Eighteen years of toasting Camas Days

Wine and Microbrew Street features live music, libations and levity

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“A Toast of Camas,” has seen a lot of changes since its humble beginnings in 1999.

The Wine and Microbrew Street — an expected part of Camas Days — came about after city “mothers and fathers” pulled the plug on the sometimes raucous beer garden, transforming it into a more refined wine street.

The more sedate wine street, however, proved a little too quiet for the lively atmosphere of Camas Days. Longtime Chamber Director Brent Erickson brought in classic rock bands to replace the “elevator music,” added more beer and brought in Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, “A Toast of Camas” provides an opportunity for attendees to reconnect and enjoy music, wine and microbrews. There has been more than one Camas High School reunion planned around the event, noted Erikson.

“It’s a great community get-together,” he said. “That’s what the wine and microbrew street is really all about.”

This year, the class of 1977 will celebrate its 40th reunion at the event.

The wine and microbrew street will be set up from 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, on Birch Street, between Northeast Fourth and Fifth avenues.

“The excitement of wine and microbrew street is that people usually run into others that they haven’t seen for a while,” Erickson said.

New features this year include Stonecap Winery, craft beer from local brewer 54-40 and Cascadia Ice for people who are tired of sipping plain water.

Other beverage options include various microbrews, Coors Light, Miller Light, Blue Moon, Mike’s Hard Lemonade varieties, Leinenkugel’s, Jester & Judge pineapple cider and bottled water. Those who purchase food from local restaurants and Camas Days’ vendors are invited to bring it into the enclosed area for ages 21 and older.

Opening performers, “The Beth Willis Band,” out of Portland, will take the stage from 5 to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday. The group, which includes Willis on vocals and guitar, and Todd Chatalas on lead guitar, also performed at the Wine and Microbrew Street in 2015.

According to the band’s website, the musicians pair “catchy musical hooks with concise, intelligent lyrics, which merge together to form a style both distinct and familiar,” dubbed as “instant classic rock.”

“Wise Guys,” also from the Portland area, and formerly known as “Zuzo Blue,” will perform classic rock hits from 7:30 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday. The band has been together for 15 years and is known for its covers of ’80s rock superstars and Top 40 hits.

The admission cost is $5 per person at the event. Each attendee must bring state-issued photo identification proving they are 21 or older. Tokens can be purchased with cash only, to buy beverages inside the Wine and Microbrew Street.

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