Category Archives: celebrations

Planters’ Days Woodland, WA 6/2013

Fun for all once the rides have been set up!

Fun for all once the rides have been set up!

Worker setting up ride for Planters' Days

Worker setting up ride for Planters’ Days

Window on Woodland
Planters’ Days 2013
by Pat Nelson
Woodland will burst with excitement when it kicks off its 91st Planters’ Days celebration June 13. The carnival on Horseshoe Lake opens Thursday, June 13 at 3P.M., and soon after, kids with chalk in hand will decorate downtown sidewalks while they wait for the beginning of the 5P.M.children’s parade. Many years ago, I proudly marched in the parade alongside my grandchildren Max and Chelsea. Max, in a green-feathered bird suit, pulled his little sister through town in a wagon. Now, they are both teenagers, and more interested in the 10P.M. fireworks that shoot high in the sky and reflect beautifully off Horseshoe Lake.
Most who look forward to Planters’ Days weekend each year have probably forgotten . . . or never knew . . . the meaning of the celebration. Over 90 years ago, Woodland’s farmers worried about their crops every year because of the threat of flooding from the nearby Lewis and Columbia rivers. Once dikes were constructed, the farmers and the community celebrated, and 91 years later, the party continues.
This year Planters’ Days will host a new carnival, Davis Amusement Cascadia, with some different rides and an advance-sale wristband that will be available for purchase at Woodland’s Burgerville. The wristband, on sale for $23 prior to the beginning of Planters’ Days, appears to be a better value than wristbands in previous years because it will be good for a full day, both daytime and evening hours.
For me, watching the carnival set up can be as thrilling as riding the rides. One year, I took photos of a carnival worker as he assembled a large circular ride. Watching him climb the high structure to complete the assembly took my breath away.
Back in the 1930’s, the fire department started serving food on Planters’ Days weekend. Now, with the generous support of Walt’s Meats supplying the beef and Burgerville supplying the buns, the fire department continues the tradition by serving barbecued-beef sandwiches on the Saturday of Planters’ Days weekend. Long lines will stretch through Horseshoe Lake Park Saturday, June 15 as people await the annual treat.
On March 1, 2013, Woodland’s firefighters joined with Clark County Fire and Rescue, and this year Captain Mike Jackson is happy to say about the Firefighters’ Barbecue, “there will be a few more hands to make it happen.” According to Jackson, the firemen start getting ready for the event months in advance by gathering firewood. On Thursday of Planters’ Days weekend, they will get the pit ready, with the help of the Public Works department. Early Friday morning, they will start the fire that will cook the beef to perfection. By the time Saturday’s parade draws to a close, there will already be a long line in Horseshoe Lake Park at the Firefighters’ Barbecue. I admitted to Captain Jackson that one year when I saw flames shooting above the roofline of Horseshoe Lake’s outdoor kitchen, I called the fire department . . . and learned that it was their fire I had called to report!
The Saturday parade starts at 11A.M. but I always try to get there early to set out some chairs and to enjoy the excitement of the little kids waiting to see the horses, fire trucks and clowns. If you don’t take in the breakfast buffet at the Moose Lodge or the pancake breakfast at the VFW hall, there’s still plenty to eat along the parade route, from Woodland’s local family-owned restaurants to fundraiser stands offering baked potatoes, kielbasa and corn on the cob to many weekend-market food stands and, of course, the carnival food wagons.
With activities in downtown Woodland and on Horseshoe Lake all day Saturday, there’s no reason to head home after the parade. The hard decision will be deciding which events to see: the antique farm equipment display, the weekend market, the carnival, the firemen’s barbecue, the military vehicle show, the frog jump, the penny scramble, the firemen’s muster, the bed races, the RC boat show, the duck-boat rides, or the cruise-in. If it’s a hot day, you’ll find me playing in the lake, where I’ll have a good view of the carnival and many of the activities.
June 16, Father’s Day, is sure to be lots of fun, starting with a breakfast buffet at the Moose Lodge or a biscuits and gravy breakfast at the VFW Hall, the 4×4 Show and Shine, and a car show featuring hundreds of shiny classic cars lining downtown streets, plus a talent show.
Planters’ Days weekend has helped my family create memories for the past 15 years. Take in the events and let Planters’ Days weekend create memories for your family!
Copyright 2013 Pat Nelson. Reprinted with permission: The Valley Bugler, Longview, WA and Pat Nelson, Woodland, WA

Sidebar:
What: Planters’ Days Weekend Celebration
When: Thursday – Sunday June 13– 16
Where: Horseshoe Lake Park and Davidson Street, Downtown Woodland
Event Schedule: http://www.plantersdays.com/forms/2013_planters_days_schedule.pdf

Bio:Pat Nelson, writer and editor, is co-creator of three humorous and sometimes edgy anthologies: Not Your Mother’s Books: On Parenting (publication date September 10, 2013), On Grandparenting and On Working for a Living (both still accepting stories at http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com). Nelson blogs at http://www.storystorm.me and her stories appear at http://www.LewisRiver.com.

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Filed under Burgerville, carnival, celebrations, children, Family Memories, firefighters, firefighters BBQ, fireworks, grandchildren, kids, parade, Planters' Days, s, Valley Bugler, Walt', Woodland, www.publishingsyndicate.com

Costumes and treats make lasting Halloween memories

ally-will-save-the-day-071ally-will-save-the-day-07by Pat Nelson

 Every fall when leaves turn orange and pumpkins decorate yards, a think of Halloweens past. When I was a child, my mother usually created a costume for me from discarded clothing, scraps of material, face paint, and imagination.

My best friend Marilyn and I liked to dress in the same theme. One year, she dressed as George Washington and I dressed as Martha. In those days, it was still safe to trick-or-treat from house to house, whether or not we knew the homeowners. Some residents handed out gooey popcorn balls or homemade chocolate chip cookies. If they gave us apples, we didn’t have to check for sharp objects.

As soon as it was dusk, we would start ringing doorbells. Some boys, intent on collecting as much candy as possible, would race from door to door with pillowcases, trick-or-treating from before dusk until past the bewitching hour of 9:00. Marilyn and I trick-or-treated until about 7:00, when we went to a party at our school.

When my children were young, they begged to go to a haunted house. I gave in one year and promised them a trip to the Haunted Mansion in Longview. My daughter was sick a few days before the event, and she was so looking forward to going that when her fever subsided, I gave in. Part way through, she became so frightened that the ghosts and goblins had to let her out the side exit, and her fever returned.

Both of my kids enjoyed entering pumpkin-decorating contests, and both usually won prizes. One year at school, my daughter entered a particularly charming pumpkin. A medium-sized pumpkin, the head, perched on a plump pumpkin body. Whimsical gourds became eyes, nose, mouth, ears, arms and legs. Alas, her pumpkin was disqualified because it was decorated, not carved. However, a carved watermelon took the prize. For her, it was a lesson in “life’s not fair.”

Each Halloween, I think of Maggie McQuarrie, a 70-something Woodland Library supporter who passed away a few years ago. The tiny woman loved to dress up in costume, and one year borrowed a green, feather-decorated sweatshirt from my grandson, along with a bird headdress, just to surprise her “morning coffee” friends at McDonalds. On Halloween, she dressed up and knocked on our door. We felt kind of sorry for the kid who had to go out trick-or-treating alone until we caught the scent of her cigarettes and heard her raspy voice say, “Trick-or-Treat.”

From the time my grandchildren were small, they dressed up and joined 1000 other costumed kids in marching past the businesses on Woodland’s Goerig Street and Davidson Avenue, down one side and back the other, stopping at each business to trick-or-treat. Woodland continues this tradition each year, blocking streets to provide safety. Many businesses that would like to participate, but that are not located in the designated trick-or-treat area, set up booths along the route in the Grange Hall at 404 Davidson Avenue.

Area kids will form their own Halloween memories this October 31 when they trick-or-treat downtown Woodland between 3:00 and 5:00 P.M.

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Filed under celebrations, Halloween, Holidays, WA, Woodland, Woodland Community Library

Anticipation building for Planters’ Days

by Pat Nelson

Reprinted with permission,”
The Daily News, Longview, WA June 20, 2008

To me, this photo of the partially-assembled carnival at Woodland’s Horseshoe Lake represents the word “anticipation.”

 Carnival workers anticipate a busy festival, smiling faces and lots of ticket sales this weekend during the Planters’ Days festival.

Many kids anticipate receiving a few extra bucks from their parents for ride tickets. Teens anticipate seeing their friends. The Planters’ Days Committee anticipates a great turnout for its annual celebration.

I anticipate the smiling faces of my grandchildren and friends who will be enjoying Planters’ Days 2008 with my husband and me. We’ll all be anticipating sunshine for the weekend’s events.

Like a little kid, I look forward to the arrival of the carnival each June. My heart was beating a little faster Monday morning when the first carnival trucks started pulling into Horseshoe Lake Park.

 On Monday, huge strawberries, part of a ride, sat on their trailer, but by Tuesday they had been assembled. By Thursday, after all of the rides had been inspected for safety, they twirled ‘round and ‘round, full of squealing children. On their trailer, they looked like a giant version of the crates of Woodland’s sweet local berries sold at roadside stands.

Carnival employees and managers parked their campers and fifth wheels close to Horseshoe Lake this year, where they could enjoy its beauty. A few swam, not deterred by a strong breeze and cloudy skies. By Wednesday afternoon, many rides had been partially assembled. The Super Loops ride, not yet connected at the top in the picture above, requires that an employee climb to the top to complete its assembly. Perhaps that duty is even more thrilling than the ride itself. I held my breath as I watched a worker descend from the top of the loop to the ground, using the loop as a ladder. It was probably more frightening to me than it was to him.

The Planters’ Days festivities began Thursday as kids paraded down Davidson Street in wagons, on bikes, and in costumes for the annual Kids’ Day Parade. The parade terminated at the carnival site. Opening-day excitement continued with the queen’s coronation. Then, at 10:00 p.m., people lined the banks of the lake and some watched from boats, as fireworks shot into the air, thundered and popped, and reflected off the lake in long, squiggly ribbons of color. For my family, the fireworks show was especially exciting because our granddaughters from Arizona, Lauren, 4, and Brooke, 9 months, had just arrived for a visit a few hours earlier.

Most people who attend the four-day event couldn’t  tell you why the community celebrates Planters’ Days. The celebration dates back to June 30, 1922, when local farmers celebrated the fact that the dike protecting their farmlands from flooding had held for a whole year.  Annual celebrations continued until 1943, when the celebration was discontinued until the end of World War II.  There have been more floods since that first celebration, but most years, the dikes keep the farmlands from flooding, and the celebration goes on.

Saturday, our Kelso grandchildren, Max and Chelsea, will be showing their Arizona cousin, Lauren, some of their favorite Planters’ Days activities: the frog jump, the penny scramble, the bed races, and the firemen’s muster. If the kids aren’t too tired, we’ll take in the Colgate Country Showdown, the Rose City Classics Cruise-In, and the street dance in the evening.

I always look forward to the car show on the Sunday of Planters’ Days weekend when as many as 400 classic cars line Davidson, Goerig, and Park Streets.  Many look like the same cars that cruised in front of my high school every day after school in the1960’s. When I look at those cars, I find myself saying, “I remember when….”

I’ll be watching a new event on  Sunday when the West Coast Outboard Racing Club holds its “Race Against Drugs” on Horseshoe Lake.  We’ll be watching these boats from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. as they race around the northern half the lake at speeds of 45 to 100 mph.

Anticipation. It’s half the fun. The other half is attending Woodland’s 2008 Planters’ Days celebration.

 

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Filed under carnival, celebrations, grandchildren, Horseshoe Lake, Planters' Days, Race Against Drugs, The Daily News, West Coast Outboard Racing Club, Woodland

Thankul for Memories

Thanksgiving morning 2007By Pat Nelson, November 28, 2007
Reprinted with permission, South County News/Daily News, Longview, WA
When I was growing up, my mother would get up Thanksgiving morning around 5 a.m.to “put the bird in the oven.” She had worked hard the day before making pies and preparing side dishes. In those days, you made your own pies and lots of them. I can remember the sound of the rolling pin as it rolled across the dough, and flour flying for hours as Mom rolled out the perfect rounds that would become flaky pie shells. She always rolled out and baked the scraps of dough, too, and put jam on them for me as a treat.By the time I would get up on Thanksgiving morning, the turkey would be cooking, and Mom, tired from preparations the day before and from getting up early, would be elbow deep in soapsuds, washing the mountain of dishes she had created while cooking. That, of course, was before dishwashers were a standard item in homes. At our house, Mom was the dishwasher, and I was the reluctant assistant when I couldn’t find a way to get out of it.We’d go to church Thanksgiving morning, and then hurry home to finish preparing the meal. My aunt Agnes always brought stacks of lefse, the thin Norwegian bread made from mashed potatoes, butter and cream. Lefse looks something like tortillas, but thinner. In our family, we always butter our lefse and roll it like crepes, but some people prefer to eat it with cinnamon and sugar.We always ate Thanksgiving dinner early in the day, and I can remember my brother eating several helpings before falling asleep on the couch. There was always too much food, and it was hard to make room in the refrigerator for all the leftovers, even after sending food home with guests.Occasionally we would go to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. Dad had low blood sugar and required frequent meals. He learned quickly that if we went to one particular home for dinner, he had to eat first and bring snacks, because the meal was always served several hours late.When I decided to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner, I talked my mother-in-law into coming to my house at 5 a.m.to help me. There we were, her with sleepy eyes and me in my robe, slipping my first turkey into the oven. I was shocked at how easy it was. Once in the oven, there was plenty of time to get the rest of the meal ready. The only bad parts were getting up out of a warm bed to handle a cold bird and trying to ignore the butterflies in my stomach because I was afraid to make gravy.It was important to me that my dinner be served on time. It would have been, but one guest arrived thirty minutes late — with her sweet potatoes still in the can and the marshmallows still in the bag; the dish still had to be cooked. I was devastated. I was also tired from getting up so early.That was the only time I got up early to cook a turkey. Now, my first rule is that dinner will be served at 4 p.m. so I won’t have to get up early. Even with a 20-pound turkey, I never have to have it in the oven before 9 a.m.My second rule is that the meal be served on time; if someone is late, we eat without them.It isn’t Thanksgiving without lefse, so after my dear Aunt Agnes passed away, I learned to make it myself. It was time-consuming and I was a messy cook, with more flour on the kitchen surfaces than the pie-making ever caused. I suddenly felt guilty about the stacks of lefse I had consumed every holiday season when Agnes was alive. I had never given a thought to the time and effort it took for her to supply all of us with our favorite treat.Eventually, I learned that members of the Sons of Norway in Kelso sell lefse once each November at their holiday bazaar. The date is on my calendar, and I show up there every year for 10 packs of perfect lefse.Now, holiday dinners are no longer stressful. I get up at 8 a.m. and have the turkey in the oven by 9 a.m. I use Pillsbury pie crusts that are ready to roll out into my pans, allowing me to bake homemade pies with perfect crust and little mess.I keep the menu simple: my daughter-in-law brings the mashed potatoes; my daughter brings the green-bean casserole. I open a can of cranberries, put a few pickles and olives on a plate, and make the gravy while the turkey is cooling.I haven’t been nervous about the gravy since I learned to cheat. I cook the giblets and save the broth to add to the turkey drippings. Then, I add packaged turkey gravy mix. Along with the drippings and the broth, I make perfect gravy every time.This Thanksgiving, Woodland sparkled in the sunshine as my family arrived. The sky was blue, the air was crisp, and Horseshoe Lake looked like a mirror, reflecting the autumn leaves of the trees on shore. We shot baskets in the driveway, rode bikes and ate on time.

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Filed under celebrations, Family Memories, grandchildren, Holidays, Horseshoe Lake, South County News, Thanksgiving, Woodland