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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Posts from — July 2012

August – Brews, Blues and Boundless Fairs and Festivals

August is one very busy month in Southwest Washington. Festivals and fairs are happening full tilt. From Mt. Adams to the beach — there is an event scheduled for every age and interest. See you there!

August 1-5 – Rally in the Gorge  Five days, four nights of events for motorcyclists including four mini-rallies. Sturgis has nothing on us!

August 3-4 — CouvFest NW   This year’s festival will feature fifteen bands over two days, beginning at 8pm on Friday at Torque Coffee Roasters on 5th and Columbia. Saturday’s event will take place from noon to 10pm at Turtle Place Park on 7th Street. There will be food carts and other vendors throughout the day, and the opportunity to meet the bands after each live set. LOTS of music and a chance to check out the new, cool Torque Coffee Roasters in their great space.

August 3-4Art in the Heart/First Friday Musicians and artists take over central downtown Vancouver during the annual Art in the Heart celebration which kicks off on Friday night with the monthly Artwalk.

August 3-4 – Quilt and Fiber Arts FestivalDowntown Camas – Quilting, knitting, beading, crocheting, weaving and more. Classes, demonstrations and other activities.

Aug 3 – 12Clark County Fair– 144 years! Clark County’s biggest summer party starts on August 3. This is one great county fair. So much to see and do including concerts, demo derby, medieval jousting, amusement rides, 4-H animals on display and, the best reason of all, the Clark County Dairy Women’s super fresh and tasty milkshakes. See you there!

August 10-11Vancouver Brewfest – The first! Fresh NW beers, live music and local food including Beaches, Woody’s, Foody Blues and Main Event. Esther Short Park. Check out the list of brewers here.

August 11Wild Woman Trail Marathon – Run a full marathon or a relay. Stay for the weekend at their Mt. Adams base camp. Emjoy Mt. Adams and Trout Lake, a fabulous part of the region.

August 14-19 – Southwest Washington Fair – Chehalis – “Weird Al” Yankovic, The Oak Ridge Boys, among other groups and activities at this fun fair.

August 15-19 -The Columbia Gorge International Film Festival – The festival returns to downtown Vancouver. Dozens of films will be shown in various locations including the Kiggins, Pop Culture, Torque Coffee, Brickhouse, Angst Gallery and the Vancouver Community Library. Free admission! Check out this 2010 ZEST interview with the Festival director, 10 Minute Conversation with Breven Angaelica Warren

August 15-19Skamania County Fair & Timber Carnival – Another great fair and it’s free! Head out to Stevenson for a LOT of activities with all the usual fun livestock competitions, exhibits, music and carnival rides.

August 16-18Wahkiakum County Fair and Farmers Market – Rides and games, food and vendors in Skamokawa. Even a spelling bee! Full schedule here.

August 17-18Blues and Seafood at the Port of Ilwaco. Port of Ilwaco. There will be LOTS of music at this festival starting with an all-star jam on Friday night. Norman Sylvester performs on Saturday. Willapa Bay oysters, microbrews and regional wines and will be featured. Save some barbequed oysters for me, please.

August 19Jazz and Oysters – Jazz and Oysters (at Wilson Field in Ocean Park) celebrates its 27th year with a lineup that includes Jovino Santos Neto Quintet.  Offerings include grilled oysters, fruit & cheese plates & desserts, beverages and libations. Jazz and Oysters is a major fundraiser for Water Music Festival, which takes place in October.

Poster by Don Nesbitt

August 20-26 The Washington State International Kite Festival (WSIKF) is a week-long kite celebration and competition held annually during the third full week of August in Long Beach with professional and amateur kite flyers. Voted ‘Best Kite Festival in the World’ by Kite Trade Association International.

August 22-25 Pacific County Fair –  August is truly the month of county fairs. The Pacific County Fair in Menlo will include all the fun activities.

August 24-26 Chehalis Garlic Festival  Food, music, crafts, wine, beer and Ashley Creek Farm will be bringing 65 varieties of organically grown garlic!

August 24-26Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival – Vancouver’s premier music festival graces Esther Short Park again. Great wines, beautiful art and fantastic music. Take your lawn chairs. This year’s line up includes Diane Schuur, WAR, Brubeck Brothers Jazz Quartet, The Yellow Jackets, The Rippingtons and Jose Feliciano among many others. Check out the ZEST post on the opening night of the 2010 festival.

August 25Bigfoot Bash and Bounty – Home Valley Park in Skamania County. Last year’s event included Bigfoot authors and spotters and a Bigfoot movie. Check the Web site for more details. (If you go, check out the camping at Timberlake Campground.) Take your camera and watch out for Bigfoot!

July 31, 2012   No Comments

Road Trip! A Photo Essay on Washington State’s Finest Destination – The San Juan Islands

Yes, this is a blog about SOUTHWEST Washington. But summer is for islands and ferries and crabbing and kayaking and, need we say more? So this blog post travels for a few days out of ZEST’s Southwest Washington to another beloved part of the Evergreen State — the San Juan Islands. This photo journal focuses on three islands – Shaw, San Juan and Orcas. Enjoy the trip!

One of the very best queues in the world - the line for the ferry in Anacortes

First Stop – Shaw Island

Welcome to Shaw!

The Shaw General Store

Island Home

Island Home View

First day of crabbing season - a heavy crabpot (and happy crabber) suggesting our dinner menu

Lots of keepers

Measuring for keepers

Cooking the crabs on the beach


Kayaking off Shaw

Sunset at Shaw

Canoe at Sunset

Last call for the evening

Morning fog at Shaw - Cabiri is ghostlike

Daytrip to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

San Juan Island - Cabiri in the sun at Friday Harbor

San Juan Island - Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor at the Ferry Landing

Friday Harbor Farmer's Market

Island Studios in Friday Harbor

Island Studios Outdoor Garden

Friday Harbor Flowers

Friday Harbor Garden

Onward to Orcas Island

The interisland ferry between Shaw and Orcas

Orcas Hotel at the Ferry Landing

A few of the shops in Eastsound

The view from Darvill's Bookstore in Eastsound

Doe Bay Cafe at the Doe Bay Resort and Retreat

Doe Bay Cafe ready for dinner party

Island Harvest Bowl, Risotto and Riesling at Doe Bay Cafe

Mt. Constitution View

Mt. Constitution View of Sucia Island

Mt. Constitution View of Mt. Baker

Orcas to Anacortes Ferry Route

Orcas to Anacortes

Farewell, San Juans...

“I think I’ve got a touch of island fever.” Jimmy Buffett


July 22, 2012   6 Comments

The Incessant Rain has Stopped! Celebrate Summer in Southwest Washington

The incessant rain has stopped. The sun has returned. Is there a better place to live and recreate than the Pacific Northwest in summer? And don’t we deserve it?!

For more than 100 posts, ZEST has shared interesting places (and people and events) around Southwest Washington. Looking back and planning forward, here are favorite ideas for celebrating summer in our region.

Go for a summer paddle!

Go kayaking – You may like the thrills of white water kayaking but we’re talking about paddling the scenic, relaxing waterways of the area. Rent a kayak at Ridgefield Kayak in Ridgefield and paddle Lake River out to the Columbia (classes and tours available) or check out Columbia River Kayaking in Skamokawa where there are day tours and classes available and more options for paddling the Columbia. Check out the ZEST post on kayaking Vancouver Lake and Lake River.

At the trailhead for the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

Hike in a refuge – Southwest Washington has a surprising number of National Wildlife Refuges. Two of the better known are the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. See a complete list of Washington State refuges here. Sarah Coomber wrote about a family-oriented hike in Ridgefield in Five Boys, Three Moms, Trolls and Treasure at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.

View of the Gorge from Cape Horn

Drive a scenic loop —  We featured a road trip around Southwest Washington in June 2011. Check out the recommendations here at Road Trip! A Loop Through Southwest Washington.

Kites and Happiness on the Long Beach Peninsula (photo by Spence Photo Design)

Get beached – There are activities happening all summer on the Long Beach Peninsula. Check out for details. The Long Beach area won the ZEST’s Happiest Place in Southwest Washington contest in 2010.  The ZEST post includes the winner plus 10 honorable mentions for happy places.

Tasting Wine at the Westport Winery

Go wine tasting – Shawna Burkholder shared lots of great ideas in the ZEST post  The Art of Wine Touring in 2009. From the Westport Winery on the coast to Maryhill Winery and others in the Gorge and more than a dozen wineries in Clark County, you have plenty of choices. You’ll find a long list here. And 14 Clark County wineries are listed here. Read the April 2012 ZEST interview with Michele Bloomquist of Heisen House Vineyards for a winemaker’s perspective on our growing wine industry.

Feeding the goats at Pomeroy Living History Farm

Touch history – Southwest Washington offers a tremendous number of historical sites and museums to visit. The Coast offers multiple historical sites and museums. See Pacific County: An Abundance of Museums and Historical Sites  for a few of the many museums in Pacific County. The Fort Vancouver site could easily fill a day. One of our favorites for families is the Pomeroy Living History Farm. Read the 2009 ZEST post  A Visit to the Pomeroy Living History Farm.

The best barbequed oysters EVER are available in South Bend

Savor oysters – South Bend, “the oyster capital of the world,” provides table slapping good oysters. Check out ideas for visiting the area (including oysters, museums and kayaking) in this ZEST post, Adventures on Washington State’s Cranberry Coast, Part 1.

Stay home and see the world – The Columbia Gorge International Film Festival returns to downtown Vancouver August 15-19. More than 300 films will be shown in various locations. Check out this 2010 ZEST interview with the Festival director, 10 Minute Conversation with Breven Angaelica Warren.

Mavis Staples opening the 2010 Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival

Enjoy  art, wine and jazz from your lawn chair – The 15th Annual Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival is always the last weekend in August in Esther Short Park. This three-day festival always brings Grammy winning musicians, art from throughout the region and wines from around the world. Check out the ZEST post on the opening night of the 2010 festival.

A few of the Kumorican 2011 characters

Step into anime – The weekend after the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival, Esther Short Park will offer a totally different experience when the 10th Annual Kumorican Convention returns to Vancouver for Labor Day Weekend.  You don’t have to be a follower of anime to enjoy the hordes of people who do when they fill the park in full, elaborate costumes. It really is a fun and friendly gathering. At Kumorican 2011, we photographed some of the characters. You can check out the ZEST post Hanging Out with Johnny Depp and Otaku in Downtown Vancouver.

You could fill your whole summer without leaving the region. Enjoy the dry weather and fun places and events. Fall will be here soon enough. As they say, you’ve got to “make hay while the sun shines.” Get out there!

July 12, 2012   No Comments

Music, Wine, Vintage Cars, Finnish Culture and More Will Keep You Busy in July!

Welcome to July! Could there be a busier month? Here are more than 30 events  (plus a 4th of July celebration in nearly every community) to keep you active this month.

In the daylight at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge - picture it after dark with night creatures!

July 3Full-Moon Hike – Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge – Carty Unit –  Trail guides will lead you on an adventure in which owls hooting, coyotes howling, bats flying, and rustling in the brush are all possibilities. 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The hike is free but space is limited. RSVP with Sarah Hill at 360-887-4106 or email

July 44th of July Celebrations – “Staggering” describes the number of 4th of July picnics, concerts, parades, a rodeo or two and fireworks displays happening in Southwest Washington. The largest is no doubt the Independence Day at Fort Vancouver. But every community celebrates in its own, fun way. Please check your local events calendar for your closest celebration and have a fun, safe 4th!

July 4-7Vancouver Rodeo – Clark County Saddle Club – This is the 42nd year of the rodeo, which will happen at the Saddle Club. The schedule is here. Admission.

July 4-27Concerts on the ColumbiaSkamania Lodge – Stevenson – Concerts on the lawn. What a setting! The series starts with Patrick Lamb. 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Admission.

July 4 – Patrick Lamb

July 27 – Michael Allen Harrison and Julianne Johnson

July 5-August 9Riverview Six to Sunset Concerts – Esther Short Park – Vancouver – Set up your lawn chair in the park and enjoy a great series of evening concerts. Purchase dinner from the food vendors or take a picnic. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free.

   July 5 – Abbey Road Live (Beatles Tribute)

   July 12 – Hit Machine

   July 19 – Patrick Lamb

   July 26 – Stone in Love

July 6Art Walks and Special First Friday EventsVancouver, Camas and Ridgefield continue their monthly First Friday events. Camas First Friday will present the “Camas Car Show and Rock and Roll Night.” Ridgefield’s event will be in Davis Park from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

July 7LaCamas Lake Loop Bike Ride – This 32-mile bike ride starts at Clark College and travels east through Vancouver out to LaCamas Lake and back. Bakery stop included! Sponsored by Portland Wheelmen and Vancouver Bike Club but open to non-members. For more information, call the ride leader listed here.

July 8Music in the Vines with CloverdayleBethany Vineyards – The beautiful grounds of Bethany Vineyards make a great venue for summer concerts. Bring your own seating. No outside beverages. Check out concert details and restrictions here. Admission.

July 11-August 15  – Terry Lee Noon Concerts –  Esther Short Park – Vancouver – Noontime concerts draw large crowds. Don’t forget your lawn chair. Take your lunch or support the food vendors. Noon to 1 p.m. Free.

   July 11 – The Shwing Daddies

   July 18 – Justin Klump

   July 25 – Key of Dreams

July 12 – August 23Concerts at the Lake – Longview – Enjoy this Thursday night summer concert series in Lake Sacajawea Park. 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free.

   July 12 – British Export (Beatles Tribute)

   July 19 – Monroe Crossing

   July 26 – Gimme Some Lovin’

July 14Tastes &Tunes – Gardner Center in Battle Ground. Live music, food, beer and wine tasting. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Battle Ground. 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission.

July 144th Plain International Festival – 4th Plain and Norris Road in Vancouver – Celebrate the diversity of the 4th Plain area. International food vendors. Entertainment. Check the Web site for details. Includes the first ever Vancouver International Dodgeball Tournament! Register your team here!

July 14-15Trout Lake Festival of the Arts – Trout Lake – Enjoy music, arts and food at The Farm, 22 miles north of the Hood River Bridge. Schedule and location here. Check out the live music listings. Free.

July 14-15Art and Wine Fair English Estate Winery – 17806 SE 1st Street, Vancouver. Enjoy the 109-year-old estate, live music and dozens of artists not to mention English Estate’s wines, which will be available for tasting.

July 14-15Clamshell Railroad DaysColumbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco – Celebrate trains with lectures, bus tours of the old rail lines, an expanded Lego Train and The Kids Craft Caboose, and model trains. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission. Kids free.

July 21Cruisin the Gut – Vancouver – This car event just keeps getting larger and larger! Lovers of vintage autos line Main Street with lawn chairs to watch collectible cars from the past cruise Main Street from Dairy Queen down to lower downtown Vancouver and back.  The route is here. Evening event but get there early! Free.

July 20-21 – NW Outrigger RacesStevenson – Watch these mighty paddlers as they compete on the Columbia surrounded by the gorgeous Gorge and Bridge of the Gods as a backdrop. Stevenson will have lots of food and drink to offer, too, in the charming downtown area.

July 22Summer Concert SeriesThree Brothers Vineyards and Winery – The music continues in Clark County’s wine country with award-winning blues and R&B artist Lloyd Jones. Don’t forget your own lawn chairs or blankets. Take your own food (but NO liquids or beverages) or purchase catered food.  Wine, sodas and water available for purchase. Admission. 

July 25-20Sandsations and City Sandsations – Long Beach – On Wednesday, July 25, four master artists will start building in downtown Long Beach, culminating on Friday with a rodeo-themed sculpture. Construction for the sandcastle competition on the beach starts on Saturday at 10 a.m. There will also be a Sand Flea Pet Parade. Check the Sandsations Web site for details.

July 26-29Three Days of Aloha – Day one of this festival starts in Portland with a two-day Hula and Craft Workshop. Esther Short Park in Vancouver will be the site on Friday night for the Hapa Haole Hula Competition. The always popular Ho’ike and Hawaiian Festival will be held on Saturday at the park. Lots of food, music, dance, crafts! Check the festival Web site for details. Benefit for Ke Kukui Foundation.

July 26-29 –  Finnish-American Folk Festival  – Naselle High School on SR4. This festival is packed with authentic food and entertainment. The celebration of all things Finnish kicks off on July 26 with a golf tournament. Check out the event-packed schedule here.

July 27-28 – Camas Days Downtown Camas – “Three Ring Circus” is the theme of this year’s Camas Days. Two parades, bathtub races, wine and microbrew street each evening, plus arts and crafts vendors. Lots of details here.

July 28 Sip and Stroll – This benefit for the Hough Foundation is a great way to sample dozens of wines and beers while strolling through Uptown Village and downtown Vancouver. Check out wineries and microbreweries in downtown Vancouver and experience local shops where many of the tastings will be held. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.  21 and up. Admission.

July 28-29Bridge of the Gods Kite Fest – Stevenson – Celebrate wind and water! Kiteboarders and watchers won’t want to miss this event on the Columbia. The schedule is here.

July  29Music in the Vines with Patrick Lamb – Bethany Vineyards – The beautiful grounds of Bethany Vineyards make a great venue for summer concerts. Bring your own seating. No outside beverages. Check out concert details and restrictions here. Admission.

Whew! What a month! And this is only a smattering of available events. See you out there.



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July 1, 2012   No Comments