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Spring Festival is this weekend!

Activities begin on Friday

White Salmon's classic community celebration -- the annual Spring Festival, with roots that go back to the 1970s -- will again get under way this Friday and continue through Sunday.

The Spring Festival will be centered around the city's Rhinegarten Park. Live and local music, belly dancing, and a talent show will be among the features on stage there.

The community gala will offer a deft mix of new events and traditional favorites.

Students in Chris Hipskind's robotics class at Columbia High School will bring the robots they built. The robots can be operated by remote control, and kids will be given an opportunity to use the controls to operate the robots.

As part of the fun, the post office plans a re-enactment of the original mail delivery route -- by horseback -- to the Glenwood area. White Salmon Postmaster Sue Gross will lead the mail delivery team early Saturday morning.

Traditional events returning this year include the downtown parade, which this year will feature many of the past Grand Marshals.

Amanda McDonald, Spring Festival co-chair and parade organizer, said she has commitments from about half of the former marshals so far.

"I'm hoping to have even more of them," McDonald said. "Even a past Grand Marshall from Arizona -- Frances Bentley -- said she is excited about coming and doing that again."

White Salmon Mayor Francis Gaddis and his wife, the late Mamie Gaddis, were Grand Marshals in 2001. Francis said he was honored to be asked to participate in the parade again.

"Hopefully the weather will be good; it's supposed to be warm," Gaddis said. "And hopefully we'll have a good crowd."

Also back this year are the Firemen's Breakfast at the fire station early Saturday morning; the talent show on the main stage, beginning at around 5:30 p.m. Friday; the beer garden and, of course, brats to eat; the teen dance at the Mountain View Grange on Saturday night; and the "Chili Cookoff" on Sunday.

"Cooking will begin at 10, with judging and tasting at about 3 p.m.," McDonald said.

Among the prizes for the cookoff winners will be some handsome, hand-blown glass peppers, courtesy of the White Salmon Glassworks.

"The Glassworks makes really nice peppers as prizes," McDonald said.

In another highlight, the CHS football boosters will have a dunk tank to raise funds for the team this year.

"We'll have various members of the community in the tank," said Coach Matt Wittmire. "A policeman, business members, and CHS staff and students."

The dunk tank will be open 3 p.m.-7 p.m. on Friday, noon-6 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, Wittmire added.

McDonald added that more White Salmon vendors and organizations are setting up booths at the festival this time.

"There is a lot of local involvement with the booths this year, and there will be a centennial booth to let people know about events related to the city's 100th birthday," said McDonald.

White Salmon City Council member John Mayo said he is enthusiastic about the upcoming event.

"The Spring Festival is a great annual event," Mayo said. "And this year it's all the better, being in the city's centennial year. I really hope people will turn out to support it and show community pride."

Unique this year will be the unveiling of the centennial monument, which will take place in the park immediately after the parade.

On Saturday morning, Mayo will be speaking at the dedication of the large basalt rock that was recently placed in Rhinegarten Park to commemorate the city's 100-year birthday as a city. The city plans to place a time capsule at the site of the rock in August.

McDonald said she is optimistic the festival will be a bit more interesting this year.

"It seems to me this year there is a lot more buzz," she said. "People are calling, wanting to get involved."


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