An evening in white illuminates downtown Camas

Festive gathering benefits the Camas-Washougal Mural Project

More than 150 people attended the “Camas in White, Dinner on Fourth Avenue” event on Saturday evening in downtown. Attendees dressed in white outfits and dined at tables decorated in white color themes. This group of friends, many of whom are neighbors in the Lacamas Shores area, pose for pictures before dinner begins. The event was a fundraiser for the Camas-Washougal Mural Project. Through an auction of five art pieces, approximately $2,215 was raised, including a $1,400 winning bid by Capstone Technology Corp. for a painting of the Camas mill by local artist Maria Grazia Repetto. View additional photos from the event at


Friends and family enjoy food and drinks at the Camas in White event. Tables and chairs were set up on Northeast Fourth Avenue, between Adams and Birch streets.


Before dinner, party-goers dined on appetizers and cocktails. The meal began with a traditional napkin wave at 7 p.m. The “diner en blanc” concept was first made famous in Paris. Similar events are now held throughout Europe, and in U.S. cities including New York, Chicago and New Orleans.


At the Camas-Washougal Soroptimists' table, refreshments with hints of lemon and herbs were poured into delicate glass pitchers. The group's other table decorations included white flowers, teddy bears and candles.


Camas resident Colleen Brundage tries to stay cool with her feathered fan.


Participants got creative with their table decorations, including paying homage to the city's paper mill history with centerpieces made of rolls of toilet paper, accented with feathers and flowers.


Camas resident Cindy Ontkean puts the finishing touches on her table setting by lighting the white candlesticks of a silver candelabra.


A table setting created by friends and neighbors of the Lacamas Shores neighborhood included menus printed with the Julia Child quote: “Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.” Sarah Bang said each of the 16 seats at the table included a place card printed with a fictional name reflecting the “white” theme of the evening. The Lacamas Shores group won the table decorating contest.

The community came together in downtown Camas Saturday night — to dress up in white attire, eat with friends and financially support a local mural project.

More than 150 people attended the event.

Inspired by the “Camas in White” theme, table centerpieces included white flowers and feathers on top of rolls of toilet paper.

Wearing a flapper-style dress and pearls, Annette Jackson, of Vancouver, attended the first-time event. As one of the artists whose work is on display at Ballard & Call Fine Art Gallery, she was invited to participate in the fundraiser.

Jackson has attended similar white-theme events in Seattle and Moscow, Idaho in the 1980s.

At the Camas event, her dinner included shrimp and crab salad, bread, lemonade and a yogurt sundae.

“Everybody is dressed up in the spirit of the event,” Jackson said as it was getting underway. “Everyone is incredibly friendly.”

Sarah Bang, of Camas, said she and 15 friends and neighbors have always wanted to have a white dinner. Their tables were topped by silver candelabras and cards with fictional names such as Sylvia Snow, Hugh White and Blanche du Blanc.

Dinner included prawns and Cornish game hens.

Sporting a blonde wig, Bang said she was attending the event to support Camas.

“I’m loving it,” she said regarding the festive atmosphere.

Ron Kennedy, of Washougal, was among the Soroptimist International of Camas-Washougal members seated at the “Polen’s Teddy Bear Picnic” table.

Nancy Polen made chicken salad sandwiches and salted caramel brownies for the occasion, while table mates brought fruit and salad.

Kennedy was impressed with the turnout.

“I love to see this kind of community support and involvement,” he said.

Allison Higgins said the setting for the event was “visually stunning.”

She and her husband, Camas Mayor Scott Higgins, celebrated their 17th anniversary Saturday.

Uta Zuendel donated a butternut wood carving, that was auctioned at the event.

“It is wonderfully organized,” she said. “I hope they repeat it, in some fashion.”

Zuendel, of Camas, feasted on grape/broccoli chutney salad, fried chicken and a baguette.

Josette Kohltfarber sat at a table decorated with white chrysanthemums.

She enjoyed the Edith Piaf CD that was playing during the early portion of the event. Later, singer Matt Brown entertained the crowd, as the sunlight gave way to moonlight and lit candles.

Kohltfarber, of Camas, and others at her table enjoyed food from K’Syrah Catering and Wine Bistro, Harvest and Twilight Pizza Bistro.

J.P. Brooks wore a New York Yankees replica pinstripes jersey with Mickey Mantle’s No. 7 on the back.

“I’m not a Yankees fan, but I get to meet a lot of people this way,” he said.

Brooks, of Camas, said it was his first white-theme event.

“It’s another excuse for Camas to get together and celebrate our uniqueness,” he said.

Jackie Halbert and her husband Bryan, of Vancouver, were invited to attend the “Camas in White” event by Roch Manley, a board member with the Downtown Camas Association.

“It is pretty cool — a nice set up, well organized,” Jackie said. “It is a fun idea.”

Online, she has seen white theme dinners in other countries that attracted more than 1,000 people.

“Downtown Camas has so much character,” Jackie said. “That adds to the ambiance.”

She ate stuffed chicken, and Bryan had salmon, prepared by Harvest chefs.“The weather couldn’t be more perfect for an evening out with my bride,” he said. “It’s fun to dress up and have a nice dinner.”

Wine was available, along with cocktails such as “Dark n’ Stormy,” “Grasshopper” and “Old Fashioned,” served by Michael Sturman, from the Birch Street Uptown Lounge.

The first mural will be painted by Maria Repetto and mounted above Ballard & Call, at 408 N.E. Fourth Ave. It will be inspired by a photograph of downtown Camas taken in the early 1900s.