The focus of life on Saturday in Hood River will be the Columbia River. The seventh annual Columbia River Fest (formerly called the Columbiana Festival) brings day-long activities to town, culminating in a night of music along the waterfront. Columbia River Fest is a benefit for Columbia Riverkeeper, a Hood River-based non-profit organization that works to protect the water quality of the Columbia River.
Daytime activities fall under the auspices of For the River Day, an offshoot of the Columbia River Fest that highlights downtown Hood River. A children’s parade kicks things off at 10:30 a.m., led by the Portland marching band, The Lions of Batucada. The parade, whose theme is “A River Runs Through it,” is open to all kids and parents. Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite animal or carry a fish sign. They can walk or ride bikes and scooters. The Lions of Batucada is a 40-member marching percussion ensemble with dancers that plays the African-influenced samba dance music of Brazil. To be in the parade, meet at Front and State streets at 10 a.m.
After the parade, kids can participate in a treasure hunt through the streets of Hood River. More than 40 local businesses who are supporting the day’s events will have “For the River Day” posters in their windows. Kids will find clues for the treasure hunt in these participating businesses.
“This is going to be a really fun event,” said Julie Davies, development and outreach director for Columbia Riverkeeper. “The clue hunt will not only give kids a chance to hunt for clues downtown but will educate them about the Columbia River.” The first three kids to complete the hunt will get a special treasure bag. The first 150 children to successfully collect all of the clues will receive a kid’s t-shirt.
Along with the downtown events, Hood River Outfitters is hosting kid’s kayaking as part of the day’s activities from 11 to 4. Information will be available at the parade.
Businesses participating in For the River Day are donating a portion of their day’s sales on Saturday to Columbia Riverkeeper.
“It is very inspiring to be a part of a community that actively supports their river,” said Cyndy deBruler, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper. “Every sign or River Fest poster you see in a business window deserves a thank you from community citizens, and shopping at that store that day will show you care about a healthy river, too.”
The Columbia River Fest entertainment kicks off at 5 p.m. at the festival venue along the waterfront just west of Luhr Jensen (past the Event Site). Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Many vendors from Hood River’s Saturday Market will be on hand selling goods, as well as several food vendors.
Headlining the event is rock and blues legend Bo Diddley. (See sidebar.) Other artists performing are Jesus Presley, The Rose City Kings and the New Iberians. A beer and wine garden will be on site. An after-show party will be hosted by Area 54.
Advance tickets for the event are $20 and are available at Waucoma Bookstore, Klindt’s Book Sellers in The Dalles or through Tickets West at 800-992-8499. Tickets at the gate will be $25. To keep the festival a family event, Columbia Riverkeeper is offering a special family ticket that can only be purchased locally through the CRK office. A family ticket is $45 for CRK members and you can join easily if you’re not already a member. Corporate packages of discount tickets are also available. Call 387-3030 for more information.
Business sponsors of For the River Day are: Gorge Dog, Gorge Surf Shop, Hood River Bagel Company, Hood River Nutrition, Hood River Ford/Mercury, Ikote, Mike’s Ice Cream, Northwave, Mountain View Cycles, Pasquales’ Ristorante, Taco del Mar, Big Winds, Columbia Photo, The Crazy Pepper, Doug’s Sports, Full Sail Tasting Room and Pub, Second Wind Sports, Storm Warning, Sailworks R & D Loft, Shred Threads, Waucoma Bookstore, Windance, Air Time, At Home on Oak, G.Willikers, Franz Hardware, Twiggs, A Salon and Day Spa, City Market, Kerrits, Annz Panz, Discover Bikes, Carousel Candy Co., Windermere, Cascade Travel, Hood River Jewelers, Gorge Networks, Squrl Music, Sticks and Stones, Body Skins, Les Schwab, Hood River Wine Bar, Hood River Outfitters, River City Saloon, Don Perry Metal Art at Made in the Gorge, Panzanella, and Abruzzo.