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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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20 Ways to Celebrate October in Southwest Washington

Welcome to October! Where did the summer go? There are lots of autumn happenings in Southwest Washington. From cranberries to clamming, birds to Block 10, there are no excuses for staying home. See you out there!

Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association.

September 30 – October 6 – Banned Books Week – Celebrate your freedom to read at your local library. The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District branches will hold events at various locations throughout the week. Check here for the schedule. For other locations, check your local library. Or celebrate the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week by reading one of the more than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982! Check here for classic books that have been banned or challenged.

Sketch of the future Block 10 in Downtown Vancouver. Illustration by Derek Chisholm.

October 5Block 10 Back to the Future – 5 p.m. – Downtown Vancouver’s monthly First Friday event focuses on Block 10, the new park being developed on the block between 8th and 9th Streets and Columbia and Washington. Talk with those who are working on the project to learn more about their vision. Art galleries will be open for First Friday Artwalk receptions, too, of course. Read more about the project here.

October 5Pumpkin Pageant – 5 p.m. – Downtown Camas will celebrate First Friday with a pumpkin event. The town will be filled with carved pumpkins on this First Friday. You can enter the pumpkin carving contest by carving a pumpkin to place in one of the downtown businesses. During First Friday you can vote for your favorite pumpkin.The winner will receive a fall basket donated by Downtown Merchants.

October 6Old Apple Tree Festival – 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Old Apple Tree Park, 112 Columbia Way in Vancouver. Celebrate the 186th birthday of the oldest living apple tree in the Northwest. Food, live music, children’s activities, cuttings from the tree, scarecrow contest (pre-event applications required for the contest) and more.

Maestro Salvador Brotons of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

October 6-7Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – Crossroads Community Church, 7708 N.E. 78th street, Vancouver. The  symphony opens its 34th season with works by Copland, Ravel and Saint-Saens. Performances by guest artists from Israel, Nitai and Hillel Zori on violin and cello. 3 p.m on Saturday. 7 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available here.

October 6-29Pumpkin LanePomeroy Living History Farm – This historic farm, located between Battle Ground and Yacolt, will offer its annual pumpkin celebration on Saturdays and Sundays in October. Hayrides down decorated pumpkin lane. Farm cafe. Children’s games, animal petting and much more. There will be civil war reenactors on October 20 and 21.

October 12Contra in the Couve – 7:30 p.m. t0 11 p.m. Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave. – This 2nd Friday dance starts at 7:30 p.m. with lessons, followed by the dance. This month features The Hat Band with Karen Marshall calling.

Big band music will be featured on Sunday at the Water Music Festival.

October 12-14Water Music Festival – Ilwaco and Oysterville – A variety of styles will be presented including classical guitar, vocal performances, a string trio featuring grand piano, flute and string bass and a big-band jazz group from California with  a powerful vocalist. Lodging packages are available. Tickets available here. Don’t miss the Cranberrian Fair (see below) while you are there!

October 13-14One Sky, One World Kite Fly for PeaceWorld Kite Museum, Long Beach – This is a delightful museum with a kite-filled gift shop. There will be kite making and kite flying lessons available. Experienced flyers will decorate the sky with large and varied shaped kites. Everyone flying kites can sign the worldwide register. The event will happen between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Bolstad Avenue beach approach in Long Beach.

October 13-14Clamming! – It’s clamming season again! The first razor clam dig is scheduled on the Long Beach Peninsula. Dates and times are always tentative so check here for the most current info. Licenses required and available at locations on the Peninsula. ZEST bloggers posted about clamming in 2011. Check out the ZEST post, In Search of Razor Clams.

Harvesting cranberries on the Long Beach Peninsula in the rain at the 2010 Cranberrian Fair.

October 13-1492nd Annual Cranberrian Fair Did you know that October is National Cranberry Month? The Cranberrian Fair is a wonderful festival dedicated to all things cranberry. Foods, crafters, bog tours.  Collectible buttons are $5 each and cover admission to all events at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco. The Cranberry Museum is free and provides a fascinating look at the area’s cranberry heritage. Combine cranberries with the performances of the Water Music Festival plus clamming and the Kite Museum and you have a great weekend at the coast. And if that’s not enough, check out the October-November Wild Mushroom Celebration with 10 participating restaurants on the Peninsula!

Birds, bluegrass music, kayaking, Native American culture, history - it's all there at BirdFest.

October 13-14BirdFestRidgefield National Wildlife Refuge – LOTS happening at the Refuge and in town in celebration of our feathered friends this weekend. Saturday welcome ceremony at 11 a.m. in Ridgefield. Birders’ Marketplace. Audubon Live Bird Show on Saturday at 1 p.m. Tours of the Cathlapotle Plankhouse.  Bird and ethnobotany walks at the Carty Unit of the Refuge. Bluegrass music on Saturday afternoon at the Old Liberty Theater. Other events on the River ‘S’ Unit. There are MANY events! Check out the full schedule here.

The Chelatchie Prairie Train warms up before a trip to Moulton Falls.

October 13-14 Fall Leaves Special Train – If you haven’t ridden the vintage Chelatchie Prairie train, you are missing a special trip, which follows the scenic route used since 1888. The train is pulled by a 1941 diesel locomotive and there is indoor and outdoor seating offered. Reservations highly recommended. Get your tickets here.

October 13-14Maryhill Winery Harvest Fest 2012 – The grapes are in. It’s time to celebrate. You’ll have the opportunity to stomp grapes. Live music, wine tastings. The event continues on October 20-21.

October 14Girlfriends Half Marathon – Vancouver – Run or walk the 13.1 mile mostly flat and scenic route which includes Officers Row, Fort Vancouver and the Columbia River. Live music, chocolate and lots of cheer with proceeds going to breast cancer research. Register here by Oct 10. Note: last year this event sold out early.

The Southwest Washington Symphony Orchestra.

October 14Southwest Washington SymphonyColumbia Theatre, Longview – The Southwest Washington Symphony presents “Scary Stuff!” including Night on Bald Mountain, Danse Macabre, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and much more. Perfect classical music for the Halloween season! Tickets available here.

October 25Kathy Mattea ConcertColumbia Gorge Interpretive Center, Stevenson – Hear this talented American country music and bluegrass performer who often brings folk, Celtic and traditional country sounds to her music. Tickets available here. Here is a video of Kathy singing the powerful “Hello My Name is Coal” from her new CD, Calling Me Home:

October 26Oregon Ballet TheatreColumbia Theatre, Longview – Portland’s acclaimed dance troupe will perform highlights from their repertoire including four distinct dance and musical styles in the beautifully restored Columbia Theatre. Tickets are available here.

Who knows when the Headless Horseman will appear during the October 27-28 train ride?!

October 27-28 Headless Horseman Halloween Train – Take the scenic Chelatchie Prairie train ride from Yacolt at 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. to experience the Headless Horseman. (See October 13-14 above for more train details.) Reservations highly recommended. Get your tickets here.

Southwest Washington Wind Symphony

October 28Southwest Washington Wind Symphony – Union High School Performing Arts Center, at 6201 NW Friberg-Strunk Street, Camas. 3 p.m.  Musical selections by the 55-member orchestra include “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” by Johann Sebastian Bach, Overture to “The Barber of Seville” by Gioachino Rossini, and “The Pines of Rome” by Ottorino Respighi. Free!

Ready for autumn? Celebrate the fall season in Southwest Washington!

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