Downtown Camas loses a signature event

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The bright green light pole banners advertising the Mother’s Day Plant and Garden Fair will be missing from downtown Camas this year.

Instead of being held along Northeast Fourth Avenue and its side streets, as the event has for more than a decade, the 14th annual festival on May 7 is being moved several miles away to the Camas High School campus.

According to representatives from the Columbia Gorge Women’s Association, the non-profit that has organized the event for the past several years, this new location will have its perks including more centralized parking, easier access for vendors and customers, and fewer traffic impacts. However, what will be missing are some of those intangible benefits that the downtown site offers.

The Mother’s Day Plant and Garden Fair is about more than just providing an opportunity for local residents and out-of-town visitors to purchase plant and garden items. Like Camas Days, for many years it has been one of downtown Camas’s classic signature small town events. It has grown and increased in popularity every year. And the CGWA, which uses it as a fund raiser for scholarships, has done a great job maintaining its quality year-after-year.

In downtown Camas, the Plant and Garden Fair offers a chance for attendees to take a stroll in a beautiful outdoor setting, meet new people, visit with old friends, eat at a favorite restaurant, stop by a unique boutique and see what’s new among the downtown businesses. From an economic standpoint, the event that can bring in 10,000 to 12,000 people in just one day provides exposure for the downtown area that is nearly unmatched.

It might be too late to think about holding the May 7 fair in downtown Camas, but organizers should take the time to do their research and seriously consider bringing the popular event back to its original home in 2012.