First Friday Sept. 6 had it all: One of the largest crowds ever taking in a vibrant variety of events and displays, ranging from new artwork to fire trucks and State Police boats filling Oak Street, and the annual “Rock Paper Scissors” (RPS) competition, which drew more than 500 people.
In a strange twist of fate, “Tina” from the upcoming production of “Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding,” won the popular downtown RPS contest put on by Andrew’s Pizza on Friday in front of the restaurant/theater. The grand prize for beating all the other RPS contestants was a gift basket worth over $700 from participating merchants.
The irony of it is that “Tina,” played by actress Dana Tickner, was actually at First Friday promoting not only the upcoming production, but the fact that theatergoers to the CGOA production can also win prizes from downtown merchants who are “registered” for the wedding.
In the spirit of fun and supporting the arts, over 30 downtown merchants are registered for the wedding, meaning that they have contributed to the prizes. Their donations range from movie tickets, gift certificates and overnight lodging to bike tune-ups.
A total of 512 people participated in RPS, and it came down to Lila Woody of Hood River and Tickner, in her wedding dress: The last girls standing. Dana also wore a bright red Session trucker’s hat to match the roses she carried, all for her part as Tina.
With her in RPS was her fiancée for the production, actor Murphy Jackson, who plays Tony. He wore his tuxedo and frilly shirt.
Dana and Lila stood on stage at the RPS finale and when emcee Alex Ellison introduced Lila as an eight-year-old, she looked at him and said, “I am 9.”
“It was a great competition. She had that stone face of a competitor,” said Chris Ellison, Andrew’s general manager, who has organized RPS with his son for years.
“And Dana was so sweet to her. She let her choose whatever she wanted from the box,” Ellison said of he numerous garments, gifts and gift certificates donated by local businesses. Lila chose a unicorn hat donated by My Darling Boutique across the street.
The RPS competitors filled the south side of the block of Oak Street, the two-sided line pushing into Second Street around one of the fire trucks on display there.
“The turnout was among the highest ever,” Ellison said.
“If this was on a weekend with more tourists in town we would have had more people, but as it worked out, it was definitely a locals’ event. I saw all kinds of people who I hadn’t seen all summer, they’d come up and say hi,” he said.
Registering with Tony ‘n Tina
Here’s how CGOA theater goers can take home a prize: Look for a sign in the window or inside the store that says “Tony ‘n Tina Registered Here” with a red heart.
Simply walk in and request a raffle ticket. One ticket per store is allowed. Then, go online and purchase a ticket to the show. Bring the raffle ticket(s) to the show.
On the final night, Saturday, Sept. 29, winners will be drawn — and those lucky theater goers need not be present for the drawing.
Participating merchants are: Footwise, Clutch Hair Design, Hood River Stationers, Doug’s Sports, Arome, Gorge Fly Shop, Mountain View Cycles, Dream St. Boutique, Lucy’s Informal Flowers, Twiggs, Big Horse Brewpub, Sparkling Creations, Andrew’s Pizza, Laurel and Eddie, Shortt Supply, Hood River Hotel, The Wearhouse, Doppio, Grounds Coffee, Sophie’s Enchanted Alpaca, Boda’s Kitchen, The Darling Boutique, Adaptive Computers, Apland’s Jewelry, Ananas Boutique, Pacifica Gifts, Waucoma Bookstore, Stave and Stone, Melika, Art on Oak, The Ruddy Duck Mercantile and B Gorge-us Boutique.
Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding is a hilarious satire of an Italian-American wedding that entertains theater-goers like they are part of the family, said a press release.
With a wild reception, a pregnant bridesmaid, a stripper girlfriend and a drunk priest, it’s a spontaneous dinner show that guests will never forget.
Dinner is served family style, catered by Boda’s Kitchen, with gluten free options.
Elaine Johnson of Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association contributed to this article.