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: , , , , | 4 Comments

“YAY! You’re Halfway There!” The STP Bicycle Classic Stops in Centralia

Welcome to Centralia, Halfway Point for the STP!

Welcome to Centralia, Halfway Point for the STP!

Every year during the second weekend in July is the annual STP (Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic). Ten thousand riders start their trip in Seattle on Saturday morning. Some ride clear to Portland in one day, but most stop about halfway and finish the trip on Sunday.

Welcome to Centralia College, STP Riders!

Welcome to Centralia College, STP Riders!

Centralia is the halfway point. During this weekend the population and number of bicycles on the road explodes. For years I have always avoided leaving the house on this weekend in order to avoid the chaos, because years ago when I went to town it was very real chaos. It was stressful to drive through town and worry about grazing a rider.

STP Riders in Centralia

STP Riders in Centralia

But this year I decided to check it out. I went to Centralia College (where David and I work) about 10:30, not expecting much to be happening yet. Boy, was I wrong! Riders were coming in steadily and had been for a couple of hours. The college puts a lot of effort into welcoming the riders and providing all sorts of resources for them, encouraging them to camp on the grounds, eat, get a massage, and enjoy the beer garden. It has the energy and atmosphere of a fair!

STP One-Day Riders in Centralia

STP One-Day Riders in Centralia

Starting on the east end of campus was a blow-up arch, welcoming riders coming onto campus with people cheering them on and congratulating them on making it half way. As they proceed west down the “Aadland Esplanade” more people are cheering them, directing them to service, water, food, and handing out ice cream.

Riders weren't the only ones enjoying the ice cream being handed out

Riders weren’t the only ones enjoying the ice cream being handed out

There is a designated area for riders completing in one day. Food and port-a-potties are available for them. The rest of the site has vendors such as REI, bicycle parts folks, water and repair stations. There is a bicycle corral for riders to store their bikes in safety. This corral is overseen by the Centralia Police reserves.

Bike Corral at STP

Bike Corral at STP

The beer garden opened at 11:00 but I didn’t see anyone using it at that time. I assumed it would be much busier later in the evening. (Yes, it was – they apparently went through 20 kegs!)

Centralia College looks like a campground during STP

Centralia College looks like a campground during STP

One special booth that I had to visit was a dedication to a co-worker and friend, Jeanette Speigelberg,. She was the manager of the Children’s Lab School (day care) on campus. In June of this year, she passed away unexpectedly while training for the STP. Her friends and staff wanted to honor her by having a booth at the event. The college earns money for scholarships by hosting riders on campus, and Jeanette’s friends have started a scholarship in her name.

Tribute to Jeanette Spiegelberg

Tribute to Jeanette Spiegelberg

As I left campus, I intended to skirt the main roads in order to avoid the chaos I remembered from years ago. However, much has changed and I was very impressed! The road heading over the viaduct and leading south of town towards Chehalis is a two-lane one-way street. Orange cones blocked off the entire right-hand lane almost all the way into Chehalis. Instead of getting away from the riders, I decided to follow along in the other lane, knowing I wouldn’t have to worry about driving close to the riders. I finally turned off to head home, while the riders continued on south.

All ages and abilities can do the STP

All ages and abilities can do the STP

I see now why everyone gets so excited about the STP. It was the same energy and atmosphere as graduation day. In a sense, I imagine that it is like graduation day for those that have trained for so many months to prepare for this day – and they made it!

Little girl sprays STP riders to cool them off

Little girl sprays STP riders to cool them off

If you would like to be involved in the STP but don’t want to actually ride it, come on down to Centralia College next July and show your support by cheering on and welcoming the riders! Everyone really can be involved!

Spectators Needed! Enjoy the STP!

Spectators Needed! Enjoy the STP!

My friend and fellow Centralia College employee, Brenda, was in charge of making sure the Port-a-Potties stay clean and emptied. An important job with so many!

My friend and fellow Centralia College employee, Brenda, was in charge of making sure the Port-a-Potties stay clean and emptied. An important job with so many!


Categories: Bicycle Trail, Outdoors, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.


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.


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.


“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.


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


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.


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.

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Santa, Santa, Everywhere! Santarchy 2013!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 and of course there’s a Facebook page at

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.


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.

1-IMG_3169-001 1-IMG_31371-1-IMG_3177-001

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!


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.


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.


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

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

The Wobbly War (Also Known as The Centralia Massacre)


November 11, 1919. When I first moved to the Centralia, Washington area in 1985 I heard whisperings of something that happened on this date. But details were sparse. I was told people still didn’t talk about it and that I shouldn’t ask about it. There were still local citizens who were very bitter and angry over what happened that day.

Finally, as time wore on, people wanted both sides of the story told:

On November 11, 1919 an Armistice Day parade was held in Centralia. Marching in the parade were many WWI veterans and members of the American Legion and they didn’t particularly like the “Wobblies” as they were called. These were members of a union called the Industrial Workers of the World and they were demonized quite severely in many areas of society, as they were seen as leading America toward a communist state. Across the country they had experienced their meeting halls and members attacked.

Elmer Smith, the local lawyer for the Wobblies, told them they had the right to defend their property. They took it to mean that they could be fully armed and ready for conflict so they placed several of their men around town in strategic areas.

What happened next is still unclear and controversial. Some say the Wobblies fired the first shot killing the first man. Others say the Legionnaires in the parade rushed the hall. Shots were fired killing three Legionnaires and wounding three. Wobblies were rounded up, arrested and taken to jail. Westley Everest was identified as the man who fired the first shot. He was captured by a vigilante mob and taken to the town jail where he was nearly hanged before the parade marshall talked them out of it.

Later that day, a large group of men gathered and were sworn in as deputies to round up anyone even suspected of being an IWW member. As they went around town arresting men, someone cut the lights. Seizing the opportunity, vigilantes broke into the jail and dragged Everest out of the jail. He got loose and headed towards the Chehalis River but couldn’t cross it because it was flowing too swiftly. The vigilantes caught up to him and dragged him to the bridge over the Chehalis River and hanged him, where his body stayed until the next day.

The vigilantes intended to kidnap other men out of the jail but luckily were talked out of it long enough for the National Guard to arrive and restore order in the town. In the end, eight men were arrested and charged, later being freed. But the bitter feelings remained for decades in this little town where everyone knows everyone else and the facts were debated on both sides.

A statue was later erected in Washington Park to the Legionnaires who died that day. Then in 1999 a group commissioned artist/activist Mike Alewitz to paint a mural reflecting the Wobbly side of the story. It is located in the old Elks lodge, now an antique store and restaurant, right across the street from the park. The mural is called “The Resurrection of Westley Everest.” Its main feature is a man portrayed to be Everest with his arms raised. However, here are a lot of other symbols present in the mural which are not obvious. It took a lot of research to finally find one article that told what the symbols mean. In an article by Mary L. Stough, Librarian, she says:

“Everest is the focal figure of the mural. He is drawn symbolically with his arms raised triumphantly, dressed half worker in overalls and half veteran in a World War I uniform. Black cats are shown as the Wobbly symbol of defiance; a pig representing the profiteers of war is leaning on bags of gold. Angels on the top of the mural are hanging from a long saw-the “misery whip” of the loggers-and below that is a pie denoting “pie in the sky,” the happiness that workers could look forward to when they died.

In the far left of the mural stands a man in dark glasses holding a labor newspaper, the Industrial Worker. The man is Tom Lassiter, a partially blind Wobbly sympathizer who sold labor papers at his newsstand. After he was threatened, kidnapped and his papers were destroyed, Lassiter was warned never to set foot in Centralia again.

Across the bottom of the picture flames lick up, consuming workers who are shown as prisoners. As grim as this scene is, the artist is not without a sense of humor. A small volcano emitting a plume of smoke and sporting a pair of glasses was Alewitz’s thank-you to the mural committee’s co-chair, Helen Lee, director of the Evergreen State College Labor Center. He called it Mount Helen Lee!”

Times have changed and as memories fade and older citizens pass on, the pain and bitterness are healing. The story is still rarely talked about, but probably more because it is fading into town memory. And that’s OK, because sometimes it’s just time to move on while learning from a shameful history that helped shaped the town to be the quaint little place that it is today.

Categories: Historical, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Centralia, Washington Founded by – George Washington?

1-George Washington

George Washington, Founder of Centralia, Washington

Did you know that the small town of Centralia, Washington was founded by George Washington? No, not that George Washington, but the son of a slave.

Born in Virginia in 1817 to an African-American father and white mother, George was taken in by a couple named Cochran after his father was sold and his mother gave him up. In 1850 they all moved out to Oregon, then north in 1852 to what would later become Washington. However, in 1852, blacks could not own land so Washington had the Cochran’s file a claim for 640 acres (the size of property a person could get under the Donation Land Claim Act). Later, when Washington became a territory and did not bar black’s from owning land, the Cochran’s turned Washington’s land over to him.

George met and married Mary, who was also African-American and white. In 1875 they filed a plat to create the town of “Centerville” when they realized that the railroad would be coming right through the area. But they did so much more than just that. They donated land for a church and a cemetery. They enabled the town to grow, thanks to the Washington’s generosity in selling parcels of land for reasonable prices, and even on payments when necessary. Later on, during financial hard times, they helped set up resources to provide for needy townspeople and buying back land to keep it from foreclosure.

The easiest place to see the continued legacy of George and Mary’s generous donations is the square block surrounded by Pearl, Centralia College Boulevard, Main, and Silver Streets. This is the land they donated for a town square. It is now known as George Washington Park and holds the Carnegie Library, along with a gazebo, and a war memorial. The townspeople enjoy summer nights in the park, listening to “Music in the Park” performed under the shade of several huge trees. This is also where you’ll see the town Christmas Tree lighting up the night all during December.

The town was renamed to Centralia in 1883 because people thought the name was too easy to confuse with many other towns named Centerville.

George Washington died on August 26, 1905. This beloved man had one of the largest funerals ever held in the town and he is now buried in Washington Lawn Cemetery, the cemetery that he provided land for. The large mural of him is painted on the side of the Key Bank building. Key Bank’s address is 201 W. Main Street but the mural is on the side facing Pearl Street. Stop by and take a look at the picture of George along with his dog in front of the door to his house. Then walk on across Main Street to George Washington Park and just stand there for a minute, thinking about how it must have been to be there over 135 years ago planning to begin an entire town. The guts and vision that it took were nothing short of amazing.

Nice job, George, nice job indeed. Thank you.

Categories: Historical, Outdoors, Parks, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Open to the Unexpected: Adventures in Paragliding


Ready to go! Josh and Doug, the instructor

“Oh, my goddddd!” Josh yelled as he was suddenly lifted into the air and was high in the sky in a matter of seconds. David and I both started laughing. We knew there would be screaming involved in this little adventure.

Pulling into our camping spot at Entiat City Park, in Entiat, Washington, a beautiful small park right on the lake, we were surprised to see right in front of us on the lawn, a man hooked by a whole lot of strings to a long, narrow parachute-type of thing. Suddenly, he was running and then yanked into the air. We realized he was attached to a boat that had just taken off. It was amazing! After he had been in the air awhile, he detached from the boat and was flying way up high all by himself. We could have just watched, as many campers were doing, but decided we needed to go talk to someone about this! We approached a young woman, her name was Kari and she was visiting from Australia. I asked if this was parasailing and she explained it is paragliding. Normally they jump off of perfectly good mountains, and a bunch of them had just participated in a tournament at Lake Chelan, but they were here at Lake Entiat to take lessons on what to do when something goes wrong in the air.

We talked for a few minutes and Josh was intensely interested, then Kari asked him, “Do you want to do a tandem ride? Doug is an instructor and he might do a ride with you.” Josh was incredulous. “Really?!” he asked, and she said, “Sure, let’s go ask.” So she took us over and introduced us to Doug Shoop, owner of Aerial Paragliding in Cashmere, Washington, and he said he could take Josh up and told us the cost. Josh looked at me with pleading eyes, “Please, Mom, can I?” We went to the bank to get the money while Josh waited and talked to the other fliers, trying to learn what he could.

When the time came, Doug had us sign all the usual disclosures, then proceeded to get Josh’s gear on him and explain what they would be doing. Josh started taking deep breaths and getting very serious and we realized he was getting nervous.

The two of them went out onto the grass where they would be taking off and got ready to go. Then when the boat driver came into the take-off area, he told them to hold it, they needed to fix a small problem. Turns out the rope had gotten a loop in it and they needed to fix it, and it would take awhile. So Josh had to take off all his gear, and we spent about the next hour waiting, and I could tell Josh was getting more and more nervous. But when it came time to try again, he still did it. I got the camera ready and we watched him take off. Just as he went up into to air, we heard him exclaim, “Oh, my goddddd!” and David and I both started laughing.

We watched him go very high up and after about 10 minutes they came back to land. Josh immediately sat down on the ground, his legs were so wobbly he couldn’t even run to land properly. I asked him if he liked it and he looked almost sick as he said, “I didn’t really like it.” Again, we laughed.

We did tell him how proud we were of him for doing it even, though he was afraid, and as the days went by and he had time to think about and process it, he was able to recall the parts he did like. He could see for miles and saw the many orchards in the area, a sandbar where the river enters the lake, and the old roads from the now-flooded town running under the lake.

We also got to meet a lot of nice people who were more than happy to share their love of the sport – all because Josh wasn’t too shy to walk up to strangers and find out what was going on. So when you are on vacation always be open to whatever comes along and take opportunities to try spontaneous new things – then your vacations will turn into new adventures, too!



Categories: Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Parks, People, Washington | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Festival of Blueberries – Mossyrock, WA


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Hot Rods on a Hot Day – NSRA Street Rod Nationals Plus, Ridgefield, Washington


Phil’s Truck


Anden and the one car we allowed ourselves to buy!

It finally got sunny and VERY warm in the Pacific Northwest, just in time for the NSRA Street Rod Nationals Plus. Held the weekend of June 28-30 in Ridgefield, Washington (just north of Vancouver), it was the first time it has even been in Ridgefield. A friend of ours, Phil Strodemier, took his 1952 Ford pickup to enter in the show, so we decided to go down and check it out.

I don’t know how many cars were there, but it there were at least hundreds. Pickups, muscle cars, coupes, specialty vehicles. There was something for everyone to ooohh and ahhh over. Beautiful shiny colors, combinations and even “flames.” We made a rule before we left the house – we would NOT buy a car at the show! I don’t really think there was too much danger of that. The least expensive car I saw was around $24,000 and several gorgeous Bel Airs were priced at over $50,000. We did break our rule in the event center though where many vendors were set up. I bought my grandson, Anden, a little red car for $12.00. He thought that was pretty funny.


WOW! Those colors!

Vendors in the event center included insurance companies, hats, t-shirts, auto parts and then other rather bizarre items to see at a car show such as exercise machines and shower surrounds. I do have to say one of my favorite non-car vendors was the one offering a wine slushy mix. Who doesn’t need that!

It was interesting to talk some of the people who had entered the show. One woman named Marilyn was from Montana and with a group of people that brought out six cars. Most of them drove from there, just one trailered their car. She explained to me that their car club has an event in February when it’s too cold to get out and drive. During the event, they will teach people how to work through some of the rebuilding and repairing parts of the cars, as well as talking about things like being aware of the risk of the Hanta Virus when remodeling old cars. That’s a very good point I hadn’t thought about!

Attending the show was a lot of fun and gave us a lot of ideas for restoring our old pickup. Almost too many ideas. We will have to narrow down what we want to do and we know it will take a long time. But when we are ready, I can’t wait to enter a show ourselves and spend some time just getting to know the other car folks and learning from them. But for now, we’ll just go and drool and take notes. And pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. Here are some to share with you now and you can be envious along with us!

1-IMG_1866 1-IMG_1865 1-IMG_1864 1-IMG_1854 1-IMG_1849 1-IMG_1848 1-IMG_1840 1-IMG_1838 1-IMG_1830 1-IMG_1819 1-IMG_1817 1-IMG_1815 1-IMG_1808 1-IMG_1807 1-IMG_1804 1-IMG_1797 1-IMG_1792 1-IMG_1790 1-IMG_1787 1-IMG_1786 1-IMG_1785 1-IMG_1782 1-IMG_1780 1-IMG_1776 1-IMG_1774 1-IMG_1772 1-IMG_1770 1-IMG_1769 1-IMG_1768 1-IMG_17641-IMG_1844

Categories: Outdoors, People, Washington | Tags: , | 3 Comments

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