Oak Street was abuzz with action during July First Friday activities last week, and the epicenter of action was in front of the British Pub, where a large crowd gathered to cheer on breakdancers battling it out in the seventh-annual Breaking in the Gorge competition.
Started by Oscar Villalobos, Hood River native and 1999 Hood River Valley High School graduate, the event was originally just a way to give dancers a captive audience to practice their latest moves. First Friday provided that, and within a few years word got out about the event in northwest breakdancing circle. With sponsors (this year the British Pub) chipping in to provide prize money, the event drew 32 dancers, who faced off in crews of two until only the best pair – called The Freshest Kids –– from Portland and Seattle was left to grab the $300 prize.
Villalobos says although the event does not offer much prize money, dancers from all over the Northwest have been coming to the event the last several years because they enjoy traveling through the Gorge and visiting Hood River.