Keep the family entertained with these local activities

ARTWORK, some in the form of handmade wooden toys, is on view and on sale at Columbia Center for the Arts. Tables bulge with locally-made items for under $25.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
ARTWORK, some in the form of handmade wooden toys, is on view and on sale at Columbia Center for the Arts. Tables bulge with locally-made items for under $25.

Winter break spans now through Jan. 7 — and there are plenty of local activities to keep everyone entertained.

For the artists amongst us, there are two annual holiday art shows that end Dec. 24 — at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, and The Dalles Art Center in The Dalles. Both feature original arts and fine crafts created by artists living and working in the Gorge. Even if you don’t need a holiday gift, it’s fun to show youthful artists the possibilities of a career here at home.

Also at Columbia Center for the Arts on Christmas Eve is the annual Christmas Eve singalong with the von Trapp family from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stay in your PJs, bring the kids, and feel free to pack a picnic lunch for what CCA calls “another family-friendly musical delight.” All singing abilities are welcome! Reservations can be made at for this free event.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department sponsors its annual First Day Hikes on Jan. 1, with 24 hikes in 22 Oregon state parks to be guided by park rangers or volunteers, who will share stories about the park’s geology, history, wildlife and plants. Day-use parking fees are waived for all visitors at participating parks on Jan. 1 only. The day will include a noon hike on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail — meet at the Mark O. Hatfield Visitors Center West Trailhead, east of Hood River. Online registration is new this year, although not required, to help park staff plan for the hike, as well as to get contact information should an event’s details change. Visit

The annual New Year’s Day rocket building class and launch — on Monday, Jan. 1 — takes place at Hood River Hobbies beginning at 11 a.m. The class will be followed with a launch at Westside Elementary at 1 p.m. (transportation is not provided) for Gorge Rocket Club members. There’s a $10 supply fee, which includes the engine needed for launch. Contact Hood River Hobbies for more information at 541-386-1223. RSVP at

Those interested in joining Gorge Rocket Club can do so for $10 per person or $15 per family, which is a one-time annual fee that includes all launches of the year (in addition to supply fees). Rocket club dues can be paid at Hood River Hobbies, through Community Education, or by cash or check just prior to the launch.

Starting Jan. 6, radio-controlled plane and drone aficionados can attend the indoor RC flying class, sponsored by Hood River Hobbies. The classes will be held at May Street Elementary at 6 p.m. Participants should bring their own RC vehicles, charged batteries and a charger. The classes include practice and instruction, and cost $15 for the season, or $5 to drop in. Find more information at the number above, or visit

The Hood River Aquatic Center will be closed Dec. 24-25 (as well Dec. 31-Jan. 1), but will open Dec. 26 with a Holiday Open Swim from noon to 3:15 p.m. Open swim continues weekdays through Jan. 5.

Why not take the kids to a high school sports event? There are a few home games between now and the start of the new school term, as follows:

• Hood River Valley High School Boys Basketball, 7 p.m. on Dec. 29 against Stevenson.

• Horizon Girls Basketball, 2:30 p.m. and Horizon Boys Basketball, 4:30 p.m., both on Dec. 30 against Joseph.

• Hood River Valley High School Boys Basketball, 7 p.m. on Jan. 3 against St. Helens.

• Horizon Boys Basketball, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 3 against Klickitat/Glenwood.

• Horizon Girls Basketball, 4 p.m., and Horizon Boys Basketball, 5:30 p.m., both on Jan. 6 against Dufur.

There are no Hood River Valley High girls basketball or wrestling matches scheduled.

The Hood River Library will take a break from Thursday story time to coincide with winter vacation in local schools. It will resume Jan. 11 at its normal start time of 10:30 a.m.

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