could get several varieties. Popular ones sold out fast and they didn’t have everything in stock but told us about a nearby nursery that should have some items.

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There is also a gift store that has all things lilac – aprons, note cards, pens, lotions – you get the idea.

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Gift Shop

After a quick trip to the car with our goodies, we went back in to look at the house. Historical houses have such stories to tell. This one was built by Hulda’s parents in 1889 and Hulda and her husband moved in in 1903. She lived there until her death in 1960. The house and grounds eventually went into disrepair, at risk of being demolished until a local garden club stepped in, and the Hulda Klager Lilac Society was formed to take it over. The group has been maintaining the house and gardens ever since.

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Hulda Klager’s Home

You have one week left to visit and enjoy the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens this year – they’ll be closing next weekend after Mother’s Day. If you don’t get the chance to make it this year, be sure to put it on your calendar for next year. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to see so many vibrant colors and sweet fragrances of lilacs, knowing they are the legacy of a woman who made them her life’s work to share with all of us.

Getting there: Take Exit 21 off I-5 at Woodland, Washington and follow the signs. They’ll lead you right to it.

Categories: Festivals, Historical, Outdoors, Parks, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lions and Tigers and Snow, Oh My! – White Pass Winter Carnival

ozLions and tigers and snow, oh my! OK, that’s not exactly how it goes, but when you combine 75 years of the Wizard of Oz with the White Pass Winter Carnival, that’s what you get.

This past weekend, March 1 and 2, the White Pass Ski Resort held their 28th annual Winter Carnival and decided to use a Wizard of Oz theme. This resulted in a fun and imaginative display of snow/ice artwork and great costumes.

Dorothy’s house was dropped on the Wicked Witch of the West.

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Dorothy’s House on the Wicked Witch of the West

The Snow Castle (representing the Emerald City) incorporated the characters into the set – you can see the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Toto.

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Oz Characters on the Snow Castle

You could watch the sculptor making creations with his chainsaw. A snow sculpture competition began the day, which explained why we saw people walking around with things like a snow owl and a snow dog.

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Snow Sculptor

The Snow Castle is also a giant slide – for free! Josh spent about four hours sliding down that thing over and over.

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Snow Castle/Slide (photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Since some of us older folks aren’t oblivious to the cold like Josh is, we went into the lodge to imbibe in some “anti-freeze”. While there we were entertained by “The Lollipop Guild” singing and dancing. They were quite a hit!

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Lollipop Guild (photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

Other outside activities include more carnival games for the kids and vendors were set up to display and demonstrate their new snow-related products. There was a Ski Patrol Poker Run, a ski competition for kids, an obstacle course, and face painting.

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Kid’s Carnival Games

Evening events include a fireworks display and parade, which unfortunately we didn’t get to see because we had to leave before they started. But we hear they were wonderful.

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A good time was had by all! (photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

The White Pass Winter Carnival is very quaint and unique to see. I expected it to be much larger and completely jam-packed with people but it wasn’t. Since it was my first time going to it I don’t know if it was typical attendance or not. But I didn’t find it more packed than any other days when we’ve been there so I was pleasantly surprised because I was dreading terrible parking conditions and a huge crowd. But it was a lot of fun, not too big, and a hit with the entire family. We’ll definitely go back next year and hopefully take the grandsons!

For more information about White Pass Ski Resort go to http://www.skiwhitepass.com

Categories: Festivals, Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Skiing, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Santa, Santa, Everywhere! Santarchy 2013!

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Wall to Wall Santas

Santa in a regular Santa suit. Santa in a “suggestive” Santa suit. Santa playing video games. Reindeer, elves, presents, lots of red and green. Wall to wall. What was it? Seattle Santarchy 2013!

Every year we head up to Seattle on the weekend before Christmas. We have finished all of our shopping and go just to go downtown and “get into the thick of it” as David says. The last couple of years we have noticed a lot of people in Santa suits running all over the place. This year we took the opportunity to stop and talk to some of these very friendly people to find out what they were doing. It turns out that they are also there that same weekend every year for the now annual “Santarchy” also known as “Santacon” in other cities. It’s basically a big pub crawl in costume.

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Santa Sue and Buddy the Elf

They all start by meeting at noon in Pioneer Square where they receive a map and a schedule. It tells them that they should tentatively end up on Capitol Hill around midnight and just continue to party in that area.

Along the way they stop for a group picture at the Harbor Steps, have a Santa Fashion Show, and do caroling in Westlake Park around 6pm. They hit up several restaurants and bars all along the way. We ran into them at Gameworks where we stopped for dinner and to let Josh play some games. Everyone we met was surprisingly not very drunk.

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Santa and his reindeer games – at Gameworks

The schedule lists some common sense, basic manners and rules for the Santas to follow: Don’t mess with children, the police, bar or store security or “working” Santas. And of course, don’t drink and drive.

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Suave Santa

Granted where there is a lot of drinking and people, you might want to limit children’s exposure to some of it. Some of the costumes were pretty wild and there will always be someone who goes overboard and gets in trouble. But overall we found it to be just a fun event that we enjoyed without even having to participate. Everyone we talked to was friendly, willing to let us take their pictures, and answer our questions.

This gentleman said he has attended other Santacons where there were a lot more Santas and they were a lot more drunk. He told us about an event in Reno with 5000 Santas under the Reno arch and most were very inebriated.

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Nancy and God’s Gift to Women (aka Eddie Larison)

I have to say this costume was my favorite – God’s Gift to Women. He really was quite charming. And ladies, in case you’re wondering…God’s Gift to Women works at Microsoft!

There are websites set up for the event so you can find out more about it and maybe bookmark them so you can attend next year. One is http://santacon.info/Seattle-WA/ and of course there’s a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1413448102205619/.

Categories: Festivals, Food, Wine, Cider, Keatons Out and About, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Old-Fashioned Fun: The Lighted Tractor Parade – Centralia, WA

1-IMG_3163Four years ago, the Centralia Downtown Association, a non-profit group determined to revitalize the downtown area, decided to create something that would be a new fun family tradition while honoring the history of the area. Centralia, Washington has a history that includes farming, trains and friendly people.

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This year was the 4th Annual Lighted Tractor Parade and from all accounts is proving to be a huge success. The night was chilly but dry. Trying to find parking near the route was like trying to get around an obstacle course. Cars were everywhere. When we finally found a spot, we started walking towards downtown and could hear cheering and yelling from blocks away. The main street (Tower St.) was already warmly lit with white Christmas lights crossing the street, but then we could see multiple-colored lights moving towards us.

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People were lined up along with street, children in front where they could see the best. All kinds of vehicles were lined up down the street. Yes, many tractors but there were also old trucks, military vehicles, floats, and even bicycles. So many smiling, waving people, both on the floats and on the street. I don’t know that I have ever heard so many people cheering and yelling out to participants in any other parade I’ve been to. For some reason a nighttime parade has a very different feel to it. The sparkling lights give a different atmosphere to the celebration. Of course the requisite candy was tossed to the excited children!

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Winner of the Judge’s Choice Award

There were over 50 entries in the parade, along with some business floats. According to Colleen Stewart of the Centralia Downtown Association, the only political entries allowed are simply politicians riding in a float, no vehicles advertising the particular politician.

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Military Representation

One of the best things about a small town is knowing so many people, and it really adds to the fun of the event when you recognize friends participating in the parade.

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Megan Zigler from “The Locksmith Shoppe”

After the parade many people stepped into one of the several delicious-smelling restaurants located in the downtown area. We popped into O’Blarney’s (which also happened to be a major sponsor of the parade) and had a hearty meal and continued to talk about how much we enjoyed the parade.

This event will certainly go on our calendar for next year, and should be even more spectacular as it will be the 5th annual event. If you want to experience some free old-fashioned fun with lots of colorful lights and friendly people, come to downtown Centralia on December 13, 2014!

For more information on the Centralia Downtown Association check out their website at DowntownCentralia.org.

Categories: Festivals, Historical, Keatons Out and About, People, Washington | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Upcoming Santa Snow Trains

Snow, trains, Santa and Christmas time – who doesn’t love the combination? Luckily here in the northwest there are several snow trains to take advantage of in the coming weeks.

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Alki Tours Snow Train to Leavenworth Tree Lighting Festival

www.alkitours.com

Musicians, magicians, breakfast and dinner on this trip to and from the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth.

Prices are $139 for children and $149 for adults.

  • Saturdays, December 7, 14 & 21

 

Chehalis-Centralia Railroad and Museum Chehalis, Washington

http://steamtrainride.com/holiday_trains/

Santa Steam Train (30 minutes)

Visit with Santa and have your picture taken

Price is $10 (under 2 free)

  • Weekends, December 7 through December 15

Polar Express Train (hour and a half)

Santa, cookies, hot chocolate and a reading of the book Polar Express

Price is $20 for children, $30 for adults

  • Fridays through Sundays, November 29 – Sunday, December 22

 

Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Yacolt, Washington Christmas Tree Special Train

http://www.bycx.com/schedule

Prices range from $8-$11 for children ages 2-4, $10-$13 for children ages 5-12 an $15-$18 for adults.

  • Weekends, December 1 through December 22

 

Lake Whatcom Railway Wickersham, Washington Santa Train

http://www.lakewhatcomrailway.com/

Prices are $12.50 for children, $25 for adults

  • Saturdays, December 7, 14, & 21

 

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad Elbe, Washington Santa Express Train

http://www.mrsr.com/index.html

Visit Santa and drink hot chocolate while riding along the foothills of Mt. Rainier!

Prices are $22 for children ages 2-12, and $27 for adults.

  • Fridays through Sundays, December 6 – December 22

 

Northern Pacific Railway Museum Toppenish, Washington Toy Train Christmas with Santa

http://www.nprymuseum.org/toytrainchristmas.htm

A unique experience that involves playing with lots of toy trains! A short train ride on a caboose is included.

Prices are $4 for children and $6 for adult.

  • Weekends, November 30 –  December 22

 

Northwest Railroad Museum Snoqualmie, Washington Santa Train

http://www.trainmuseum.org/index.php/visit-us/santa-train

A beautiful old train depot and museum, Santa, and cocoa!

Prices are $20 for everyone.

  • Weekends, November 30 through  December 21

 

OREGON

Oregon Mount Hood Railroad Hood River, Oregon Polar Express Train Saturday

https://www.mthoodrr.com/buy-polar-tickets.html

Caroling, hot chocolate, Santa, and a special treat!

Prices range from $18-$38 for children and $26 to $46 for adults.

  • November 9  – December 29

 

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad Garibaldi, Oregon Candy Cane Express Train

http://www.ocsr.net/candycane.html

Ride along the Pacific Ocean with Santa! Cookies, candy, and hot chocolate!

Prices are $15 for ages 3-10 and $20 for adults.

  • December 7 – December 15

 

Sumpter Valley Railroad McEwen & Sumpter, Oregon Christmas Train

http://www.sumptervalleyrailroad.org/special-events.html

Ride a steam-powered train back in time!

  • December 7 – 15

 

IDAHO

Idaho Thunder Mountain Line Horseshoe Bend, Idaho Santa Express Train

http://www.thundermountainline.com

Christmas music, coloring books, pictures with Santa, Santa’s Magic Forest, candy canes, and milk! Prices range from $20-$30 for children and $30-$40 for adults.

  • Fridays through Sundays, November 22 – December 22

 

MONTANA

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Lewistown, Montana North Pole Adventure Train

http://www.montanadinnertrain.com/schedule.html

Prices are $25 per person

  • Weekends, November 30 through December 21.
Categories: Festivals, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Festival of Blueberries – Mossyrock, WA

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Antioxidant-rich Blueberries

They’re small, round, blue, sweet, and full of antioxidants. What are they? Blueberries. And where there is food, there is tribute and celebration. Hence, the Mossyrock Blueberry Festival in Mossyrock, Washington, held each year on the second weekend in August. This year the fair ran August 2-4.

The town of Mossyrock is located about 20 miles east of I-5 on Hwy. 12 and boasts just over 750 residents. The land around Mossyrock is extremely fertile. Thousands of years of flooding from the local rivers replenished the land with nutrients Multiple explosions from Mt. St. Helens also provided essential minerals to aid in the growth of plants. Blueberries grow very well in the area and provide agricultural jobs for local residents so they are worthy of celebration.

The Mossyrock Blueberry Festival starts on Friday at noon with vendors and continues into the evening with entertainment, along with a “Taco and Talent Night.”

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Blueberry Pancake Breakfast

We attended on Saturday, which began with a hearty and delicious Blueberry Pancake Breakfast provided by the youth group from the Assembly of God Church. The cost was simply a donation and every penny was worth it. The kids who served the breakfast were very nice and friendly, they even came through the line (yes, there was quite a line) and offered drinks while we were waiting. The breakfast also included sausage, coffee and orange juice.

It was also a lot of fun to sit at the large round tables with strangers and start talking to them and finding out why they were there. One couple was from the Seattle area and was camping a few miles away and heard about the breakfast. A couple of older gentlemen had a car entered in the car show and are very involved in their local grange so we talked quite awhile about that topic.

IMG_2667Then we headed off to the car show. It was quite small in comparison to some, but we still saw many styles and colors that we “ooohed” and “ahhed” over. One gentleman had actually come all the way up from Arizona to show his beautiful old pickup truck and custom made tear-drop trailer. I tried telling David we should just sell our RV and get that whole setup but he didn’t really go for it.

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Josh is hoping to find gold!

Dragging Josh away from the cars was painful but we managed to head over to the vendor booth area. There they had flea-market type of booths, commercial booths, farmer’s booths, and informational booths. One of our favorites was the booth where you could learn to pan for gold and Josh had to try it out.

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Sophia and Josh are going for the candy!

We finished looking at everything there just before noon, in time to head out to the street for the parade. So there we are, about 45 minutes from home, in a little bitty town, and we see four people that we knew! We stood by a friend, Penny, and her daughter, Sophia, and Josh convinced Sophia to get out by the road and get her share of the candy that was being tossed.

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Kids LOVED the cat walking the dog.

Little parades seem to be the most generous when it comes to giving out candy. It was a great little parade that lasted about ½ hour. I don’t think there is anything more fun than a small-town parade where so many people know each other and the parade participants are shouting out recognition to the spectators and they’re shouting back.

The day continued with a Blueberry Pie Eating contest, treasure hunts with metal detectors, and a dog show and races. The evening concluded with more entertainment.

Sunday events included another pancake breakfast, this time provided by the Mossyrock Fire District. There was more entertainment and the vendor booths, and then everything wrapped up at noon.

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Blueberry separating machine.

So, since the whole point of this festival was blueberries – did we buy some? You bet! They were available at some of the booths but we decided to hit a local farm to buy. We were glad we did because we bought them right in their barn and while there we were able to watch their little separator in action. It was not big or fancy or high tech, but I just get a kick out of watching machinery like that in action.

We immediately put those little oxidant-containing nuggets to use and included them in a fruit salad for dinner, had them on vanilla ice cream for dessert, then had blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I’d say we did a pretty good job of doing our part in celebrating nature’s bounty!

So next year, put it on your calendar for August 1-3, 2014 and enjoy this simple small-town celebration – and blueberries!

Categories: Festivals, Food, Wine, Cider, Outdoors, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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