Valley shows off its best at Harvest Fest

Good weather, good crowds grace event’s 20th anniversary

A harvest (fest) of plenty described many things over the weekend. There was plenty of sunshine and warm weather. Plenty of food. Plenty of people. And plenty of fun from the Expo Center to the fairgrounds and all around the valley’s Fruit Loop as the 20th annual Harvest Fest went off without a hitch.

According to tallies from the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, about 22,000 people funneled through the Expo Center over the weekend to peruse the craft and food booths.

Genevieve Scholl, public affairs marketing director for the chamber, said that was about “average.”

“Last year, we had about 24,500 visitors,” she said. “But that was a record year. So we’re feeling real good about the attendance.” Scholl said the vendors all did well.

“It seemed like everyone was in the mood to eat and shop,” she said. “Several new vendors said they’ll definitely be back next year.”

At least one group of visitors was especially impressed by the festivities: the film crew and producers from The Travel Channel who were in Hood River over the weekend to film a segment for an upcoming show about natural wonders of the West.

“They had budgeted 45 minutes and ended up spending about three hours at Harvest Fest,” Scholl said. “They got a lot of great footage.” They also checked out some of the other valley events, and spent time at Rasmussen Farms.

The Travel Channel program highlighting Hood River, Mount Hood and the Columbia Gorge is scheduled to air in February.

“I think it’s really nice when an event can sort of ripple out over the course of the year as far as promotional benefits are concerned,” Scholl said.

The chamber’s efforts to market the multitude of events happening around the valley together seemed to pay off. The “Harvest Time” brochures given out at the Expo Center included a map and information about 16 events going on around the valley, including the Gorge Fruit and Craft Fair.

Clara Rice, organizer of that event at the fairgrounds, said crowds “were great both days.”

“Saturday was just awesome,” she said. “It was just a steady flow all day long.” Sunday was slow getting started, she said, but picked up as the day went on.

“It was good and it was fun,” she said. Rice added that she talked to a lot of people who had traveled a good distance for the weekend’s events — including many from Eugene and Salem and several from Seattle.

“I think we had a very good weekend here in the valley,” she said.

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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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