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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

Burnt Bridge Cellars Opens in Downtown Vancouver, Joins Local Wine and Brew Scene

Clark County has yet another new and welcome winery. Downtown Vancouver is the location for Burnt Bridge Cellars, which opened the weekend of May 18-20. The former location of Sigma Design at 1500 Broadway has been transformed into a tasting room, cellar and bottling area.

The tasting room at 15th and Broadway in downtown Vancouver

David Smith and Mark Mahan have made wine together for several years, winning multiple awards in the 2010 WineMaker International Amateur Wine Competition for their Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlot, Syrah and blends under the David Mark Wines label.

Proof is in the tasting. Burnt Bridge Cellar’s current wines merit their new professional status. Just after opening, in fact, they won a gold medal at the 2012 Seattle Wine Awards for their 2010 Les Collines Viognier.

Mark Mahan and David Smith

Opening weekend we tasted their Semillon, Pont Brule, Syrah and Mourvedre. We enjoyed them all. A lovely bottle of Pont Brule joined our wine cellar. It won’t last long.

Burnt Bridge Cellars has joined another downtown winery and tasting room, Gouger Cellars at 1812 Washington. Look out, Walla Walla!

The Burnt Bridge Cellars tasting room will be open on Saturdays and Sundays f rom 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on every First Friday night. Beyond downtown Vancouver, Clark County wineries will also be open Memorial Day Weekend as well as other dates. Details and a map are here.

You haven’t been left out, beer aficionados!
Beer lovers have not been neglected.  Mt. Tabor Brewing, which is open on Friday nights, at 113 W. 9th, the Beer by the Bottle store and taproom at 104 W. Evergreen (and their recent acquisition of the Salmon Creek Brew Pub) and the future opening of Loowit Brewing Company, which is being constructed across from the Hilton on Columbia, feature quality brews.

Beer connoisseurs have, in fact, two upcoming events of their own – the Who’s Your Daddy? Beer Festival on June 15 at Turtle Park at 9th and Main in downtown Vancouver. And the first Vancouver Brewfest USA will be held on August 10-11 at Esther Short Park.

Winemakers, brewers…welcome, all!

 

 

 

 

 

May 24, 2012   2 Comments

SW Washington Wineries: An Interview with Winemaker Michele Bloomquist of Heisen House Vineyards

Southwest Washington has a very dynamic wine industry. WineTrails NW lists 30 wineries in the region. Wineries are scattered throughout the area in scenic rural areas and urban settings like downtown Vancouver.  This is the first in a series of profiles of Southwest Washington wineries and winemakers.

First up – an interview with Michele Bloomquist of  Heisen House Vineyards. With its historic, 1898 home and restored barn, which is one of the oldest in Clark County, Heisen House Vineyards is located just north of Battle Ground at 28005 NE 172nd Avenue on a site with a rich history. The Heisen House is a family home and not open to the public. However, outdoor and indoor tasting rooms (in a beautifully remodeled milking parlor) allow for visiting the winery regardless of the weather on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 5 p.m.

A benefit of blogging – this interview was conducted while sampling nine(!) different wines in the outdoor tasting room. We are happy to report that all were excellent and two (2009 Sangiovese and 2010 “Happy” Sparkling White Wine) were purchased for later consumption.

 

Winemaker Michele Bloomquist of Heisen House Vineyards

 

Michele Bloomquist (MB): The first wine I ever heard of was Boone’s Farm. And then there were all the country coolers and all that stuff. I graduated from college in 1996.  I got a job at a company in San Francisco and I would go down there on Monday morning and come back on Thursday night. I had a good friend who lives down there and she and her husband loved to go wine tasting. They would take me wine tasting to Napa and Sonoma and that was my first introduction to wine tasting. That is how it happened in 1998 or 1999.

ZEST: How did you learn to make wine? Who were your mentors? Did you have special training?

MB: Walt Houser at Bethany Vineyard was very supportive as was Carl English of English Estate Winery. I’ve picked everybody’s brains and whenever a problem comes up, Gary Gouger of Gouger Cellars, has been very helpful. He has a degree in enology. And I also learned from books and just doing it.

I have taken some classes at Clark College. John Dingenthal and Bill Fuller were the teachers and I learned a lot from them as well.  Those classes were really helpful. I was already winemaking  by the time I started taking those classes but both of those professors were 20-year veterans of the industry so it was a great opportunity to learn from them about vines and wines.

The Historic Heisen House (1898)

ZEST: How did you end up with your winery? When was it founded?

MB: It wasn’t a plan. It happened by accident. I was driving by one day and I saw a little glimpse of the peak of the roof of the house. At that time, it was completely surrounded by bushes and shrubs.  You could hardly see there was house there. All this [the vineyard] was blackberries and briars, tires and stumps and concrete chunks. But I could see a little glimpse of the house so I pulled in and there was a for sale sign. That was 2002.

I fell in love with the house and that’s how I came here. During the process of making the offer, I found out that the house was on the state and national historic registers and here it was vacant and falling apart and neglected and the barn was falling down and the house hadn’t been cared for in many years. That is what first brought me to this property. I knew that I wanted to do something to share it with people because it’s a historic place.

So at first I was going to do a lavender farm, which you can see the remnants of my first voyage into lavender. Then that same summer the apple trees were loaded with apples and a friend said “Hey, let’s make hard apple cider.”  I had never made alcohol before but I had been wine tasting and it was so much fun and it turned out good and I was hooked.

So the next year I made cider and wine and then I started helping Walt and other people and reading about it and learning about it. You learn a lot by doing it. I spent about five years of hobby winemaking before Walt (of Bethany Vineyard) and other people were saying “You should open a winery.” So I can either thank Walt or blame him depending on the day!

The barn, tasting building and vineyard.

ZEST: Where do you get your grapes? For on-site grapes – how many acres do you grow and what kind are they?

MB: We opened on Memorial Day weekend, 2010.  We have one acre of grapes in production. I have Gamay Noir, Tempranillo, Gewurztraminer and Orange Muscat. It’s a test for the area. We are still trying to establish what grapes are right for Clark County.

We buy our grapes from growers in Eastern Washington (Walla Walla and Benton City). Our vines are still two summers away from having fruit. We’ll have hopefully four barrels of wine from those vines. But we are making 500 cases of wine a year so we have well exceeded what our vineyard would be able to provide. We are growing and we don’t have enough land to plant all the grapes that we need so we will always have to both purchase and grow, which is very common in the industry.

ZEST: What are your available wines?

MB: Currently, available wines are Reds – Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet, Cab Franc, Tempranillo and “one Love” Reserve Red Blend (all vintage 2009) and Whites – Dry Muscat, Dry Rose and Happy (a sparkling wine) (all vintage 2010). (Descriptions are available here.)

ZEST: Which is your favorite?

MB: Cabernet Franc

ZEST: Where are your wines available?

MB: Just here for now. We are probably going to have our wines soon at the Heisson Store and Mill Creek Pub in Battle Ground.

Heison House Winemakers Chris Eckels and Michelle Bloomquist

ZEST: How do you spend your days? What is a typical day for a winemaker?

MB: Well, I have another business. I work full-time as a freelance writer so Monday through Friday, I’m wearing my writing hat and the winery is our evening and weekend endeavor. My typical day is juggling  responsibilities – family, a freelance career and then the wine.

I don’t know if there is such a typical day. It’s very seasonal, in the fall we are making wine, in the winter, we are planning for the summer and pruning, in the spring we are bottling, in the summer we are open and waiting for the grapes and maintenance.

ZEST: How would you describe the SW Washington wine industry?

MB: We are in the golden age which is the emerging winery region. It’s a very special time. At every one of these wineries most likely the person behind the bar is going to be the winemaker who is pouring the wine. It’s a very special time and a very small window. For a lot of people who are serious wine tourers, that is the epitome of the winery experience to meet the winemaker at every single stop and you can do that here in Clark County.

ZEST: When you aren’t drinking your own wines, what are your current favorites?

MB:  My very favorite and probably the first wine that I tasted it and “got it” what good wine was at a place called The Pines in the Columbia Gorge. Their Red Zinfandel, which often sells out, that was the first time I thought “Wow, this is what good wine tastes like.” I would say that Hood River is one of my favorite areas (for tasting).

Lavender crop

ZEST: What is the best thing about being a winemaker?

MB: The best thing about is when the truck pulls up with a big bin of grapes and it’s time to get dirty.  That’s the very best part of being a winemaker. It is fun to make wine. I LOVE it.

ZEST: What is the hardest thing about being a winemaker?

MB: It is probably that I don’t get to go wine tasting as much as I used to and I miss it! And I would love to do more traveling but for right now we are growing our business and we need to be here.

ZEST: What is coming up that you’re excited about for your winery?

MB: We have the Battle Ground Wine Loop Tour next Saturday. Memorial Weekend is our big kickoff of the season – we will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, noon to 6 p.m. We are launching our Friday night music that same weekend. Every Friday night we will have music from 6-9 p.m. and a local restaurant comes out and serves food starting Memorial Day weekend all the way to the end of September. And then we have four farm festivals in the summer where we have artists and craftspeople come and set up and then we have fun that way, too!

Winery Details

Details about Heisen HouseVineyards are available at the winery Web site. The Battle Ground Wine Loop Tour,  which is held the 2nd Saturday of the month, visits Heisen House Vineyards along with Rusty Grape Vineyard and Olequa Cellars. For a complete (and growing!) list and map of 11 Clark County wineries visit here. For a longer list of wineries throughout Southwest Washington, visit WineTrailsNW.  No need to head to Napa. Get out there and try our local wines!

Winery photos courtesy of Heisen House Vineyards.

 

 

 

 

April 12, 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

February is For Hearts and Horses, Art and Wine, Cinderella…and Chocolate!

February is a short month that offers a long list of activities. From quilts to chocolate, kites to Chalacha – no need to stay home.

February 1-29Castle Rock Quilt Show – Castle Rock Exhibit Hall, 147 Front Ave NW, More than 80 quilts All those tiny stitches! Don’t miss them at the quilt show.

Friday, February 3 – First Fridays in Multiple Cities!

February 3 - First Friday – Ridgefield, 5 to 8 p.m.- Alcove Art Gallery will feature nine artists for the month of February. The theme will be entitled “Passion for Art.” Shops and restaurants will be open, too.

February 3A Chocolate Affair to Remember – 5 to 8 p.m. in downtown Camas. Sample locally made chocolates, specialty chocolate drinks and more! Plus local quilters kick off 2012 with a show of their original work at Second Story Gallery in Camas. The annual open exhibit in February will begin with a reception on First Friday and remain on view inside the Camas Public Library through the end of the month.

February 3 - First Friday Artwalk – Downtown Vancouver, 5 to 9 p.m. Always a great celebration of community and fine art and a way to stroll with neighbors and friends. Downtown shops, restaurants and lounges welcome you as well. Art is leading the way for changes in downtown Vancouver!

February 3Wintertide – VSO Chamber Music Group – 7 p.m. Trinity Lutheran Church 309 W. 39th Street in Vancouver. The Columbia River Brass present various styles from composers including Wilke Renwick, Samuel Scheidt, Eric Ewazen, Dave Robertson and J.S. Bach. Concert is repeated on February 5 at 3 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Camas.

February 3-4Indoor Market – Long Beach Grange, 5715 Sandridge Rd., 10am to 4pm. A variety of vendors will be selling farm fresh eggs, home-baked goods, handcrafted items, goat cheese and goat milk soaps, gift items, art, jewelry and more. Lunch will be served from the Grange kitchen.

February 4Stand up Comedy at the Old Liberty Theater - Downtown Ridgefield. 7:30 p.m. An evening of “honest comedy” featuring: Ian Karmel- From IFC’s “Portlandia” plus other comics. 21 and older. Tickets by phone: Don Griswold, don@oldlibertytheater.com, booking phone (360) 601-7549.

February 4-5Asian New Year at the World Kite Museum – Long Beach. This opening has special events to introduce the Bali Kite Exhibit. The exhibit lasts until March 25.

February 7Chocolate Confession by Joan FreedKiggins Theatre in downtown Vancouver. This hilarious one-woman show is a fundraiser for the Pink Lemonade Project. This is a perfect warm up for Valentine’s Day!

February 10-25Sense and Sensibility - Magenta Theater – downtown Vancouver’s theater troupe presents an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel in their intimate theater.

February 11Valentine’s TeaPomeroy Living History Farm, 20902 NE Lucia Falls Rd., Yacolt. Noon. Reservations required (360.686.3537). Seasonal menu will include assorted tea sandwiches, scones, desserts and two kinds of tea. A tour of the historic log house can be added for a small, extra charge.

February 11-12Columbia Gorge Wineries Valentine’s Day Open House Weekend – Columbia Gorge Wineries in Washington and Oregon. Winery Open House Hours are 11am – 6pm. What a great opportunity to taste and purchase wine for Valentine’s Day.

February 12Bravo! Concert Series – Leonard Bernstein Mass – St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, 400 S. Andresen Road, Vancouver. 2 p.m. Leonard Bernstein’s Mass blends sacred text, human emotions and musical styles – from classical to sacred, rock, blues and jazz. The Bravo! Chorale, guest soloists, and Chamber Orchestra will perform.

February 14 - Musical Dinner Theater Historic Trout Lake Country Inn. Go up and play in the snow on Mt. Adams and then enjoy a dinner show.

February 16-19CinderellaThe Columbia Theatre presents Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. February 16th at 7pm, February 17th at 7pm, February 18th at 2pm & 7pm, and February 19th at 2pm.

February 17-19Washington State Horse Expo – Horses and equestrians come together en masse at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds. Check out the full program schedule.

February 18-20 Columbia Gorge Wineries President’s Day Open Houses – Yet another wine weekend as the Gorge wineries open up again to celebrate President’s Day. More than 30 wineries will be open with special releases and discounts. Live music at Maryhill Winery.

February 21 - Volcano Views & Brews – Tommy O’s Pacific Rim Bistro in downtown Vancouver at 801 Washington Street. Doors open at 5 pm. Speaker presents from 6:30 – 8 pm. Rick McClure, the Forest Archaeologist and Heritage Program Manager for Gifford Pinchot National Forest presents “The Place Called Chalacha – History Beneath the MSH Monument Headquarters and Chelatchie Prairie.”

What a great month! See you out there!

February 2, 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!

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January 6, 2012   No Comments