Bluegrass pickin’ starts at county fairgrounds

An outstanding line-up of national, regional and local musicians will take to the stages at the Hood River County Fairgrounds Aug. 16-18 during the Mt. Hood Bluegrass Festival, a brand-new summer bluegrass event.

The goal of the new event is to create an annual “old favorite” event for the Pacific Northwest. The fairgrounds was chosen for its location and background as a venue for major concert events, and it offers on-site camping — popular with devotees of bluegrass.

Among the performers slated to appear at the event are artists well-known to bluegrass and acoustic fans, including Frontline, Bluegrass Etc., Jackstraw, The Knott Brothers, Jacob Henry and Bill Jolliff, Lonesome Ridge, Great Northern Planes, Roundhouse, and Wild River.

In addition, special events and opportunities are planned for the festival’s two stages, including “open microphone times,” a “Bluegrass Kids Camp” which will give kids an opportunity to learn and perform, and Sunday morning gospel singing. There will also be a wine and beer garden, food vendors, and more. Local fire department personnel will serve up a hamburger and hot dog barbecue both Friday and Saturday evenings, and the local Special Olympics organization will offer breakfast beginning at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

On Friday, Budweiser welcomes you to Family Night. The music begins at 3 p.m. and continues until 11, with a Bonfire Pickin’ Party planned (if fire conditions allow). On Saturday, scheduled events begin at 10 a.m. and go to 11 p.m., with a break for dinner. On Sunday, scheduled events begin at 10 a.m. and continue until early afternoon.

Tickets for the Mt. Hood Bluegrass Festival are available in advance (they will be held on-call) or at the gate. A pass for the entire weekend is $35. A ticket for Friday only is $10.

Saturday day passes (good from opening until the dinner break) are $20, and a pass for concerts from the dinner break until the 11 p.m. closing is also $20.

Children 12 and under are admitted free.

There is no admission charge on Sunday. Parking at the event is free.

Family passes are also available. Predicated on two adults and two children, a weekend family pass is $75; a family pass for Saturday evening is $50.

The fairgrounds offers both R.V. and tent camping for holders of weekend event passes just steps from the concert stages, yet in a picturesque rural environment. Lots of R.V. spaces with water and electricity are available for $15 (with purchase of a weekend festival pass). A free dump station is also offered. Tent campers (with a weekend festival pass) pay $10.

Leashed pets are allowed in the camping area, but not at the concert site.

Advance tickets are available with Visa or Mastercard payment by calling the Hood River County Fairgrounds office at 541-354-2865.

For up-dated information on the schedule and attractions at the Mt. Hood Bluegrass Festival, check the Web site at

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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