When I was a kid growing up in Cascade Locks, this was the event of the year. There were rows and rows of vendors and actual carnival rides. There were events, like derby car races down the hill by the port houses, and pig catches and camping. I mean there was enough to do that as kids, we could stay down there all day long and still want to go back the next day. I think every year in my mind I build it up and then measure against that history. And don’t even get me started on the parade. This event lacks serious community involvement. I mean WHERE are the cheerleaders. OH WAIT!!!!!! I know! Some idiot thought it would be best to take the high school out and make them go to Hood River and that there would be no affect on the community. Back in the day when I was a cheerleader, we were in the parade, and we had at least one booth down at Sternwheeler Days, usually two (dunk tank, plus one other). Other groups in high school did too, like the FLA, etc. I feel bad for my kids because I know what they are missing out on when it comes to Sternwheeler Days. But here’s the deal… they don’t know!
We walked around the vendors, and for my kids, that was plenty long enough. There had 3 blow up play things. One obstacle course style, one huge slide (which was the most popular), and one castle bounce house thingy which when we went by, the guy running it was passed out on the entrance. They did have pony rides this year which they haven’t had in a while but no petting zoo like in yesteryear. They did still have a series of carnival games which my son thought was awesome, but mommy did not, because you couldn’t play any game for under 5 dollars. I hope he LOVES that $5 stuffed snake. They also had go carts this year which was really cool. Unfortunately, by the time I realized it we had already spent our allotment. I didn’t even go check out the pricing because of that. But kudos to the Lions for bringing in something cool. I wish there had been some brochures, or signage or something like that though. After we bounced and slid, and played a game and rode a pony, we headed over to see the Mountain Men. It’s the same thing every year, and yet, every year, I don’t seem to want to leave without going over. They do seem to be getting a little friendlier to kids though. My kids were allowed to shoot a bow and arrow, and my son was allowed to fire a black powder long rifle. They both were allowed to make a necklace. Rumor has it that if you find the right tee pee you can get a shot of fire water. I have never found this place but I’m not really looking for it when I have the kids in tow anyway. By the time we were done looking at the Mountain Man set up the kids were ready to go have some lunch and we left. (only food down there was disgusting and deep fried)