Vernonia, OR – If you’ve visited Vernonia on a Saturday in the Summer, you’ll see many cyclists. Vernonia known to many as a bustling cycling community will be the start of the 2nd Annual Columbia Century Challenge Race Saturday, June 17th. A local group of volunteers that involve business owners and community leaders from across Columbia County have been working over the past three years to bring this race to Columbia County. The Columbia Country Challenge is the only organized cycling race in Columbia County put on by locals who care about enhancing the cycling opportunities in Columbia County.
Gearing up for its 2nd year brings a few changes to the new event. Last year the race started in St Helens, this year it’s in Vernonia. You have the option to pick three types of rides out of Vernonia. The Century Plus 119 miles, Metric Century Plus, 86 miles or the 40-mile gravel ride through commercial timberline. Go to the website to see the full map to determine which path is the one you shall choose. Rolling hills, farmland, historic logging trails, scenic views of the Pacific Northwest, what’s not to like? It’s not too late to join the upcoming race as a cyclist or as a volunteer. You can register online at http://cyclecolumbiacounty.com/registration/ While it lasts use special code CCC17 for a 2 for 1, so grab a friend. Enjoy your ride whatever one you choose!
St Helens, OR- Another long-standing local tradition in St Helens is the Kiwanis Parade held the 3rd Saturday in June. This year St Helens Kiwanis will host the 102nd year parade with the theme “Wonders of Columbia County ” on June 17th at noon at Columbia Blvd and Hwy 30. This parade is great family fun. You can bring a chair if you’d like, find a spot along Main Street Corridor in St. Helens from the South Columbia County Chamber & Emmert Motors to Dockside. Just follow the crowd to find out what’s going on.
If you want to get creative, you can participate in the parade by signing up the day of between 9-11 at Emmert Motors. They have many categories for floats, cars, motorcycles and more. The parade judging starts at 11:00 and the parade at noon. It is a not to miss community event. At the bottom of the page, you will find the Kiwanis Parade Application. If you would like to pre-register forms which can be mailed to:
Kiwanis Community Parade
P.O. Box 295
Saint Helens, OR 97051
The Kiwanis Parade is a family-friendly fun whether you are watching or participating. It’s also an opportunity to see old friends and meet your neighbors. Don’t forget to bring a bag for the candy and treats that are often tossed out to the kids and even a few adults.
Follow along on the Facebook Event Page to keep up on parade day events. See you there Columbia County!
Scappoose, OR – Spring signals the return of The Scappoose Farmers Market. They open their 15th Season this Saturday, May 20th. The Scappoose Community Club hosts this local Farmers Market which runs now thru September 30th.
You’ll find a variety of fresh fruits, plants & herbs, vegetables, and handmade goods every Saturday from 9 AM – 2 PM. The amazing local vendors are located between Heritage Park and Scappoose City Hall. To stay in touch with events and new vendors follow the Scappoose Famers Market Facebook page. You’ll also find live music and events at the market.
New this year are vendors like:
Pannikin Ice, Exotic Thai rolled ice cream sold to support job training for local and at-risk youth
YoungFree Designs which create skateboards
Stop by for your local products and say hi to your neighbors. #shopsmall #shopcolumbiacounty #scappoosefarmersmarket #handmade #fruitsveggies
St. Helens, OR – Established in 2000 as a 501(c) nonprofit, the Amani Center is a community-based assessment & treatment services center, that helps children who have been abused in a child-friendly setting to minimize trauma and raise awareness against child abuse. Every year since 2009, they have held a walk to promote Child Abuse Awareness in our communities as well as a fundraiser for the organization. This year marks the 9th Annual Race which you can support our children in our community by participating in a 5k, 10k or Half Marathon or if you’re not a runner join the 1 mile Walk on April 22nd, 2017.
Beth Pulito, Development Director, shared why this race is so important for Columbia County. Beth said, “Although this is an annual race, just recently we have been trying to consistently hold in in April, which is the National Child Abuse Prevention Month. This race gives us an opportunity to raise necessary funds to provide forensic interviews and medical evaluations to children of Columbia County suspected of abuse or neglect. It’s an event that allows participation and support from all ages and all levels of fitness, with distances from our 1 Mile Family Fun Walk to a beautiful and challenging Half Marathon. We have great volunteers who assist us in many facets of the event, supportive vendors who make our event run smoothly and fabulous sponsors and participants who see the value in supporting our mission and the children we serve. We see amazing growth potential for this event in the future and look forward to participants and partners collaboration to continue and evolve a long-standing race in Columbia County.’
Columbia County, OR- Columbia County has a habit of celebrating Earth Day with several clean ups in our communities. This year they are scheduled on Saturday, April 22nd. You can get involved by volunteering, cleaning up your property or even donating new and gently used residential building materials, home furnishing supplies.
Organizations like SHEDCO (St Helens Economic Development Corporation) have partnered with SOLVE Oregon to help make our community a beautiful place to live. In rural communities like ours, it takes a group of volunteers working together to make a difference. You can get involved by registering at http://www.solveoregon.org/get-involved/events/shedco%E2%80%99s-4th-annual-spring-cleanup. The 4th Annual SHEDCO Clean Up starts down at the Courthouse Plaza in St.Helens from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM. Some of the volunteer tasks include picking weeds, trash pickup, sweeping, and flower planting. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a few tools and gloves if they have them. You can volunteer for an hour or two. You decide. There will also be fun activities for kids like face painting and free pumpkin starts while supplies last. Light snacks and beverages will be provided after the work is done to celebrate Earth Day.
Citizens are also encouraged to bring their unwanted items, yard debris, scrap metal, appliances and more see the flyer below for details for Spring Clean Up. You can also bring your new and gently used residential building materials, appliances, fixtures, and home furnishing picked up by local nonprofit Habitat for Humanity at three convenient locations: St. Helens High School, Scappoose High School, and Columbia City school. Drake’s Towing & Recovery is available for FREE Removal of your scrap vehicles, Call Ryan 503-438-6099.
This is your community. Local citizens are encouraged to help pitch in to make their community a cleaner place. Thanks for getting involved and celebrating Earth Day bycleaning up your local communities. #earthday #springclean #columbiacounty #hereincc
St. Helens, OR – Food and Art. Art and Food. No matter how you say it, Food and Art is an excellent combination. Add raising funds to help fight hunger and the event has elevated to a can’t be missed evening out called Empty Bowls. Empty Bowls is a fundraiser for Columbia Pacific Food Bank and its right around the corner on April 7th from 5:00 -7:00 PM at the McBride School Cafeteria in St. Helens.
What makes Empty Bowls so much fun? You get to pick out your bowl. It’s handmade pottery created by local retired teacher, Pat Brame. Oh, and he has friends that help him as well. Pat also sells his pottery at the event donating 25 % proceeds back to the food bank. Pat has been involved over the past 11 years, since the beginning of Empty Bowls. Then you get to pick out your soup. The eating part is pretty yummy thanks to local restaurants who donate the food. The Ridge Runners provide live music for entertainment.
Casey Wheeler, Executive Director for Columbia Pacific Food Bank, wants the community to know, ” The purpose of this event is to help people understand what food insecure families face in our community. Often they only have soup, bread and some water for dinner (if they are lucky). Often the parents do not eat so the children have something to eat.” Casey mentioned his favorite part of the event is ” Having the St. Helens Middle School Honor Society adopt this as one of their community service projects. They develop the theme, decorations, set-up the venue, serve food and drinks, clean up and help put everything away. Also, watching the interaction of people as they eat and pick out their bowls.”
This fundraiser is a ticketed event. You can purchase your tickets for $10.00 each at many local businesses such as Bertucci’s, Sunsations, Grocery Outlet and Scappoose Bagel. They have been known to sell out so don’t wait if you want to go. See you there!
St. Helens, OR- If you’ve lived here for awhile, you might have been a customer of Geri Noble. She ran a business called “The Hutch” for 15 years on Main Street St. Helens. She’s back giving great customer service and sewing up a storm at a her old shop location but with a new partner, Debbie Loomis. Debbie, owner of Hagz Bagz since 2006 joined forces with Geri and merged their businesses on Oct 1st, 2016, Hagz Bagz & The Hutch located at 400 Columbia Blvd, St. Helens. You can also reach them at 503-397-1352.
Even with a name change, everything else has stayed the same except with added services. When asked how they decided to open their business Debbie replied, “I wanted to have a place to showcase what we love to do, create one of a kind gift items at reasonable prices.”
Geri is happy to be back on Main Street St. Helens and wants her customers to know she’s got a great new business partner. She wanted to work with Debbie to help her develop her business and sewing skills and they both love what they do. Debbie wanted to partner with Geri because “she has been in the sewing business a lot longer than me. Her wealth of knowledge was what I needed to go forward with my dream of having a storefront.”
Need a special gift, contact Hagz Bagz & The Hutch. Follow their Facebook page for ideas to give a gift from Columbia County that is personalized and from the heart. You can also shop online from their catalog.
Columbia County, OR – Columbia County has a strong, long-standing community choir called the River City Singers. The River City Singers will soon represent Columbia County at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Memorial Day, May 29th. If you are a local, you can enjoy listening to this group perform year round.
Director, Alice Boyer shared how the group was chosen for the opportunity. Alice said,” We were very excited to be invited by Dr. William Skoog who is the Chair of the Department of Music, and Director of Choral Studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN, to come be a part of his mass choir performance of Ola Gjeilo’s “Sunrise Mass.” This is a contemporary mass setting that will be performed with one of the New York Philharmonic Orchestras. Dr. Skoog and I have a long history of musical collaboration. I participated in the Dvorak Festival in Prague, the Czech Republic in 2001 as part of his festival choir. When he heard that I was directing a choir here in Oregon, he was eager to have us come be a part of this endeavor at Carnegie Hall.”
Understanding the group’s history is important; it shows their strong foundation as a group. The community choir group started in 2001 under the name Columbia Chorale of Oregon. The group has between 25-40 members depending on the season. With no auditions and no fees, the Columbia River Singers are a diverse group of men and women of various ages who love to sing. Performing in a variety of venues across Columbia County and Portland for the past 16 years, they typically perform 3-4 concerts a year with the first rehearsals starting in late August or Early September. Participating in a few community events such as Doughnut Day at St. Helens Police Department fundraiser for Columbia Pacific Food Bank allows them the opportunity to share their music with their community. They are a true community choir with a strong past and a bright future.
“We are always looking for singers and non-singers who love to support the growth of the arts in Columbia County to join us as members. While the chance to sing in Carnegie Hall doesn’t come along every year, we believe the chance to sing and perform meets a valuable need in our community. It’s been shown in recent studies that singing is a very health-promoting exercise,” Alice commented encouraging the community to get involved.
Want to show your support the local singers? If you like to sign, join them for practice on Thursdays at 7:00 PM at The First United Methodist Church, 560 Columbia Blvd, St. Helens. They are a 501(c)3 non-profit so donations are tax deductible. Alice mentioned the goal for the trip to New York is to raise $2000-3000 to offset the costs of this trip. Some of the choir members are using personal funds to cover their expenses, however, the group is setting up an “Angel” fund to help offset the costs for members on fixed incomes. Alice hopes to have as many singers who want to go be able to make this trip. For most, it is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
I’d venture to say, our community is proud of the group to represent not only Columbia County but Oregon. Go to their Facebook page to stay up to date.
St. Helens, OR – In today’s world of too much TV not enough time, Carnival Eats might be a new show for you. It’s a series on the Cooking Channel hosted by Noah Cappe who travels the US in search of the best carnival food from hot dogs to funnel cakes. The show can bring it’s fans back to their childhood memories like fairs have the tendency to do.
This past summer Carnival Eats stopped by the Columbia County Fair. Host Noah interviewed local business owner Matt Freeman, St Helens Grill, which offers quality products to create the best hamburgers and eats. You’ll see the St Helens Grill featured on the upcoming episode on 3/23/2017 – Dawn of the Bread. Matt made Noah the Marionberry Volcano dessert pictured in this blog. Catch the show to find out more about the food.
When asked about being featured on the cooking channel series, Matt mentioned he was equally nervous and excited when the producer called. He said, “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to not only highlight St Helens Grill but to also showcase the Columbia County Fair. Butch, the fair board, and the countless volunteers put so much time and effort to bring us a quality event each year they deserve the spotlight.”
Matt is no stranger to the food scene. In 2014, he opened his first company Batter Me Up operating out of a tent at 13 Nights on the River, St. Helens. At that time Batter Me Up was battered and deep fried foods; corn dogs, Oreos, Twinkies, and funnel cakes. As the business grew, so did the business plan with a 16ft concession trailer. St Helens Grill put their prior experience to use taking the menu up a notch by adding burgers and nacho/tater tots hybrid, Totchos. They are different from fair food due to our focus on local, quality ingredients. They procure fresh, not frozen NW raised hamburger from a Portland butcher, buns from Portland French Bakery, and other local products such as Bob’s Red Mill. They use quality ingredients, cooked to order resulting in a great end product for their customers.
Matt said he opened a food truck because, “My dream is to have a local burger joint serving burgers, fries, dogs, and shakes. The food cart allows me to practice for when that dream becomes a reality.”You can get some good food from St Helens Grill this summer at 13 Nights on the River events, Columbia County Fair and Rodeo and home games for St Helens Youth Football. You can also keep up with new events they add on their Facebook page or Twitter.