Why take in one community Fourth of July celebration when you can take in two or three, or more? Just about every community in the Columbia River Gorge is planning to hold an Independence Day party of some kind, and most of them don’t overlap.
Following is a menu of events — scheduled for here, there and elsewhere in the region — for area residents to pick and choose from.
White Salmon: Everyone is invited to start Independence Day 2012 with patriotism and free pancakes.
The local congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host a free community pancake breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. at the White Salmon church, 1041 W. Jewett Blvd, in the Pucker Huddle area. A brief patriotic program at 8 a.m. is also part of the event.
Husum: This riverside community is preparing for its seventh annual Fourth of July Parade and .1 kilometer Fun Run.
Anyone wishing to participate in the parade is asked to be at the north end of Husum’s Main Street at 9:30 a.m. The famous Husum .1K Fun Run will immediately follow the parade. Cost of entry in the Fun Run is $20 and includes a T-shirt.
After the parade and fun run, Taste of the Gorge restaurant at Husum Hills Golf Course will be hosting the annual complimentary hot dog barbecue for participants.
Mill A: The communities of Mill A and Willard will be getting together next Wednesday for the 10th annual Fourth of July Parade and the Old-Fashioned Fireman’s Picnic at the Mill A School. The parade route runs from one end of Jessup Road to the other, and ends at the school. Registration and assembly for the parade begins at 9 a.m. at the south intersection of Jessup and Cook-Underwood Road. The parade starts at 10:30 and registration is free.
This year organizers have invited veterans and those currently serving in the military to take part to give the communities a chance to honor and appreciate their service and sacrifice.
White Salmon: The communities of Bingen and White Salmon will have the opportunity to pay their respects to veterans and service members during their first Fourth of July parade. Leading the parade — which sets off from the Jewett Sports Complex at 1 p.m. — up Jewett Boulevard will be an American Legion color guard, followed by a U.S. Navy marching band, said parade marshal Pam Morneault.
Individuals, families, organizations and businesses are invited to design and enter floats in the parade that fly their patriotic colors.
At 2 o’clock, the 24-piece band will perform in concert for an hour in White Salmon’s Rheingarten Park. After a short break, the 35-piece Gorge Winds concert band will take the stage.
Also on tap for the day: White Salmon resident Margaret Walker will be serving red, white and blue sno-cones, CHS cheerleaders will be painting faces in patriotic themes and selling cotton candy, Solstice will be serving pizza, the Farmers Market will be vending local products, and the Bingen-White Salmon Business Partners will be selling soda and water.
Folks who come out for the parade and concerts are asked to “bring your red, white and blue enthusiasm and two cans of food for the Food Bank,” said concert chairman Bill Werst.
Stevenson: Skamania County’s General Services Dept. and the Stevenson Business Association will be hosting a Fourth of July celebration at Rock Creek Park, 710 SW Rock Creek Dr., on the west end of town.
The celebration will begin at 8 p.m. with live music on the Fairgrounds midway, performed by The Puget Sound Machine, from Navy Band NW in Silverdale. The 11-piece show band comprises men and women still in the service; they’ll play jazz as well as patriotic songs that will showcase the holiday.
The traditional family celebration will conclude with a fireworks display that will commence at dusk (about 10 p.m.). Event admission is free but personal fireworks are not allowed on the grounds.
Across the river, for those who can’t get enough of the pyrotechnics, Cascade Locks will be putting on its annual fireworks display from the end of Thunder Island.
Hood River: The city across the way will be hosting an Independence Day parade that will begin at 10 a.m. and feature two military bands: the 234th Army Band from Portland, Ore., and the U.S. Navy Band NW from Silverdale.
The bands will follow the color guard at the front of the parade, which sets off from 8th and Sieverkropp streets. The Army band will later perform in Jackson Park, while the Navy band will head to White Salmon for another parade and a concert in Rheingarten Park.
Hood River’s 2012 parade theme is “Friendship Around the World,” in honor of the Tsurata Japan Sister City guests who will be in town to celebrate the 35th anniversary of its ties with Hood River.
At around 10 p.m., the Eyeopener Lions Club will provide a fireworks display that will last about 30 minutes.