'Bang!' goes summer

Fresh fruit, big art, hot rods and ‘Dino Train’ — what’s happening in the Gorge’s splendid season

What are the sounds of summer?

Certainly the “whoosh” of kites, a “splash” in the river, or that “crackling” campfire.

The Big Five

Events that just plain draw the biggest crowds of summer:


July 23-26 — Hood River County Fairgrounds, 3020 Wy’east Rd., Odell (541/354-2865, www.hoodriverfair...)

The Hood River County Fair arrives with fun and entertainment for the whole family in the scenic heart of the beautiful Hood River Valley! Tradition, with plenty of exciting “new” attractions! Recently named “Best in Oregon.” Great nationally-known entertainment, fascinating displays, carnival rides, music and entertainment, livestock, flowers, 4-H exhibits, art, fantastic food, and much, much more.


Hood River hosts a parade, the Kollas-Cranmer Memorial Run from Odell to Hood River, 10 a.m. parade, Jackson Park activities, and fireworks show; the Odell parade starts at 4 p.m,, and in Cascade Locks, fireworks explode at dusk.


6 p.m. Thursdays in August, Jackson Park, Hood River —

Intro acts start at 6 p.m., along with food vendors and other activities, with headliner taking the stage at 7 p.m. Aug. 7 – Radical Revolution (‘80s gems); Aug. 14, Baskery (Banjopunk Americana); Aug. 21, Jukebox Heroes (Foreigner Tribute); Aug. 28, Hit Machine.


(Hood River and Cascade Locks)— Free shows start at dusk, in Jackson Park in Hood River and Marine Park in Cascade Locks. Movies are shown each week from July 12-Aug. 23, except for July 26 (County Fair time). First Hood River movie: “Bolt,” rated PG, 96 minutes.


Cascade Locks, June 27-29 – see page A1 for details, and photo at right; highlights include Saturday parade down WaNaPa Avenue, Mountain Man Encampment all three days on Thunder Island, vendors and games in the park, and music; most events take place in Marine Park.

How about “Fizz Boom Bang”? That’s the name of the new summer reading program in the Hood River Library District. The program’s kickoff started last week and includes a performance of award-winning puppetry about diverse cultures, performed by Tears of Joy Puppets, at 1 p.m. on June 25 at Parkdale Community Church.

Summer Reading is just one example of the wide range of events for people of all ages that make summer in Hood River County a busy place.

Find more details on the reading program under Classes and Camps. Also on this page, Hikes and Treks, Art and About, “The Big Five,” and other categories, following a county-wide list of selected events in June through August.

Events in June, July and August

June 27-29 — Sternwheeler Days, Cascade Locks – See Big Five, this page

June 28-29 – Gorge Windfest, Event Site, Hood River: demos, clinics, music, food, games and more.

July 12 – WAAAM Traffic Jam, Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, 8 a.m. Admission with paid museum entrance; 1600 Air Museum Road, Hood River (one mile south of town off Tucker Road)

July 11-12 – Gorge Days, North Bonneville: All events take place at or around North Bonneville City Park. The new Bonneville Event Center will open its doors at 8 p.m. on Friday night for an open mic session. All musicians are encouraged to join in.

Saturday’s highlight is “Too Hot for the Streets” with 300 to 400 hot rods, classic cars and vehicles of every vintage expected; the event is a fundraiser for the North Bonneville Volunteer Fire Department. Hit Machine will give a free concert at 4 p.m. in the main park. For more information and the full schedule of activities, visit www.gorgedays.net or call 800-989-9178.

July 19-20 — Hood River Lavender 10th annual Lavender Daze Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 3801 Straight Hill Road, Odell; music, u-pick lavender, vendors, and more.

July 19-20 — Cherry Festival, Hood River valley: Farms and attractions all along the valley’s famous Fruit Loop are welcoming the arrival of the summer’s first tree fruit with the Hood River County Fruit Loop Cherry Celebration, Saturday and Sunday. Many varieties of fresh-picked cherries will be available all along the Fruit Loop during the Cherry Celebration. There’ll also be other wonderful cherry treats, as well as scenery and fun activities. Find early-summer produce and flowers. Pack a picnic, or enjoy meals available at some Fruit Loop locations, and create a family memory by eating at one of the Loop’s free picnic areas.

Admission to Fruit Loop farms and attractions is free, and most are open from at least 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Some have longer hours; wineries open at 11 a.m.). There is free parking, too.

For information about the Hood River Cherry Celebration, a complete listing of Fruit Loop farms and attractions, and an easy-to-follow map, visit the Fruit Loop website at www.hoodriverfruit-loop.com


July-August — Dinosaur Train, based on the hit PBS Kids television series, comes to Mt. Hood Railroad for the first time.. During the two hour journey families will become acquainted with Buddy, the lovable and curious T. Rex while enjoying music, stories, snacks and a stop at Nature Tracker’s Adventure Park.

Passengers board the train in Hood River and travel 30 minutes with the safari crew before arriving at the Nature Tracker’s Adventure Park. Families then hop off for 90 minutes of park exploration and activities correlating with a personal adventure game card. The Mount Hood Railroad’s Dinosaur Train departs July 18-20, 25-27 and Aug. 1-3, 8-10 on Fridays at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. and Saturday/Sundays at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

For details or to purchase tickets on the Dinosaur Train, call 800-872-4661 or visit www.oregondinosaur-train.com. Tickets begin at $30 per adult and $25 per child.


August 2014 — Van Gogh Days with a weekend of activities at Rasmussen Farms, 3020 Thomsen Road, six miles south of Hood River (Highway 35 to Glass Road). Sunflowers are blooming throughout August, and available for viewing daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (541/386-4622, 1-800-548-2243 www.rasmussen-farms.com) More than 70 varieties of the bright blooms are growing in the farm’s huge flower gardens. Paint or photograph them, cut some to take home, or just enjoy the joyful nodding of their bright heads. Sunflower recipes, desserts and surprises, too. During the weekend of Aug.2-3, enjoy a quilt show and sale, wine tasting from Hood River Vineyards, food, vegetable games, treasure hunts, and live music in the afternoons.

Can’t make it that weekend? The sunflowers will bloom for about a month. Come see, photograph, paint or pick them any day of the week; admission is free. Reservations are suggested for photo clubs or art groups to assure the staff can provide each with the best service.


Aug. 16-17 — Summer Fruit Celebration, Hood River County Fruit Loop. August means a diverse selection of fruit and produce available at the Summer Fruit Celebration. Find late season cherries and early season apples, including Gravenstein apples, considered “the best” by many for pies, applesauce, and desserts. There are also berries, various stone fruits, and a wonderful selection of summer produce. Enjoy fields of sunflowers, zinnias, dahlias, and more colorful flowers. Pick some to take home. Savor delicious food, including barbecue, l baked goods, gourmet food products, including jams, jellies, syrups, dried fruit, tasty ice cream, and more. Also find lavender and lavender products, alpacas, yarns, and more. Visit scenic tasting rooms to try award-winning wines and hard ciders. Many farms have picnic areas, too.

Information at www.hood-riverfruitloop.com, or call 541-387-7697.

Classes and camps

Columbia Center for the Arts — Classes for children and adults throughout the summer in both visual and performing arts. Visit the website www.columbia-arts.org for more information and to sign up.

Classes include “Writing for Performance” workshop with Cassandra Medley, June 28-29; “Bold Color, Bold Shapes” watercolor workshop with Sally Bailey on July 19; “Plein Air Painting and the Art of Composing on the Fly” workshop with Thomas Jefferson Kitts, July 25-27; “An Adult Adventure in Class workshop with Terri Johanson and Charlene Fort on July 12.

Gorge Grown Cooking Series — June through October: Take classes in bread baking, antipasto, salsa, soups, Tapas, juicing, vegetable fermenting, pies, summer grilling, and more. Hood River Middle School kitchen; see Community Ed catalog.

Summer Reading — Hood River County Library District welcomes everyone - kids, teens, and adults - to participate in the libraries’ special reading programs this summer.

Prizes will be given out to those who reach their goals. Events are planned at all three libraries in Hood River, Cascade Locks, and Parkdale, as well as in Odell.

Children including next fall’s fifth graders are invited to “Fizz, Boom, Read!” Throughout the summer, the libraries will have various performers, including musicians, puppets, reptiles, and comedians, courtesy of the Friends of the Library. G. Williker’s Toy Shoppe is also providing regular “crafternoons”. All this will be wrapped up in August with a pirate party, featuring a pirate band, costumes, a treasure hunt, and ice cream donated by Mike’s Ice Cream.

Even more summer fun is being planned for those who will be in sixth grade up to those going into 12th grade this fall with the “Spark a Reaction” program. Middle and high school students may sign up for the summer reading program at the Hood River, Parkdale, and Cascade Locks libraries starting June 17.

This reading incentive program will also be offered in Odell this summer. Prizes will be awarded for the number of hours spent reading. There are loads of fun programs for middle and high school students to attend all summer long.

Adults can join in on the fun this year, too. Every book and audiobook counts for an entry into the prize raffle for an e-reader or gift certificates to great local businesses.

There will be some great programming for adults, too, including sessions on ice age geology, ghost towns, gardening, and more.

For details call the Library District at 541-386-2535,

info@hoodriverlibrary.org, or visit their website at


Want more?

We recommend three publications that will tell you just about all you need to know for planning your summer in the Gorge:

Columbia Gorge Visitors Guide, a joint publication of Hood River News and The Dalles Chronicle. Look into “Camp”, “Hike”, “Learn”, “Drive” , “Dine” and “Drink” for details on events, museums, waterfalls, foot and bike trails, galleries, brew pubs, wineries, and much more.

Hood River Community Education Spring/Summer catalogue, full of all kinds of information on classes and community activities – available at local businesses, school offices, and Community Ed, 1009 Eugene St.

Hood River County Fairbook – Start planning now to attend, and perhaps participate, as exhibitor, contestant or vendor at the July 23-26 gathering. Fairbooks are available at businesses throughout Hood River County, and at the fairgrounds office in Odell.


Three local farmers’ markets offer access to fresh produce grown by your neighbors:

n Hood River Farmers’ Market, Thursdays 4-7 p.m. at Hood River Middle School; Hood River;

n Saturday Market, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 5th and Columbia streets;

n The new Mercado del Valle, Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mid Valley Elementary School, in the new covered playshed, through September.

Gardeners may bring produce to sell, when they have it, to the Mercado’s La Mesa Comunitaria (community table) any Mercado Saturday.


Saturday day hikes – See Community Ed catalog for full listing of hikes, which include upcoming outings (medium difficulty, each ranging 6-7 miles) to Wahtum Lane and Chindere Mountain on June 28; elks Meadows on July 5 and McNeil Point on July 12 and Cape Horn on July 19. Ed Walston (541-478-3362) leads most hikes, which run through Sept. 27. ($3 fee, meet at designated locations for carpooling.)

Histories and Mysteries Challenge: The Columbia Gorge has been home to forests, wildlife, and changing communities for thousands of years. With Histories & Mysteries Hike Challenge Friends of Columbia Gorge invites you to take a closer look. You’ll learn about geologic and historic features hidden in Gorge landscapes. Through Oct.31, try to find all 20 ”items” on the Histories and Mysteries list.

This is a self-guided adventure, but Friends offer plenty of resources and ideas for finding the items. Locations include Beacon Rock, Celilo Village, Eagle Creek, Starvation Creek, Lyle Convict Road, pioneer wagon ruts near The Dalles, Syncline near Bingen, and Cape Horn.

For the Histories and Mysteries Challenge, Friends members will receive a prize upon completing the challenge. Register at gorgefriends.nonprofitsoabox.com/hikes

All items are on official trails and viewpoints; participants must stay on official trails, park in official parking lots, and not disrupt any of the sensitive cultural or natural resources. Indicate where you went under “location” on your hike challenge log.

Friends also offers two remaining guided hikes on its spring/early summer schedule:

n June 28 — Elowah-Upper McCord Falls, in Oregon, for flood basalts and flumes of the Gorge;

n July 12 – Table Mountain-Heartbreak Ridge, in Washington, for the Bridge of the Gods legend and the Bonneville slide of 1700 (visible from Cascade Locks).

Also for details, contact Outreach Manager Maegan Jossy at maegan@gorge-friends.org or 971-634-2028.

Cloud Cap Inn tours — In partnership with the Hood River Crag Rats Mountain Rescue Organization, the Hood River Ranger District will be hosting free interpretive tours of the historic Cloud Cap Inn. This opportunity to tour the Inn, discover its history, and enjoy the majesty of Mt. Hood will be offered on Sundays this summer beginning July 27 weather and road conditions permitting and will continue through Labor Day.

Tours will start at 11 a.m. and at 1 p.m. and last approximately 45 minutes to one hour.

The tours are limited to 12 people per tour, and reservations are required. A reservation system protects the Inn and allows visitors to experience a quality historical presentation. Please see reservation contact information below.

For more information, and to sign up for a tour, please contact the Hood River Ranger District Information Desk at 541-352-6002.


Klahre House heroes portraits, Panorama Point, at right, through June – See large portraits by students of the Klahre House Alternative School. Panorama Point is located on Eastside Road, three miles south of Hood River; take Highway 35 to Eastside or Whiskey Creek roads.

The art project celebrates the impacts that Minoru Yasui, Ellen Chenoweth Underwood, George Tomlike Chinidere and Nancy Russell have had on the Columbia Gorge community. The students researched these local historical figures and wrote about their contributions to the community. In addition to the large paintings, students are painting smaller portraits of people they identify as their personal heroes, that is, a person who had a positive impact on their lives.

Art of Community, downtown Hood River – “big art” walk, starting in early July. At 15 sponsored locations downtown and on the waterfront, view metal and stone sculptures by Gorge and Northwest artists. A program of Arts in Education of the Gorge, the inaugural “Art of Community” will remain on display for a year.

The Inspired Garden, July 4 to 27, Columbia Center for the Arts — This is art inspired by the garden. Twelve artists channel their creativity into pieces designed for display in gardens, patios, yards, and homes. There will be a multitude of three dimensional works, large and small, as well as two dimensional wall pieces. The artists are: Brenda Calvert, Dawn Elle, Charlene Fort, Nancy Houfek, Tom Herrera, Susannah Lints, Mason Parker, Kelly Phipps, Katey Ellen Price, James Sampsel, Judy White, and Michael Sage. This show is curated by Dawn Elle and Katey Ellen Price.

Opening reception will be on First Friday, July 4, from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring music by Ben Bonham. A silent auction of garden baskets from Hood River Evening Garden Club, Maupin Dig and Hoe Garden Club, Odell Garden Club, and Parkdale Garden Club will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.

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