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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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20+ Not-To-Be-Missed Southwest Washington Events in May

From the Long Beach Peninsula through the Gorge, there is plenty happening in May. No excuses for staying home. Go enjoy Southwest Washington!

"Alice Christiansen" from the Hulda Klager lilac collection

April 21 – May 13Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens Lilac Days –  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Hulda Klager’s farm home and beautiful gardens will be open and lilac plants and gifts will be offered for sale in a lovely gift shop. During Lilac Days, the farmhouse will feature a display of vintage hats and accessories. For background – Author Jane Kirkpatrick has just released a novel about the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom.  Here is a past  ZEST post on the Hulda Klager Lilac Days. Admission.

Lots happening in downtown Longview

May 3 –  First Thursday in Longview – Many shops and galleries stay open until 7 p.m. and lots will be happening on the First Thursday of the month in downtown Longview. The Cowlitz County Historical Museum will be open until 9 p.m.

Unveiling of New Sculpture at the April Art Work in Downtown Vancouver

May 4First Fridays – If it’s the first Friday of the month,  you know what is happening in Clark County. Vancouver, Camas and Ridgefield continue their First Friday events. Camas has a First Friday Poker Tour happening. The Art Walk will be busy in downtown Vancouver with a special opening reception scheduled at the beautiful Kiggins Theater from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. (21 and older only during the reception). Ridgefield will hold its First Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

May 4, 6, 11-13Touch of Class Chorale – Vancouver’s choral group will present five concerts with half of the proceeds going to various charities, depending on the concert. Check out the schedule here. Admission.

May 5Magenta Improv Theater – Vancouver’s own version of “Whose Line is it Anyway…?” —  takes the stage again at Magenta Theater. The show is family friendly. Players take audience suggestions and improvise. Admission.

May 5Carson-to-Stevenson Ridge Run– Skamania County Facilities & Recreation and the Columbia Gorge Running Club invite runners and walkers of all ages and abilities to embark on the annual Carson to Stevenson Ridge Trail 16k Run. The event starts in Carson and continues  to the Skamania County Fairgrounds with the finish line at the Columbia Gorge Fitness Fair. Admission.

May 5-6Loyalty Days – Not only does Long Beach have the World’s Longest Garage Sale (see May 25-26 below), it has the “longest consecutively running Loyalty Day celebration in the nation.” The two-day event includes a children’s parade, blessing of the fleet, oyster feed (yum!), grand parade and cowboy breakfast. This event is always the first weekend in May.  Saturday schedule here. For Sunday’s schedule, go here.

May 11Contra in the Couve – Put on your dancing shoes. Vancouver has a contra dance, held on the second Friday of every month at the Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave. Seattle band, KGB, and nationally-known caller Woody Lane, from Roseburg, OR will share the stage. 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission.

May 11-12Ridgefield Art Association Show and Sale – Don’t miss this annual show and sale. Reception on Friday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ridgefield Community Center.

May 12It’s a Blast! Volcano Science in Your Backyard – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Join the Mount St. Helens Institute for a fun event at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Kids activities, food, guided hikes, ranger talks, and more. The road will be open! Celebrate the first public event of the season. Admission.

May 12-13Maryhill Museum – The museum will dedicate the new Mary and Bruce Stevenson Wing this weekend. The new 25,500 wing will include galleries, an education center and cafe. The event schedule includes an antique car show on Saturday.

Pat Courtney Gold

May 13Cathlapotle Plankhouse 2nd Sunday Series – Fiber artist Pat Courtney Gold will present “Native American Women of the Columbia River Area” at 2 p.m at the Cathlapotle Plankhouse at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Guided tours of the Plankhouse and children’s activities will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Pat Courtney Gold, and her extraordinary work, is profiled here. A great way to spend Mother’s Day!

May 16-20Society of Washington Artists 50th Anniversary Show – This open entry art exhibit will include an art sale. Exhibit will be in Vancouver at the HH Hall Building, 10000 NE 7th Avenue.

Ed Asner as FDR

May 18Ed Asner as FDR – FDR is based on the Broadway hit “Sunrise at Campobello. ” Emmy-award winning Ed Asner performs the one-man play at the beautiful, historic Columbia Theatre in downtown Longview. Should be a great show! Tickets here.

May 19 –  Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum Anniversary Celebration –  Music, activities, hands-on demonstrations and refreshments from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Admission to the museum will be free to the public for this special occasion.  For more information, visit

May 1948th Annual Hazel Dell Parade of Bands – If it’s the third Saturday in May, you can count on a whole lot of music happening in Hazel Dell. The theme this year is “Remember When” and will feature two dozen bands and more than 100 entries.  Dust off the lawn chairs. View the route map here. The parade starts at 10:30 a.m.

May 19-20Herb and Garden Festival – It’s the perfect time for a country drive out to the Pomeroy Living History Farm, which is north of Battle Ground. Thousands of plants will be for sale. There will be a farm cafe, vendors and entertainment. This is a lovely destination. Directions here.

May 19-20Geology Weekend at Bonneville Dam – Explore the forces that created the Gorge through special presentations, guest speakers and hands-on activities. Rangers will offer programs about local geology at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Bradford Island Visitor Center. Power house tours will be offered at 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. at the Washington Shore Visitor Center. For more information, contact the Bonneville Dam Visitor Center at 541. 374.8820. This event is free.

May 25-26World’s Longest Garage Sale – For more than 20 years on Memorial Weekend, the garages, yards, patios and other flat surfaces of the Long Beach Peninsula have been filled with treasures for, count ’em, 28 miles! Get out your most comfortable shoes and lots of dollar bills. And don’t forget to take a break to enjoy the ocean and the bookstores mentioned in this 2010 ZEST blog post about the booksellers of  Long Beach Peninsula.


Las Colibri - The Hummingbirds

May 26Las Colibri – Enjoy this very talented, all-female mariachi ensemble. Audiences will recognize sounds of  jazz, rock, oldies, and R&B through this unique mariachi ensemble. They will perform at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center in Stevenson at 8 p.m. Admission. Tickets available here.

May 26-27Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – The wonderful VSO adds a new twist for this performance. An interactive, 3-D showing of The Planets will be shown. The concert will also include pianist Linda Lorati Barker and a 2011-12 audience choice piece, which will be announced immediately before the concert. Tickets available here.

Winetasting at East Fork Cellars

May 26-28Clark County Wineries – Memorial Weekend – Visit the wineries of Clark County on Memorial Weekend.  Click on the Web site for a map to 11 wineries in Clark County. And check out this Columbian article on the 2nd largest wine producer in the U.S. — Washington State!

What a great month!

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1 john carroll { 05.01.12 at 11:00 am }

Thanks for putting this together! Looks great and is a great resource!

2 Katlin Smith { 05.01.12 at 11:06 am }

Thanks, John! It’s amazing how much goes on in our own backyards and north of the Columbia!

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