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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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Happy New Year! 19 Ways to Celebrate January in SW Washington

It’s a New Year. Make a resolution to get out more and explore, of course, Southwest Washington!  From the Pacific to Mt. Adams, from the Columbia to Mount St. Helens and points north, it’s all happening locally. See you out there!

Beacon Rock

January 1 – Beacon Rock State Park invites the public to kick off the New Year with a hike to the top of Beacon Rock. Ring in 2013 by connecting with nature and enjoying the beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge! This moderate, two-mile hike will start at 11 a.m. at the Beacon Rock trailhead on Tuesday, January 1.  The “First Day Hike” kicks off a year long celebration of Washington State Parks’ centennial year.  For a full list of events, visit

Blacksmith Shop at Fort Vancouver

January 5 –  Fort Vancouver Lantern Tour – A lantern tour of the Fort gives you a true sense of what the long winter nights were like for John McLoughlin and his crew. Costumed interpreters are on site for this popular event. The cost is $10 for adults and $7 for children under 15 years of age. Reservations are required. To make a reservation, call the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center at 360-816-6230

January 6Resolution Run – Battle Ground – The Resolution Run includes a 10K, 5K, and new 1K Cub Run. The 10K begins at 10 AM followed by the 5K at 10:05 AM and the 1K Cub Run at 10:45 AM. Runners and walkers are welcome. Registration includes a race tech t-shirt, goodie bag, and breakfast from Bone’s Steak and Chop House, beer from Laurelwood Brew Pub, and a DJ at the post-party.  Starts and finishes at Battle Ground Village.

January 10-12Razor Clam Digs – Long Beach Peninsula – Plan to clam! Tentative digs are scheduled for:

  • Jan. 10, Thursday, 5:27 p.m., -1.3 ft.
  • Jan. 11, Friday, 6:14 p.m., -1.6 ft.
  • Jan. 12, Saturday, 6:58 p.m., -1.5 ft.

Go here to read a past ZEST blog post on clamming. For details and rules read the official WDFW announcement. See below for more January dates.

January 12Drink This – Vancouver. Drink This returns to downtown Vancouver. 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. This festival promotes craft beverage makers (beer, wine, coffee, tea, soda, cider, spirits…) by inviting the public in for a special walking event to each business.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco

January 12- March 10 – Legacy of the Columbia River Fishery ExhibitColumbia Pacific Heritage Museum – Ilwaco. Each of the exhibit’s 12 panels explores a different theme.   The museum will augment the exhibition with items from its collection including a 1903 ledger from Keystone Cannery in Ilwaco, vintage local salmon labels, photographs and antique net-making tools.

January 12 – The 3rd Annual Martin Luther King Breakfast  will be held from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Heathman Hotel in Vancouver. Featured speakers are Tony Benjamin, Former NFL player; Rosalund Jenkins, Black Educators Roundtable; Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia, OHSU Resident Physician and Mel Netzhammer, WSU-V Chancellor.  There will also be performances by Renee Mitchell, Clairece Rosati, Yvonne Payne and Shania Watts.  To purchase a ticket, click here .

Snowshoeing to June Lake

January 19June Lake Snowshoe –  Mount St. Helens Institute offers this scenic, seven-mile showshoe trip with amazing views of the south side of Mount St. Helens. Snowshoe rental is available for $15/pair -a real deal! Details  here. Check out this ZEST blog post about a Christmas Day snowshoe trip to June Lake.

January 19-20 – Windless Kite Festival, Long Beach School Gymnasium, Washington and 4th St South. It doesn’t take a windy day to fly a kite. Demonstrations and competitions last two days. The Windless Kite Festival is an indoor kite flying show. It’s individuals, duos and more choreographed air routines to music.The gym is open for participant practice, demonstrations, and indoor flying lessons Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 5pm except during performance times. Admission: Donation

January 19Fort Vancouver Lantern Tour – See details in January 5 listing above.

January 19-20Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – Vancouver’s excellent symphony features a Hamlet-centered program with works by Liszt, Walton, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich plus readings by actor Kirk Mouser under the baton of  Salvador Brotons. The Saturday performance is at 2 p.m. and Sunday evening’s concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Skyview Concert Hall. Individual tickets are available here.

January 19-20 Antique and Collectible Show, Clark County Events Center. Saturday 9-6, Sunday 10-5 Admission is $6 – Good for both days. More than 400 booths of collectibles! The Clark County Historical Museum will display the exhibit ‘Road to Equality: the Struggle for Women’s Rights in the NW’ at the show.

January 20Bravo Concert – Cinetopia, Vancouver – 3 p.m. This concert features two classic stories: the beloved children’s book (and blockbuster movie) Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg; and Peter & The Wolf by Sergei Prokoviev – in a multi-media artistic presentation. Music, art, and drama combine to make these stories come alive. Tickets available here.

January 24-26Clark College Jazz Festival – Vancouver. This is the 51st year of the Clark College Jazz Festival! The Festival hosts more than 60 middle school and high school jazz ensembles in a three-day celebration of jazz. The young musicians are incredibly talented. Gaiser Hall will be THE most musical site in Clark County during this renowned festival!

January 25The Second City at  Columbia Theatre – Longview. Laugh off the winter doldrums with the comedy improv group that has spawned many a Saturday Night Live performer. Tickets are available here.

January 25-27 –  The Brautigan Unconference on Saturday, (inter)National Unpublished Writers’ Day on Sunday, and a Creative Diddy-wah all weekend.  It’s happening at the Clark County Historical Museum, home to the Brautigan Collection.

January 25-27
Razor Clam Digs – Tentative digs for the Long Beach Peninsula. See January 10-12 for details.

  • Jan. 25, Friday, 5:44 p.m., +0.0 ft.
  • Jan. 26, Saturday, 6:18 p.m., -0.2 ft.
  • Jan. 27, Sunday, 6:50 p.m., -0.2 ft.

January 27 – The Southwest Washington Symphony Orchestra – LCC Rose Center for the Arts – Longview. Performed will be Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischultz Overture, Schubert’s 5th Symphony and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto #1 performed by pianist Carla McIlhany of Austin. Tickets available here.

January 28Old Time Loggers ReunionAppelo Archive Center, Naselle – For loggers of every age, families of loggers, and those working in the timber industry or interested in logging. Noon to 4 p.m.

All this and much more is available in January. See you out there!




December 31, 2012   No Comments

December in Southwest Washington – No Scrooges Allowed! 43 Events to Help You Celebrate the Season!

December - Near June Lake and Mount St. Helens

It’s here! The last month of the year has arrived and there is no shortage of events to enjoy.  Holiday concerts and dance productions abound. Tree lightings, parades and celebrations are offered in every community. There is even an illuminated Christmas tree made from crab pots. Is that a Northwest kind of tradition or what?!

In the darkest of days,  the holiday lights and warmth of friendly gatherings brighten our lives. Happy Holidays from Southwest Washington ZEST! Enjoy!

November 24 – December 148th Annual Wahkiakum Festival of Trees – Trees and wreaths on display at Hotel Cathlamet Lobby until December 14.

November 29, December 1, 5-8, 12-15Every Christmas Story Ever Told Magenta Theater in downtown Vancouver. From past experience, this is a very funny, fast-paced play!

November 30-December 1 – Festival of TreesCowlitz County Expo Center. Includes a Teddy Bear Breakfast and Santa. 

November 30-December 2The Nutcracker by NW Classical Ballet Prairie High School Auditorium. First of many opportunities to see The Nutcracker.

November 30-December 8 – Peninsula Players Present Three One-Act Holiday PlaysRiver City Playhouse, IlwacoThe community theater group presents “Misdeeds at Mistletoe Mine,” “An Implausible Claus” and “Scrooge has Left the Building.”

November 30-December 2Christmas in the Gorge – Lots of events happening in Stevenson including the November 30 lighting of the Courthouse Tree in downtown Stevenson followed by the Starlight Parade. The lighting of one of the “Largest Living Christmas Trees in Washington State” will be lit in Carson on December 1.

November 30-December 2 The Nutcracker by Vancouver Dance Theatre  – Fort Vancouver High School, Vancouver.

Crab Pot Christmas Tree

December 1 Lighted Boat Parade and World’s Tallest Crab Pot Christmas Tree – Ilwaco is BUSY with holiday activities including a Christmas Market located in the Time Enough Books (a wonderful bookstore) building at the Port of Ilwaco, featuring Pacific Northwest Arts & Crafts vendors and is opened from noon until 7 p.m. Lighted Boat Parade at 6 p.m.

December 1Holiday Open House and Artisans’ Market – Clark County Historical Museum. See the exhibits while you do your holiday shopping.

Chelatchie Prairie Train

December 1-2, 8-9, 15-16Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Christmas Tree Train – Ride this historic train to the Moulton Falls stop where you can pick up a Christmas tree or just ride along for the fun. Perfect for all ages. Make your reservation before the train rides sell out!

December 1I’m Dreaming of a White Salmon Holiday Tree Lighting Festival –  Santa’s Breakfast and Bazaar in the morning, White Salmon shops have artists, demonstrations and goodies, and a community tree lighting happens later in the day.

December 1Christmas Saturday in Carson – 3 p.m. Old School Grill, Old Wind River Highway, Carson. Holiday activities for kids and parents. Cookie decorating, Christmas crafts. Gingerbread house contest. Local bagpipers later in the afternoon and the area’s largest living Christmas tree will be lit at 6 p.m.

December 163rd Annual Santa Parade “Christmas in the Caribbean” – Chehalis – This 11 a.m. downtown parade includes Santa and Rudolph. Wear your beach clothes under a warm coat?

December 1Fort Vancouver Lantern Tour – Walk from scene to scene through the fort buildings and enjoying hot cider with the performers. Reservations Required: Contact the Visitor Center at (360) 816-6230.

Ann Fontanella

December 1Ann Fontanella Concert – Corbet Theatre, Centralia College, 700 W. Walnut, Centralia. The protégé of the “Old Russian School” style of violin play performs as part of the Lewis County Concerts series.

December 2Handel’s Messiah –  2 p.m. St. Joseph Church, Vancouver with the Bravo! Vancouver Chorale, Washington Chamber Orchestra and soloists.

December 2The Irish Rovers – Columbia Theatre in Longview.  Celebrate the season with this popular Irish group. Check ahead. This will likely sell out.

December 5Clark College Orchestra – Royal Durst Theater, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, 3101 Main St. Vancouver. Concert features Julius Klein of Slovakia and Larry Greep, clarinet soloists.

December 5Vancouver Community Concert Band – Christmas Concert at First United Methodist Church, 401 E. 33rd St, 5:30 p.m. dinner, 6:30 p.m. concert.

December 7Clark College Concert Band and Concert Choir – Royal Durst Theater, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, 3101 Main St. Vancouver.

December 7-8Vancouver Winter Brewfest – Esther Short Park, Vancouver. Sample some of the best local breweries including Vancouver-based Loowit Brewery and Mt. Tabor Brewing among many others.

December 8Festival of Lights – Castle Rock – An outdoor lighting displays will showcase the newly renovated Cowlitz Street including a day of events and photos with Santa.

December 8Christmas at the Fort – Celebrate an 1840 holiday season at the Fort from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. including the opportunity to pose in old-fashioned holiday scenes with costumed re-enactors. Check out Christmas at Pearson Air Museum while you are in the area.

December 8Christmas at Pearson Air Museum – Take holiday photos with Santa Claus in the cockpit of a vintage 1941 Ryan PT21. Enjoy hot cocoa and cookies. Then visit Christmas at Fort Vancouver next door.

December 8Washougal Tree Lighting and Lighted Christmas Parade – The parade starts at 21st and Main Street at 6 p.m. and end at the tree lighting at the Washougal Downtown Reflection Plaza. Santa will help light the community Christmas tree and will stay for photos with children. Coffee, hot chocolate and cookies will be provided.

December 8 – Vancouver Community Concert Band
Christmas Concerts inside of the Westfield Shopping Town Mall, in front of Nordstrom’s, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

December 8A Season of Wonder – The fourth Chamber concert of the season offers a musical celebration by Northwest New Music Ensemble under the direction of Florian Conzetti and Diane Chaplin.  7 p.m.  Trinity Lutheran Church, Vancouver

Camas Home Tour

December 8-9Camas Holiday Home Tour – Four beautifully-decorated homes will be available for tours. Tickets available here or at five downtown locations.

December 9Vancouver Community Concert Band
Christmas Concert at Trinity Lutheran Church, 309 W. 39th St, at 2pm

December 9Tuba Christmas  Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in Ilwaco. Enjoy the Astoria Tuba Quartet. Free but seating is limited.

December 9Clark College Chorale and Women’s Choral Ensemble Concert – 3 p.m. Faith Baptist Church, 11208 NE Hazel Dell Ave.

December 12Columbia-Willamette Enological Society – EB Hamilton Hall, Vancouver. Each month, this group features a winery with tastings and food pairings. December will showcase six wines from  Cana’s Feast Winery of Carlton, Oregon. Program presented by the winery’s assistant winemaker. Check the CWES Web site for cost and reservations.

December 14-16The Nutcracker by Columbia Dance – Royal Durst Theater, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, 3101 Main St. Vancouver.

December 153rd Annual Lighted Tractor Parade – Downtown Centralia, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. This has to be the most unique holiday parade in Southwest Washington. Santa turns his sleigh in for a John Deere! Will the elves drive tractors, too?

December 15The Big Horn Brass Holiday Concert    7 p.m. at LifePoint Church in Vancouver, presented by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Featuring vocalist Shirley Nanette.

December 15Fort Vancouver Lantern Tour –  Walk from scene to scene through the fort buildings and enjoying hot cider with the performer. Reservations Required: Contact the Visitor Center at (360) 816-6230.

December 15Junior Symphony of Vancouver Holiday Concert – Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way, Vancouver.

December 15-16 SW Washington Symphony Orchestra Christmas Concerts –  Longview Community Church, 2323 Washington Way, Longview. Lovely program. See it here.

December 16Holiday Market at the Hilton –   Art,  jewelry, and other artisan products plus great local foods and special holiday treats. There will be live entertainment and a special visit from Santa.

December 16The Nutcracker by the Eugene Ballet – Columbia Theatre in Longview. One of the last chance to see The Nutcracker in Southwest Washington for the season! (We think!)

December 18Madrigal Feast – Skamania Lodge, Stevenson – Presented by the Skamania Performing Arts Foundation.

December 31Fireworks at Midnight Over the Ocean –  Long Beach Boardwalk – 5 minute celebration of the New Year. Short but colorful!

December 31Vancouver New Year’s Eve Walk – Finish the year with a walk starting at McMenamins East Vancouver, 1900 NE 162nd Ave. 5K, 10K and 15K routes. You can start as late as 2pm if you’re just doing 5K.  10K walkers must start by 1pm, 15k by noon. Sponsored by Evergreen State Volkssport Association.


November 29, 2012   No Comments

Sixteen Stunning Trees Filled with Ideas for Your Holiday Decorating

Each year, talented designers create idea-filled holiday trees for the Vancouver Rotary Foundation Festival of Trees. Each designer chooses a theme and and color scheme and spends the year sleuthing out unique decorations. Finally, while others are shopping and cooking for Thanksgiving, the designers gather with blank evergreen slates and do their magic with the trees.

For the 17th year, their beautiful work is now on display through Thanksgiving Weekend. The stunning trees stand among vintage airplanes at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth Street in Vancouver with this viewing schedule:

Friday, November 23 – Noon to 9 pm.
Saturday, November 24 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, November 25 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Each of the 16 trees has a story and is filled with decorating ideas. Here are a few ideas from this year’s creations:

Idea #1 –  Pick a theme from a Christmas carol like “The 12 Days of Christmas”

A partridge in a pear tree from "The Twelve Days of Christmas" by Kathy Hammer

Three French Hens from "The Twelve Days of Christmas" by Kathy Hammer

Idea #2 – Collect multiple copies of whimsical decorations for your tree. This charming tree includes planes, sleds and car ornaments.

"A Child's Dream" by Teddy Jo Mires of Designs by Teddy Jo

Idea #3 –  Go dramatic like a black and white zebra theme.

"Black and White by Design" by Teddy Jo Mires

Idea #4 – Build  a tree with decorations representing a favorite place. Can’t afford to go to Paris this year? Bring Paris into your livingroom with a Parisian-themed tree.

"Christmas in Paris" by Dr. Karen Stanley

Idea #5 – Use stuffed animals for decorations – large or small.

"Christmas in the Cascades" by Jan Hampton of Flowers and Dreams

Idea #6 – Celebrate an important event.

"Christmas Wedding" by Jan Hampton

Idea #7 – Combine wooden ornaments and brightly colored balls. This tree, by the way, will be talking during the Festival!

"Count Down to Christmas" by Darcy and Meagan Neu of Neu Interiors

Idea #8 – Go with a layered look. Do you have spaces between your branches? No problem! Fill in between with large ball ornaments and decorative, glittery ferns and poinsettias.

"Crimson Chic" by Robin Anderson of Distinctively Home

Idea #9 – Create a wreath to match your tree.

"Dazzling the Holidays" by Donna Rodewald and Kris Hostetter of DonnaMaries

Idea #10 – Start with a large angel on the floor and continue the theme with angels throughout the tree.

"Flight of Angels" by Lorraine Carson of Lorraine Interiors

"Flight of Angels" by Lorraine Carson

Idea #11 -Go elegant. Jacquard ribbon and a rich, autumn color scheme will draw raves.

Holiday Elegance by Teddy Jo Mires

Idea #12 – Small mittens can make a great ornament.

"Snow Days" by Jan Hampton

Idea #13 – Feathered friends are natural additions to the trees.

"Splendor of the Season by Becky Dunning of Combined Elements Design

Idea #14 – Silver and royal blue always make a stunning color scheme.

"Winter on my Mind" by Anita Tabayoyon of A.R. MOSS Designs

Idea #15 – Bring the woods into your home with decorations like birch bark-like ribbon and moss covered birds, nests and balls.

"Woodland Winter Wonderland" by Karey Dillingham, Karey's Kreative Interiors

Idea #16 – Don’t be afraid of lively colors! They will brighten your home throughout the holiday season.

"A Colorful Christmas" by Dr. Karen Stanley

And don’t forget the topper!

"A Colorful Christmas" by Dr. Karen Stanley

These are just a few of the ideas you will find at the Vancouver Rotary Foundation Festival of Trees. Grab your camera and a notebook. You will find the complete schedule of all the events here. See you at the Festival!

November 23, 2012   No Comments

Sing, dig, laugh, run. Enjoy November!

It’s dark. It’s raining. But there is plenty to do. Welcome to November!

November 3Fall Choral Festival – Clark College – Enjoy  performances by the Clark College Concert Choir and Vocal Jazz Ensemble, High School Chamber and Concert Choirs and Vocal Jazz Ensembles. They will perform all day with a showcase performance at 5 p.m. More details here.

A young participant from a past pow wow at Clark College.

Hoop dance at the celebration (Photos courtesy of Clark College)

November 9Educating for the Seventh Generation– Clark College – a celebration of indigenous cultures. November is Native American Heritage Month. Celebrate at Clark College where events will begin at 5 p.m. with a welcome address and a performance by Native American flutist and flute maker Isaac Trimble. Indian tacos will be served during the performance. Opening ceremonies for a powwow will begin at 6 p.m. Closing ceremonies will take place at 10 p.m. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Gaiser Student Center on Clark College’s main campus.

Knappton Cove Heritage Center

November 9-10Ocian in View Cultural Weekend  – There are plenty of events happening on the Long Beach Peninsula this weekend. The “Ocian in View” cultural event starts Friday evening at 6 p.m. at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum with a presentation by Irene Martin, recipient of the 2000 Washington Governor’s Heritage Award, who will present a program about her latest research on canneries of the Lower Columbia, and will focus on the McGowan Packing Co.

The event continues on Saturday with an “O, How Horriable is the Day Event” at the U. S. Quarantine Station Museum at Knappton Cove, WA. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Check out the 2010 ZEST post on the museum.)

On Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, the Middle Village/Station Camp/McGowan Bus Tour  will visit historic sites including St. Mary’s Church. The bus will proceed to the McGowan mansion, still home to the McGowan family.  Host Bill Garvin will talk of the family’s history, cannery and settlement of this historically rich area.  The bus tour is $20. Call the Museum at 360-642-3446 for reservations for the tour.

The Chinook Tribe will host its Annual Salmon Dinner at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The dinner will include regional seafood, salad, Indian fry bread, dessert and beverages. Cost is $15 per person, seniors (55 and over) $13, children under 12 $5. No reservations are required.

November 10 – Veterans Parade at Fort VancouverParade Grounds at the Fort Vancouver National Site, 612 E Reserve St, Vancouver at 11 a.m.. Veterans will be honored at the annual parade, which start with an Air Force fly-over and 21-gun salute fired by Howitzer cannons from the Parade Grounds. More than 100 military, veteran and civic organizations and 2,500 individuals participate in the parade from Officers Row to Fort Vancouver Way through the Vancouver Barracks and past the reconstructed Fort Vancouver to Pearson Air Museum, where it will end. This is one of the largest veterans parades on the West coast. Here is the parade lineup.

November 10Seattle International Comedy CompetitionColumbia Theatre in Longview – Laughter is the best medicine, right? If you are feeling down, or even if you aren’t, head to Longview to the historic Columbia Theatre for a competition that brings 17 comedians to the theatre.  Each comedian gets 5 minutes to impress.  A panel of local judges and audience reaction determines who moves on when each performer’s 5 best scores are tallied. Tickets here.

November 10-11Vancouver Symphony – Skyview Auditorium – Join Guest Conductor Gregory Vajda and Vancouver’s wonderful symphony orchestra for a program that includes Orlando’s Awakening (US Premiere), Vajda Dances of Galanta Kodaly and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, performed by the new Oregon Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster, Sarah Kwak. 3 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets here.

November 13-17 – Clam Digs! Get out those clam guns and shovels! Dates are always tentative. Be sure to watch the WDFW’s website, which even includes recipes. To date, opening dates and evening low tides are:

Nov. 13, Tuesday, 5:54 p.m., -1.6 ft., Twin Harbors
Nov. 14, Wednesday, 6:41 p.m., -1.9 ft., Twin Harbors
Nov. 15, Thursday, 7:29 p.m., -1.9 ft., Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Nov. 16, Friday, 8:18 p.m., -1.6 ft., Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
Nov. 17, Saturday, 9:09 p.m., -1.1 ft., Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Later in the month, clammers will have another opportunity. See November 26 below.

From the WDFW: Clam diggers should plan to take lights or lanterns for the nighttime digs and to check weather and surf forecasts before heading out. No digging will be allowed before noon on any of the razor-clam beaches. Harvesters are allowed to take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website and from license vendors around the state.

See this ZEST post about a 2010 clam dig at Ocean Park.

November 14Columbia-Willamette Enological Society – Vancouver – Stop by the 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. monthly meeting of this group of wine lovers. They meet the second Wednesday of the month at E.B. Hamilton Hall (restored Red Cross building) at the Fort Vancouver Historic Reserve. The winemakers often stop by to talk about their wines. In November, they will be tasting the wines of Andrew Rich Cellars of Carlton, Oregon. Read about the wines to be tasted here. $30 members; $35 Guests ($3 additional charge without a reservation.) Check the CWES Web site for reservation information.

November 16-18 – Clark County Holiday Gift Fair – Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, 17402 NE Delfel Road, Ridgefield. 10 a.m.- p.m. Get a jump on your holiday shopping at this gift fair, which will include daily appearances from Santa and a special holiday themed kid’s activity area. Admission fee.

November 18Sing-a-Long Sound of Music – Columbia Theatre in Longview – 3 p.m. – Dress up as your favorite character from The Sound of Music and prepare to sing your heart out. We’re guessing you already know the lyrics!  Tickets here.

Spectacular trees and vintage planes at Festival of Trees

November 23-25 Vancouver Rotary Foundation Festival of Trees Kick off your holidays at the multi-event Rotary Foundation Festival of Trees in Vancouver. Festival of Trees viewing plus Santa, entertainment and a scavenger hunt at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. 5th Street in Vancouver. Gorgeous trees will be on display along with Pearson Air Museum’s vintage planes throughout the weekend.  As always, the Talking Tree will be chatting away with Festival goers and Santa or Mrs. Claus will be available for photos. Bring your camera! The viewing schedule is:

Friday, November 23 – Noon to 9 p.m.
Saturday, November 24 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, November 25 – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is free with suggested donation of $5 per family. Non-perishable food donations for Share House and financial donations to support Festival of Trees are requested.

November 23 – Festival of Trees Downtown Holidazzle with Community Tree Lighting at Esther Short Park and the Hilton. 4 p.m. concert with the Vancouver Community Concert Band, More music at 5:30 p.m. and Tree lighting at 6 p.m. at the park. Farmers Market and rides around the park from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.  Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. Vancouver Pops Concert at the Hilton at 6:20 p.m. Join the thousands who enjoy this event each year. You will want to be there when the 20,000 lights first illuminate our beautiful community tree!

November 23-25 – Clark County Thanksgiving Weekend Wine Tour Celebrate the fall harvest and local wine with a food pairing weekend at the wineries! Check individual wineries for opening times.

November 23-25 – Holiday Weekend in Long Beach – What a schedule! All ages are welcome Friday afternoon at the Neptune Theater for a complimentary showing of “The Polar Express,” hosted by Mrs. Claus and a few special guests! Saturday brings magic and Santa Claus to town including a magical show with Mrs. Claus, a craft activity, and free pictures with Santa! Later, enjoy caroling and the City of Long Beach’s tree lighting ceremony. Sunday morning celebrate Frosty the Snowman’s Birthday! Bring a donation of hat, scarves, mittens or other winter clothing for the needy. Enjoy more time with Mrs. Claus and Frosty as well as more craft stations and birthday cake.

November 23-25 – Thanksgiving Open House Weekend at Columbia Gorge Wineries More than 30 wineries and tasting rooms will be open Memorial Day weekend with open houses featuring special releases, barrel tastings, events, live music, artisan treats and other surprises. The wineries span 40 miles of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic. On the Washington side of the Gorge, wineries span from Underwood to Goldendale.

The Chelatchie Prairie Train

Moulton Falls Winery

November 24Chelatchie Prairie Train to Moulton Falls Winery – Take the vintage train to one of Clark County’s newest wineries, Moulton Falls Winery. When you get to the winery, you’ll find food, live music and great wine. This is a LOT of fun! Read about a recent Chelatchie Prairie train ride to the winery here.

November 25 – Hot Buttered Run and Kids Kandy Kane Race at Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. 5th Street, 10 a.m. – Last year, more than 1,000 started a new holiday tradition by exercising off Thanksgiving calories at this outdoor celebration which winds through the Fort Vancouver Historic Site, along the Columbia River, through downtown Vancouver and past scenic Officers Row! Participate in Energy Event’s 12K Run, a 5KWalk.Run and Kids Kandy Kane Race. Start and Finish at Pearson Air Museum. Registration includes long sleeve t-shirt, food music and hot buttered rums (for adults) and hot chocolate. For more information and registration, visit The Festival trees will be on view. Stop by before or after your run!

November 26-December 1Clamming! – Let the clamming on the Long Beach Peninsula continue! Be sure to watch the WDFW’s website for final dates and times.

Nov. 26, Monday, 5:16 p.m., -0.1 ft, Twin Harbors
Nov. 27, Tuesday, 5:52 p.m., -0.3 ft., Twin Harbors
Nov. 28, Wednesday, 6:27 p.m., -0.4 ft., Twin Harbors
Nov. 29, Thursday, 7:01 p.m., -0.4 ft., Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Nov. 30, Friday, 7:35 p.m., -0.3 ft., Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
Dec. 1, Saturday, 8:10 p.m., -0.1 ft., Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Coming Up!

December 1 – Lighted Boat Parade and Crab Pot Christmas Tree – Ilwaco

December 1 – Jingle All the Way with The Trail Band – Camas

December 1 – The Irish Rovers – Columbia Theatre – Longview

and oh so much more!


November 1, 2012   No Comments

The Good Life: Traveling by Train, Stopping for Wine in North Clark County

Chelatchie Prairie Train

“… there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.”    Edna St. Vincent Millay

With the possible exception of Washington State ferries, train travel has to be the best form of transport in the Pacific Northwest. In Southwest Washington you can really pair the best – riding a train with a history to a local winery with great wine. Ahhh, the good life!

The Chelatchie Prairie rail track has been in use since 1888. Dedicated volunteers from the Battle Ground, Yacolt & Chelatchie Prairie Railroad Association keep the tracks and train running with scenic trips to Moulton Falls. Now the train devotees have added a fine new trip – a train run to Moulton Falls Winery.

The Locomotive - pushes on the way out, pulls on the way back

Waiting in the open air car for the trip to begin at the Yacolt Station

The trip starts at the BYCX train station in Yacolt. Three cars, pulled by a 1941 ALCO-S-2 diesel locomotive, await passengers. Outdoor enthusiasts can sit in the open car, weather permitting. A middle car is a traditional carriage with windows. A third car is covered but with open windows. Volunteers take tickets and explain the history of the train and the route.

Along the train route - donkeys or are they burros?

Track-side pond

Into the woods

Fall color

The train follows a scenic North Clark County route through farmland, past wetlands and ponds, and the Lewis River to Moulton Falls, where riders who aren’t along for the wine tasting can disembark and view the falls and hiking areas. Dense forests, steep rock walls and a 330 foot long tunnel add to the ride.

Into the tunnel

Moulton Falls Stop

Moulton Falls Winery is a fabulous addition to the expanding list of Clark County wineries. The train stops about 100 yards from the winery, which can be viewed from the train.

Moulton Falls Winery

A quick walk and you enter a spacious, open-beamed tasting room. Owner Joe Millea and his assistant, Susan Swank, are on site to pour and discuss the wines.

Tasting varietals with Susan Swank

Selections of the day

Every winery needs a dog!

On our visit, we tasted six different wines including the Rose of Sangiovese, Riesling and Malbec. All were delightful. The winery offers 10 varieties.

Happy tasters

When the train returned for us, no one wanted to stop tasting. So the train traveled to the station with passengers and came back for us 30 minutes later. Tasters who had arrived by car were also hesitant to leave. It’s a very comfortable place to spend an afternoon.

GREAT NEWS! The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad has another Wine Train planned to the winery on Saturday, November24. This will include a trip up through the Moulton Falls park and food and live music at the winery.

Other upcoming train trips include the popular Headless Horseman Halloween Train on October 27-28 and the Christmas Tree Special Trains – November 25 and December 1-2, 8-9 and 15-16 with three runs a day to Moulton Station where you can purchase a Christmas tree and chat with Santa. Reservations highly recommended. All aboard!


October 7, 2012   2 Comments

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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September 30, 2012   No Comments