Christmas Ships return to Columbia County this weekend

The 58th annual parade of Christmas Ships will visit Columbia County on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9.

The first run will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Ships will assemble at the St. Helens City Docks and sail down the Columbia River to Columbia City, and weather permitting, cross to an RV park on the Washington side before returning to St. Helens, where the ships will dock overnight. The parade lasts for about two hours.

On Sunday, Dec. 9, the ships will depart from the city docks and meet up with additional fleet at 4:30 p.m. at Coon Island, along the Multnomah Channel. The ships will leave the island at 5 p.m., beginning their tour up the channel, through Scappoose, and on to the Willamette River.

Occasionally, weather, debris in the river, and other conditions can cause parade delays or cancellations. In the event of a cancellation, volunteers will update the organization’s Web site at

Information on prime viewing locations also can be found on the site.

News Bits: Local holiday happenings, Dec. 1-3


Reindeer Run: 8 a.m. Sat, Dec. 1; Columbia River Foursquare Church, 555 Commons Drive, St. Helens (across from DMV); 5K, 10K, or half-marathon (run or walk); proceeds benefit Columbia County Toy-n-Joy and the Columbia Food Bank; coffee, cocoa and snacks served in the church before and after race; prizes awarded to top three finishers in each category (male and female); cost $35-$60; includes souvenir Race Tech T-shirt and professional chip timed race; half-marathoners receive a custom Reindeer Run medal;  Route maps, registration information and other details at; or contact Molly Cooke, 503-396-0357, or

Breakfast with Santa: 8 to 11:30 a.m. Sat, Dec. 1; Columbia County Shrine Building, 315 N. 18th St., St. Helens (off Wyeth Street and Highway 30); breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, milk, juice, coffee and tea served; bazaar table for Christmas shopping; $3 for ages 4-10, $5 for ages 11 and older; hosted by The Order of the Eastern Star, Mizpah No. 30 Chapter.

30th annual Merchant’s Toy n’ Joy benefit auction: 5 to 8 p.m., dinner; 5 to 6:45 p.m., silent auction; 7 p.m., oral auction, Sat, Dec. 1; Columbia County Fairgrounds Pavilion, 58892 Saulser Road, St. Helens; the event, sponsored by Columbia River Fire & Rescue, celebrates “30 Years of Giving” with a catered dinner and traditional brownie ala mode dessert; $15, tickets available at the door, or by visiting CRF&R administration offices at 270 Columbia Blvd.; 503-397-2990 or

Rainier Toy n’ Joy Breakfast: 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Sat, Dec. 1; Rainier United Methodist, 101 C St. East, Rainier; 503-556-3440.

Rainier Christmas tree lighting ceremony: 6 p.m. Sat, Dec. 1; Rainier City Hall, 106 West B St., Rainier; 503-556-7301.

Free photos with Santa: 3 to 5 p.m. Wed, Dec. 5; WorkSource Oregon, 500 N. Hwy 30, Suite 320, St. Helens; visits with Santa and snacks; well-behaved pets welcome; canned food donations accepted; visitors are welcome to bring their own cameras for extra photos; 503-397-4995.

Watts House Museum Christmas tours: 4 to 8 p.m. every Fri-Sun in December, except the week of Christmas, when tours will be offered Fri-Sat only; 52432 S.E. First St., Scappoose; the historic house has been decorated for Christmas by volunteers with the Scappoose Historical Society, and other community groups; free admission; group tours available; 503-961-5621 or (click on “current event”).


St. Frederick Catholic Church: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sat, Dec. 1; 175 S. 14th St., St. Helens; held in Buccini Hall; surprise packages, jams and jellies, arts and crafts, swags, white elephant  and more; light lunch available for purchase; 503-397-0148.

Avamere Assisted Living: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., Dec. 1; 2400 Gable Road, St. Helens; visits with Santa from noon to 2 p.m.; first 50 shoppers receive gift; 503-366-8070.

Jingle Jangle Christmas: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sat-Sun, Dec 1-2; private residence, 722 E. 2nd St., Rainier (uphill from Interstate Tavern); benefit for Susan G. Komen for the Cure; free coffee, hot chocolate and cider; credit cards accepted.

Columbia County Mental Health: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mon, Dec. 3; 58646 McNulty Way, St. Helens; 503-397-5211.

Holiday bazaars this weekend in Columbia County

Several holiday bazaars are offered in the St. Helens area today, as well as in Rainier and Claskanie.

Swing by if you are out and about, and scan the locally made arts and crafts, and purchase some fresh baked cakes, pies, and cookies to take home. Some bazaars also feature nice, warm bowls of comforting homemade soup and bread for sale, too.

Harvest Bazaar: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 17; Quincy Grange Hall, off Rutter Road, northeast of Clatskanie (follow the signs from Beaver Falls Road); proceeds benefit the Grange scholarship fund and other activities; soups, sandwiches, hot dogs and pie available for purchase.

Plymouth Presbyterian Church bazaar: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 17; 2615 Sykes Road, St. Helens; hand-crafted gifts, wreaths, bakes goods, jams and jellies; lunch of homemade soup, bread and pie available for purchase, and free coffee; international fair trade market with gifts from around the world; fair trade coffee and chocolates; opportunity to donate goods and services through Gifts to Church World Services.

St. Helens Elks Lodge Christmas bazaar: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nov. 17; 350 Belton Road, St. Helens; homemade goodies and crafts; kid and adult cake walks; visits with Santa Claus; refreshments available for purchase; some proceeds benefit charity.

Beaver Homes Grange bazaar: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 17; Beaver Homes Grange, 31105 Beaver Homes Road, Rainier (Goble); lunch served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., choice of soup, sandwich and salad, chips, beverage, dessert, $5.

Clatskanie Holiday bazaar: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 17; Clatskanie Middle/High School Commons, 471 S.W. Bel Air Drive, Clatskanie; proceeds benefit the high school baseball team spring trip; concessions available for purchase.

It’s a Jingle Jangle Christmas: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 17 and 18; private residence, 722 E. Second St., Rainier; benefit for Susan G. Komen for the Cure; free coffee, hot chocolate and cider; credit cards accepted.

For those of you who don’t mind crossing the river in search of holiday goods, The Longview Daily News also has compiled a nice list of bazaars for the Cowlitz County area . For more information, click here.

Veteran’s Day ceremonies in south county

Events honoring Veteran’s Day in south Columbia County include:

• Scappoose: 10:30 a.m., Veterans Memorial at Heritage Park, Southeast Second and Olive streets; Bert Key, Veterans of Foreign Wars National Committee Member, will speak; Oregon Army National Guard firing detail, taps played, possible fly-over; sponsored by Scappoose VFW Post 4362; details: Ron Urban, 503-543-7482.

• St. Helens: 10:30 a.m., McCormick Park, 475 S. 18th St.; Terry Maloney, DAR Regent, and Brad Witt, will speak; Gene Hester, Vietnam vet, will be honored; flag rising, POW/MIA tribute, presentation about the meaning of Veteran’s Day, as well as an explanation of the 13 flag folds; those in attendance may bring old flags to be properly retired.

Final performances of “Charlotte’s Web” today at SHHS

ST. HELENS — The final two performances of the St. Helens High School theater department’s production of “Charlotte’s Web” will be today in the school’s Olmscheid Auditorium at 2375 Gable Road.

The first performance will be a matinee at 2 p.m. The second will be tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for general admission.

For more information, contact Ron Barnett at 503-366-7428 or

Spaghetti feed, silent auction tonight benefits local animal shelter

ST. HELENS — The Columbia Humane Society will host a spaghetti feed and silent auction fundraiser tonight at the St. Helens Moose Lodge at 57317 Old Portland Road.

The event will be from 5 to 8 p.m. and will feature a catered dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce, a green salad, green beans, garlic bread and coffee or tea. Tickets are $5 a person, and can be purchased at the door, or in advance at Old Oregon Smokehouse, Houlton Bakery and Bertucci’s Coffee Shop.

The silent auction will feature 14 items, including a certificate for a kitten adoption and a basket with all the things you will need to bring your new addition home.

For more information, call 503-397-4353 or visit

Bazaars, craft fairs, holiday celebrations for Nov. 10

A list of today’s holiday offerings in Columbia County. If you have information on other activities in town, please let us know!

• First United Methodist Church: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 560 Columbia Blvd, St Helens; locally-made quilts, bird houses, toys, dolls, rugs, and jewelry, Rada knives, Paparazzi and Scentsy products, metal art, antiques, Christmas ornaments, plants and other items for sale; soup luncheon featuring beef vegetable and bean soups, corn chowder, and homemade pies; meal donations accepted; 503-397-0061.

• Warren Elementary School: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 34555 Berg Road, Warren; homemade crafts and other merchandise for sale; parent group bake sale; “The Shack” food cart will sell hotdogs, nachos, coffee, hot chocolate and shaved ice.

• Sunset Park Community Church: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 174 Sunset Boulevard, St. Helens; hand-crafted harvest and holiday items for sale, along with assorted party planning products; children’s stories with Mrs. Christmas and holiday music by Larry’s Christmas Band at 11 a.m.; homemade baked goods and free coffee offered during the morning; a lunch of homemade chili, soups and rolls, and hotdogs, served at 11 a.m.; quiet room offered all day for feeding and changing babies; 503-397-0535.

• Christ Episcopal Church: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 35350 E. Division Road, St. Helens; 503-397-1033.

Cast your ballots, Columbia County!

Tomorrow is Nov. 6 — Election Day!

If you are fretting because you forgot to mail in your ballot – have no fear. There is a ballot drop box located next to the Columbia County Courthouse at 230 The Strand, in downtown St. Helens.

County elections workers will collect ballots from the drop box until 8 p.m.

If you still need information about candidates or ballot measures before you cast your votes, resources can be found on the Columbia County Elections Department Web site by clicking here.

The site also will post real-time election returns for the county after 8 p.m.

Other voter resources (click the links):

The Chronicle

Claskanie Chief

South County Spotlight

The Oregonian

St. Helens library offers quiet space for NaNoWriMo writers

ST. HELENS — In recognition of National Novel Writing Month, the St. Helens Public Library will dedicate a special area in their building on specific dates and times for those who wish to work on their novels.

They will round out the experience by offering each visiting aspiring writer a nice, hot cup of coffee, too.

Scheduled dates and times are:

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 3, 10, 17.

• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays, Nov. 8, 15, 29.

• 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, Nov. 12, 19, 26.

On Dec. 1, the library will mark the end of NaNoWriMo with a “Thank Goodness It’s Over” party at 10 a.m. Local author, Ken Scholes, will visit with participants who wish to discuss their works.

NaNoWriMo is an annual event founded in 1999 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Participants begin writing a novel on November 1 with the goal to complete a 50,000-word novel by the end of the day on November 30. Last year, more than 3 billion words were officially logged by aspiring novelists.

The library is at 375 South 18th St., St. Helens. For more information on NaNoWriMo, visit; for details about library offerings, call 503-397-4544, or visit