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Celebrating People, Places & the Good Life in SW Washington State
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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 Sarah_Hill@fws.gov

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 LambBethany 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.

 

 

July 1, 2012   No Comments

Garlic and Eggs, Blues and Brews and Much More This June!

Summer is coming and the weekends are filling up. Here are festivals and other fun activities to add to your June schedule. Have fun out there!

June 1-August 30Architectural Walking Tours -  The Clark County Historical Museum is offering many walking tours with a variety of themes. These are held every Friday and every other Saturday through August. Check out the calendar here.

June 5WordFest  – Longview, 6 p.m. to 8  p.m. WordFest is a monthly gathering of local writers and readers. On June 5, WordFest will be meeting at the Electric Bean coffee shop, 946 Washington Way (Washington Way and 10th Avenue) in Longview, Readers will be poet and novelist Mike Strom; retired physician Dan Roberts who will read from his medical thriller VRSA SYNDROME and writer Robin Weitzen who will read from a novel in progress. An open mic will follow.

 

June 6Opening Night Beaches Summertime Cruisin’  – Portland International Raceway (PIR). Okay, ZEST never sends people south of the Columbia. This IS a blog about SW Washington, after all. However, this is an exception. Beaches Cruisin’ events raise thousands of dollars for community organizations north of the river. Check out the complete Cruisin’ schedule with non-profits that will benefit from the events. So go ahead and scoot across the I-5 bridge! Every Wednesday night through the end of September.  Classic cars, food, music and lots of fun. Pre-73 Classics, Hot Rods & Customs. $8 general public entry. $5 per show ride with one passenger. Check out this fun Cruisin’ video.

June 8 and 22The Urban Growers Market -  2315 Main Street, Uptown Village in Vancouver. This is a local farmers market geared to the backyard grower and small farmer. Only local produce is sold. Food vendors, arts and crafts, live music and children’s activities, too.

June 9National Get Outdoors Days  Local events will be happening from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site  and will include Smokey the Bear, Woodsy Owl, Ranger Rick and an 1840s Fur Trapping Camp.

Tasting at the Westport Winery

June 9Fleur de Lis Festival -  Westport Winery, Westport. Enjoy this well-programmed festival which includes Art in the Vines, local cheese samplings, live jazz with the Electric Park Jazz Band and Fleur de Lis French Onion Soup. And, of course, don’t forget the wonderful wines of Westport Winery.

June 15 (through Aug 25)Birds of Prey at Skamania Lodge -     Fridays  5 p.m. and Saturdays 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Raptor House provides free educational programs with their Birds of Prey on the lawn of the hotel. Times may vary. For more information, please call their concierge at 800.221.7117.

June 14-17Planters Days  – Woodland  Planters Days is a four day festival celebrating the completed construction of the dikes along the Columbia and Lewis Rivers preventing the annual flooding in the Woodland area. Ninety-years-old this year, this is the longest continuously running civic celebration in the State of Washington. Lots happening with a parade, vendors, frog jumping, and a bed race. Details here.

June 15-16Doggie Olympic Games – No matter what the heritage of your dog, you can participate in this Long Beach dog show and prove that he or she is a champion. Dogs of all ages (except puppies under four months), sizes and abilities have a chance to compete. On the beach.

June 16Who’s Your Daddy? Beer Festival – Taste craft beers at this pre-Father’s Day event at Turtle Park (7th and Main) in downtown Vancouver. Ticket price: $15.00 includes commemorative tasting glass and 6 sample tokens. 21 and over only.

June 16-1731st Northwest Garlic Festival - Ocean Park continues it’s garlicky history with garlic food, garlic costumes and garlic crafts. Lots of entertainment. Wilson Park at 258th and Sandridge Road.  Free!

June 17Vancouver USA Marathon – Here is your chance to either prove your shins have what it takes to be a marathoner OR to cheer on those who do. Last year more than 3,000 participants from 40 states and six countries were part of the event. Includes a marathon, half-marathon, 5K event and children’s event. No registrations are accepted on the day of the race so get signed up! Lots happening all weekend. Don’t miss the after-party! Produced by Energy Events.

Curtis Salgado

June 22-23Gorge Blues and Brews Festival   The 19th annual Festival will be held at the Skamania County Fairgrounds in Stevenson. Hometown brewery Walking Man will be pouring great beer. Headliners include Curtis Salgado, Kevin Selfe and the Tornadoes, and Lisa Mann and her Really Good Band. $15 admission.

The famous egg in Winlock

June 22-24Winlock Egg Day Festival – Winlock The parade starts at 11 a.m. June 23 with the theme “Home is Where the Egg Is.” The festival will include an Egg Day Run and royalty. Check out this charming 2010 video about the World Largest Egg and Winlock.

June 23Junior Symphony of Vancouver   7:30 p.m. The Junior Symphony will be led by Conductor Collin Heade and will include the music of Handel, Lully, Richard Meyer and others. Vancouver First Church of God, 3300 NE 78th Street. $10. Tickets available at the door.

Glass garden sculptures from a past fair.

June 23-24Recycled Arts Festival – Vancouver. One of the most creative events of the year happens in Esther Short Park on the last weekend of June. For a preview, take a look at this ZEST blog post from the 2010 Festival.

See you out there in Southwest Washington!

 

June 3, 2012   1 Comment

30 April Events in SW Washington to Get You Out of the House!

It’s time to ignore the never-ending rain and get out of the house. From film to flowers, hiking to kayaking, contra to Indian dances, there are no excuses. See you out there!

WSU-V Native American Film Festival

April 4-6Native American Film Festival– Washington State University Vancouver is offering a Native American Film Series at 5:30 p.m. in the Dengerink Administration building, room 110. The series is free and open to the public. Each evening opens with a 30-minute guest lecture at 5:30 p.m. followed by the film screening at 6 p.m. Each film in the series addresses Native -American experiences with boarding schools. The speakers and films are:

April 4, “Older Than America” – Georgina Lightning, the film’s director and actress, will speak before the screening. In this contemporary drama of suspense, a woman’s haunting visions reveal a Catholic priest’s sinister plot to silence her mother from speaking the truth about the atrocities that took place at her Native American boarding school.

April 5, “Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School” – Jacqueline Peterson, WSU Vancouver professor emerita of history, will speak before the screening. This documentary uncovers the dark history of U.S. Government policy which took Indian children from their homes, forced them into boarding schools and enacted a policy of educating them in the ways of western society.

April 6, “The Only Good Indian” – Grace L. Dillon associate professor, indigenous nations studies at Portland State University will speak before the screening. In this film, set in Kansas during the early 1900s, a teen-aged Native American boy is taken from his family and forced to attend a distant Indian “training” school to assimilate into white society.

April 5First Thursday – Downtown Longview and Kelso  – Galleries and the Cowlitz County Historical Museum  are open in the evening with receptions at various galleries.

 April 6Full Moon Hikes at Ridgefield  National Wildlife Refuge . Evening hike, starting at 7:30 p.m. on the Oaks to Wetlands trail at the Refuge. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 360-887-3883 for reservations and details.

 April 6 – As always, there are multiple First Fridays around Clark County including Vancouver, Ridgefield and Camas. For details check out the Arts of Clark County calendar.

In Downtown Vancouver – At 7 p.m., don’t miss the unveiling of the latest addition of public art to downtown Vancouver – a sculpture by Dave and Jennifer at Cobalt Designworks installed at Evergreen and Main. No excuses for staying in on the first Friday of the month!

In Downtown Camas – Visit each participating merchant, pick an egg out of the basket and see if you can select the Golden Egg!  Special deals are inside each golden egg at each of the participating merchants!

First Iron Man Strong Ale Festival

April 7First Iron Man Strong Ale Festival -  Noon – 8 p.m. The inaugural event features this year’s release of Walking Man Brewing’s Iron Man Imperial IPA, live music, hot food and a chance to sample a variety of Strong Ales from various breweries. Held in honor of “Iron Man Jim Caldwell.” Skamania County Fairgrounds. Admission.

April 7Vintage Fishing Gear Show – Display and show at 9 a.m. at the spring meeting of the NW regional of the National Fishing Lure Collectors Club. Red Lion Hotel in Kelso. Details at 360-274-8045. Admission.

April 7Klickitat Trail Conservancy Birding walk – 7 a.m. Lyle trailhead  – 3-4 miles. This is a special area. From the Conservancy: “The Klickitat Trail follows the first 31 miles of an old railroad corridor linking the towns of Lyle and Goldendale.  It is unique among rail trails. Nowhere else is there a rail trail that starts in a remote, beautiful tributary canyon, winds along a nationally designated Wild & Scenic River, and finishes in one of the nation’s only National Scenic Areas.”

 April 7-9Razor Clam Dig! – Three beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch – will be open for morning razor clam digging all three days. Mocrocks will be open for two days, April 7-8, and Copalis will be open April 7 for one day only. Get the details here. Here is a ZEST post about our first excursion digging those delicious bivalves.

April 7-29Columbia River Kayaking has  a plethora of kayaking trips for beginners and experienced kayakers. Check out their calendar of trips here.  The river is really high right now. Be dry, safe and plan accordingly! Trips begin at their Paddle Center in Skamokawa unless otherwise listed.

April Contra in the Couve Caller Mary Devlin

April 13Contra in the Couve – Vancouver has a contra dance on the second Friday of every month at 7:30 p.m. the Hazel Dell Grange, 7509 NE Hazel Dell Ave. New and experience dancers welcome! Popular Portland caller Mary Devlin will be calling the dance. 

April 13-28Magenta Theater – Downtown Vancouver’s always entertaining theater company presents Hitchcock’s 39 Steps. Tickets are available here.

April 14Battle Ground Wine Loop – You can take the Battle Ground Wine Loop Tour bus around the loop for just $5 per person. It will make the loop all day long. Just hop on and off at each of the three participating wineries – Rusty Grape Vineyards, Heisen House Vineyards  and Olequa Cellars. Or take a designated chauffeur and drive the scenic 7-mile loop if you prefer.  Small tasting fees may apply at each location. Battle Ground Wine Loop from noon – 6, followed by live music after at Rusty Grape starting at 7 p.m.

April 14Klickitat Trail Conservancy Wildflower Walk – 10 a.m. 4 miles – Starting at the Lyle trailhead. Easy to moderate.

April 14-15Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – 3 p.m. on Saturday and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Winners of the Young Artist Competition will perform  the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 and the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Also All Classical’s Edmund Stone will narrate A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn with a performance by the Willamette University Chamber Choir. Buy Vancouver Symphony tickets here.

April 14-21Second Annual Cultural Immersion Week -   Immerse yourself in India! Columbia Theatre offers a wonderful schedule of events, culminating with a April 21 performance of Ragamala Dance (see below). Lots of events happening on Saturday, April 14 including Indian food, music, yoga, henna, fighting kites and “Bollywood Movez” dance lessons.

Holland American Bulb Farm Show Field

 

April 14-15 Woodland Tulip Festival –  The 10th Annual Woodland Tulip Festival will include annual blooming tulip fields, display garden and gift shop and much more. Check out the Holland America Bulb Farms Web site  for all of the events.

Cathlapotle Plankhouse

April 15Cathlapotle Plankhouse, Carty Unit of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, 28908 NW Main Ave., Ridgefield, WA –   The Plankhouse opens the season with a special presentation at 2 p.m. by Dr. Robert Carriker who will present “A Student in the Pacific Northwest: Sacagawea Travels the Columbia River.” Guided tours of the Plankhouse and children’s activities will be available from noon – 4 p.m.

April 19Sakura Festival – 1-4 p.m. To celebrate the breathtaking cherry blossoms that bloom in the spring, Clark College hosts an annual festival for the college and the region. The festival also honors Vancouver’s sister-city relationship with Joyo, Japan, which was established in 1995. This year, the Festival will also dedicate the new Royce Pollard Japanese Friendship Garden.

April 21Hometown Tourism Day – Many Long Beach Peninsula and Pacific County sites and museums are working together to promote Hometown Tourism Day. Check out the list of locations.

April 21Klickitat Trail Conservancy hike through Swale Canyon – 9 a.m. Lyle trailhead – 13 miles – strenuous. Early flowers should be at peak. The Trail is railroad gravel in places, so sturdy boots are needed.

April 21Kalama Word Catcher -  Writers take note – You can spend the entire day exploring your craft with an excellent roster of instructors including Larry Colton and Carolyn J. Rose. This is a benefit for the Kalama Public Library. Pre-register here.

April 21Columbia Theatre presents Ragamala Dance – 7:30 p.m. The classical dance troupe will perform “Sacred Earth” as part of the Second Annual Cultural Immersion Week sponsored by Columbia Theatre. Tickets available here.

April 21Trout Lake Run - The Half-Marathon, 10K & 5K running/walking events start and finish at Trout Lake School, which is the beneficiary of the event.

April 21Earth Day Celebrations – Lots happening around SW Washington. Check your local papers and Web sites!

April 21-22 Woodland Tulip Festival –  The 10th Annual Woodland Tulip Festival will include annual blooming tulip fields, display garden and gift shop and much more. Check out the Holland America Bulb Farms Web site  for all of the events.

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. Admission.  This is easily combined with a visit to the tulip festival! Here is a past  ZEST post on the Hulda Klager Lilac Days.

April 27-29Home and Garden Idea Fair -  The fair features hundreds of ideas on how to make your home, yard and garden a more beautiful, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly place. Sponsored by Clark Public Utilities.

April 28Klickitat Trail Conservancy hike from the town of Klickitat to Pitt – 9:30 a.m. Lyle trailhead – easy walk.

If these aren’t enough events to get you out of the house, check your local newspapers for more ideas!

April 1, 2012   No Comments

Happy New Year! January 2012 Calendar

The days are short and wet but there is plenty happening in Southwest Washington during January. No need to hunker down. Get out there and get involved!

January 2012 - It’s ALL happening at the 13 Fort Vancouver Regional Library District branches. Here is the FVRL January Schedule of Events.

Rusty Grape Vineyards

January 14 - Battle Ground Wine Loop – Noon to 5 p.m. This wine tour includes Heisen House Vineyards, Olequa Cellars and Rusty Grape Vineyards, where live music will start at 7 p.m. This will be a regular event on the second Saturdays of the month.

SOLD OUT! January 14The 2nd Annual Martin Luther King Breakfast will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Red Lion at the Quay, 100 Columbia Street, in Vancouver. the event theme is The Collaborative Society. Featured speakers are Jaymes Winters, CEO Blue Leopard Capital; Sarah Mensah, SVP, Portland Trailblazers; and Dr. James Mason, Exec Director, Cultural Caregiving, Providence. There will also be musical performances by Deborah Kimbrough, Gail Thomas and Violinist Shania Watts. This year’s event promises to be as inspirational as the 2011 breakfast. The event is hosted by Mosaic Blueprint. To purchase a ticket, click here.

January 14-15 - 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.

Saturday January 14th
10 – 11:30 am Demonstration Show
2 – 3:30 pm Indoor Ballet Competition
3:30 – 5 pm Free Flying & Lessons for all ages

Sunday January 15th
11 – 12 am Indoor Hot Tricks
12 – 1:30 pm Demonstration Show
1:30 – 2:30 pm Grand Finale

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

The Blacksmith Shop at Fort Vancouver

January 21Fort 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 21-22
First Long Beach Peninsula Razor Clam Dig of the Year! - Dates are always tentative but the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced digs on evening tides at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. Licenses are required. No clamming is allowed before noon. Go here to read a past ZEST blog post on clamming. For details read the official WDFW announcement. Here are the rules and regulations.

January 21-22 - 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!

January 22Legends of Mexico-Leyendas de Mexico at 2 p.m. Columbia Theatre in Longview offers a delightful Rainy Day Series, which is family-friendly entertainment in the beautifully restored theatre. Nuestro Canto shares legends from all over Mexico and has composed music especially for the legends narrated during their performances. Tickets are only $5 and available here.

January 26-28Clark College Jazz Festival – This is the 50th year of the Clark College Jazz Festival! The Festival hosts more than 60 middle school and high school vocal and instrumental jazz ensembles in a three-day celebration of jazz. Gaiser Hall will be THE most musical site in Clark County during this renowned festival!

January 29 - 2nd Annual National Unpublished Writers’ Day Workshop at the Clark County Historical Museum. noon – 5 pm.

National Unpublished Writers’ Day is an annual event held in partnership between the Clark County Historical Museum, the Writing Center at Washington State University Vancouver, the Creative Media & Digital Culture Program at Washington State University Vancouver. The event highlights The Brautigan Library Collection at the Museum, Washington-born writer Richard Brautigan who conceived the idea for a library where anyone could contribute unpublished books, regardless of content or quality of writing, and all those folks who wish to create or communicate through writing.

The free event will feature a series of “creative stations” and workshops around the Museum, each offering different opportunities to learn or experience something associated with different aspects or kinds of writing.

Lion Dance from the FVRL 2010 Chinese New Year Celebration

January 29Chinese New Year Celebration – 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. – Vancouver Community Library – Gung Hay Fat Choy! The new downtown library will be the site of this year’s lively Chinese New Year celebration in Vancouver. This is a wonderfully colorful, all-ages festival that will include Chinese New Year customs and history. Performances include singing, dancing, martial arts demonstration, Gu Zheng (Chinese musical instrument) and lion dance, which will be performed by the Portland Lee’s Association Lion Dance Team. Craft activities are available on Level 3 after the program. ZEST visited the 2010 Chinese New Year Celebration and had a great time! For more information, call 699-8831.

January 28-29Vancouver Symphony Orchestra – Vancouver’s excellent symphony features offers acclaimed violinist Francisco Garcia-Fullana playing he Sibelius Violin Concerto. The symphony will also perform Eugen Onegin: Polonaise by Tchaikovsky and Symphony No. 3 by Tchaikovsky with the passionate Salvador Brotons conducting. 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. Better yet, buy the new three concert package!

January 6, 2012   No Comments

Ending One Year and Starting A New One in Nature

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~John Muir

December 26, 2011. The weather is gray and thick with the usual probability of rain. With the passing of another Christmas (accompanied by too many cookies and glasses of rumified eggnog) and singing of Auld Lang Syne coming up, it’s a good day for a walk.

We’re back from Iceland where it was stunningly beautiful but too frigid to do much serious hiking. In our own backyard is the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. Friends of the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge also has an excellent Web site. No need for a passport or phrase book. A bird list is helpful, however. Ditto for waterproof boots (in case you accidently hike in the soupy grasslands like we did) and binoculars.

The route to the Refuge passes through the town of Ridgefield, which offers an excellent coffee break, either coming or going, at the Old Liberty Theater. About two miles down the road is the parking lot and the trailhead for the Carty Unit.

The Refuge has more than 5,000 acres under the Pacific Flyway. It’s an interstate highway for migrating waterfowl like trumpeter and tundra swans, sandhill cranes and seven sub-species of geese. Egrets and great blue herons linger year-round. This is the area where, in November 1805, Captain William Clark recorded a sleepless night in his journal due to the all-night cacophony of waterfowl.

Reading about the historic site at the trailhead.

After paying the $3 per party entrance fee at the parking lot, hiking in the Carty Unit begins with displays about the Cathlapotle Plankhouse, which has been re-created in the Refuge. Lewis and Clark documented 14 plankhouses in 1805. The Plankhouse is closed in winter but the exterior is visible.

The Cathlapotle Plankhouse

The Refuge offers straight trails and loops, which wind past stunning white oak trees wrapped in feathery lichen. Young ferns nurse in the air on branches covered in moss. Doug fir trees and spruce complete the woods which are heaped with native plants like Oregon grape and another checklist of understory plants.

A few photos of the Refuge:

The start of the trail.

A good hike for families.

Birdwatching in the grassland.

Ducks and a lone heron.

Ferns in the air.

Teasel.

Massive beaver lodge.

Egret on the hunt.

In flight.

One of the resident songbirds.

Green on green in the understory.

A surreal feathery world of moss and lichen.

It’s time to remember 2011 and celebrate 2012. In the words of John Muir, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” May you have many encounters with nature in the New Year.

December 27, 2011   No Comments

A Dog’s Life: Who’s Walking Whom?

It’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Most Southwest Washington residents are snoozing. Not so for Sam, Buddy and Jesse. Ditto for Pink and Gidget. The Ross Off-Leash Dog Recreation Area in Vancouver is animated with wide-awake canines and, of course, their owners.

The 8-acre park is managed by DOGPAW, the Dog Owners Group for Park Access in Washington. The group’s Mission is “to work with dog owners and the community at large to promote awareness and acceptance and to increase the availability for safe off leash areas for dogs in Clark County.” Located on BPA Complex grounds at NE Ross St and NE 15th Ave, the park offers a large, hilly off leash area with walking trail and collection of benches, plus an adjacent park for smaller dogs.

The owners may be walking the dogs, but the dogs are exercising their masters, too. Many a dog owner has gotten in shape following his or her hound up and down the hilly park. Some walk the 3/4 mile loop multiple times for a human workout.

So who is out there?

Bruce and Sam

Sam

Don and Pink

Pink

Buddies

7:30 a.m. - Surrounded by dogs

Pink and Gidget, who longingly looks out from the small dog area

Where are the sheep?

Hanging out in the flowers

Kings and queen of the bark dust hill

Buddy of Buddy and Bosco

Bosco looking for friends

Love in the dog park: Bosco finds Sparky

8 a.m. - More canines and companions hit the trail

Pure joy...

“The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.” (author unknown)

Enough said.

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August 14, 2011   No Comments