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Spring Festival Rolls Into White Salmon

Annual celebration begins Friday

The fun is back again. The annual White Salmon Spring Festival -- which first originated in the 1970s -- gets under way this Friday, May 30, with the concession stands opening at 2 p.m. in the city's Rhinegarten Park.

The festival starts on Friday and continues until the evening of Sunday, June 1.

The first event to be held on the stage at Rhinegarten Park will be the talent show, which starts at 6 p.m. on Friday. Following that event, a total of eight bands/musicians will perform on the park stage over the weekend.

Among the special events this year:

The traditional "firemen's pancake breakfast" starting at 6 a.m. Saturday in the White Salmon Fire Hall;

The grand parade through downtown White Salmon begins at 11 a.m. Saturday. This year's "Grand Marshals" are Paul and Tammi Beneventi, owners of Beneventi's Pizza in Bingen;

Columbia High School will present a robotics demonstration at noon Saturday, showing off a dune buggy made in the school's robotics class;

The Gorge Cruisers car show and antique engine display will also start at noon across the street from the park on the Whitson Elementary School playground area;

The "three on three" basketball tourney starts at 1 p.m. Saturday on the tennis courts;

On Sunday, one of the highlights will be the "Spring Fest Junior Performers" at the White Salmon Grange Hall, featuring the junior fiddlers (ages 3-19), performing Celtic and gospel music.

Amanda McDonald, the parade coordinator for the Spring Festival Committee, said this year's grand parade will be a treat.

"Members of the Red Hat Society will be joining in on the parade this year for the first time, that will be fun," said McDonald. "And Mayor David Poucher and his wife will be in the parade, along with the CHS Jazz Band and a marching band from Henkle Middle School."

McDonald added that she was glad to see the Beneventi's as this year's Grand Marshals.

"They do a lot for the community," she said.

Other traditional activities included the festival's famous bratwurst, and the dunk tank fundraiser sponsored by the Columbia High School cheerleaders.

The climbing wall will be back, as well as the popular pony rides for youngsters. And Dale and Rite White from Underwood will bring several alpacas -- including a pair of very young ones -- to the park for the weekend.

McDonald added that there will be a number of new vendors this year.

The festival began in the 1970s as the "May Fest" and came in the middle of May, but a few years ago the name was changed to "Spring Festival," and the date was moved back a couple weeks in an effort to get warmer weather and less rain.

The weather appears as if it may cooperate with festival activities this year. According to the long-range forecast, the weekend is expected to have highs in the high 60s, with partly sunny skies on Saturday and Sunday. No rain is in the forecast.

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