Fruit, fun, and crowds abound

Pumpkins turned from orange to every other color during at Harvest Weekend.

It was not magic or some effect of the unseasonably warm weather, but the creative efforts of kids.

Paint pots for gracing gourds with splashes and stripes of purple, red, green and blue were among the more popular parts of the Hood River Harvest Festival in Hood River and the Gorge Fruit and Craft Fair in Odell, which both ran Saturday and Sunday.

“I honestly just tried to put tons of color on it,” said Nicholas Letham of Camas, 8, admiring his brightly decorated pumpkin.

The finished pumpkins created a festive décor, as they lined hay bales until families collected them for the trip home.

From beer gardens and pie-eating contests to arts and crafts and a horse show, the weekend provided something for just about every taste.

“Wonderful; really, really successful,” said first-year coordinator Ashley Huckaby on Monday as she helped with clean-up at the Event Site, sweeping up piles of hay, to which she is allergic.

“We had huge numbers, 6,000 on Friday and about 15,000 on Saturday,” she said. “The weather was absolutely perfect, and everything just came out very well.”

At the Fruit and Craft Fair, “It went great, we had a really large turnout,” said Fair Manager Clara Rice.

One of the most remarkable results of an event with hundreds of people attending was the amount of litter when it was all over, according to Rice. There was zero litter.

“Our staff was amazed, and very grateful,” Rice said.

Huckaby was particularly pleased with how well things went at the children’s activities area, coordinated by Providence Health Systems, and organized by teens with Leaders for Tomorrow from Hood River Valley High school.

“Definitely with good weather like this families come out so I’m excited that we will expand it next year, there was so much interest and involvement from the community groups and nonprofits,” Huckaby said.

Mexican dance lessons, pumpkin painting, and Zumba dancing were just a few highlights of the event. The History Museum of Hood River County also hosted activities.

Rice said vendors were “very happy” with the event, which benefited from prime weather.

The FFA barbecue was sold out by 2 p.m. Saturday, the Cow Pie Bingo for 4-H was a success, and 36 riders entered the open horse show, a new event at this year’s autumn fair.

“Also, we had maps here of the valley and we were handing those out and answering all kinds of questions about other events going on in the valley,” Rice 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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