In just over a week, local kids go back to school.
Yes, Sept. 3 is the big day, but that doesn’t mean summer is completely over. Here’s a few ideas, just before the school year starts and one shortly after, to pursue some summer fun in Hood River County:
Late summer music:
Aug. 24 — Music Festival of the Gorge fills Waterfront Park all afternoon and into the evening on Aug. 24.
The event is free.
Lineup, starting at noon: Molly Schwarz and Friends; Yurt Dwellers; Stephanie Jean and the Quarantine; Hood River Mariachi; and Family, Man.
Aug. 29 — Families in the Park winds up for the year with Hit Machine on the Mike Schend Stage at Jackson Park.
The place fills up for this high-energy band, which for years has been the final-week headliner for Families in the Park.
This is a group that will definitely get you off your feet.
The band takes the stage at 7 p.m., but you might want to come early with your blanket or low lawn chairs.
Families in the Park is a tobacco-free event, and food and beverages are sold on site, or bring a picnic dinner.
The concerts are provided by the Community Education program of the Hood River County School District.
Ride the Trolley
To avoid parking hassles to waterfront and downtown events, consider getting aboard the free Pink Trolley, with stops between Rosauers and downtown Hood River and on to the Waterfront, including Waterfront Park.
Get in, and hold on tight; the trolley will take you where you want to go.
The trolley is free, but donations are accepted to help the Hood River Shelter Services (warming shelter) program.
Apple Pie Celebration
Aug. 31 — The first Packer Farms Apple Pie Celebration, with contests for adults and kids. Cash prizes of $50 to $250 for best pies and desserts. Packer Farms is located near Pine Grove, on Thomsen Road.
The deadline to apply is Aug. 28. For full information go to packerorchards.com, but here’s a few highlights:
Gravenstein Apple Pie Bake-Off — Participants must be 18 or older; bake two pies, one for judges, other for consumption.
Children’s Dessert Contest — Participants must be 17 or younger; all desserts accepted. Register by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28; limit of 20 entries.
For both contests, dessert must NOT need to be refrigerated; desserts and an ingredient list must be submitted by 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, and all entries must contain Gravenstein apples.
More apple fun — In addition, to apple games, the celebration will feature a pie eating competition, to go with the farms’ outside farm activities — corn pit, outside play area, hay rides, bouncy corral,  and face painting.
Packer Farms will be open Aug. 31 at a reduced admission cost: $3 per person or $10 per family (up to 6 people).
Kids Triathlon
Gorge Kids Triathlon returns from 9 a.m. to noon Sept. 15 at Hood River Waterfront Park.
All elementary-aged kids are invited for the non-competitive triathlon. Proceeds benefit P.E. programs in Hood River County School District Elementary schools.
Find out more at gorgekidstri.com.
(Volunteers are also needed.)
Take an art walk
Ever heard of “Big Art”?
It’s a series of outdoor sculptures, most of them bigger than the tallest adult.
See art-of-community.com/sculptures for details.
Break the tour up into short sections, such as Nichols Basin-Shoreline Trail (photo at right), and Oak Street downtown.
Worth a look are works located a block or two off Oak, next to the library entrance on State Street, at Columbia Center for the Arts at Cascade and Third streets, and at Cannery Square Park at Columbia and Fourth streets and nearby on Industrial Way, at the west end of Union Building. (Take the stairs connecting the park to Industrial — watch for traffic and construction on Union Building — and walk a half-block west.)

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