Camas Days is a crowd pleaser

From bounce houses to microbrews, festival offers a little something for everyone

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Under skies that turned from cloudy to clear, the ever-popular Camas Days festival attracted families, teens and single adults alike.The event kicked off with the popular Kids Parade on Friday, which began with Camas Fire Chief Nick Swinhart walking alongside one of the shiny red vehicles. Excited shouts of “Fire truck! Fire truck!” could be heard up and down Fourth Avenue.

Molly Rank of Vancouver sat with 15-month-old son Caleb, waiting for his big brother Graham, 4, to walk by with Camas Montessori School.

Rank and her friend spent time exploring the different vendor booths and food offerings prior to the parade.

“We were really impressed with the variety of things available,” Rank said. “In the past, we’ve enjoyed the Toast of Camas. What I enjoy most about the parade is that they are involving kids in the community. It’s neat.”

Heather Morishige, watched the parade with sons Noah, 7, and Gabriel, 3.

“I like the sense of community bringing everyone together,” she said. “Local people sell their things and everyone gets together.”

When asked what they enjoyed most, both boys agreed candy was king.

“I like treats,” Gabriel said.

Items from sunglasses to garden art were available from various vendors at the festival.

Attendee Glenna Breimom said, “It’s fun every year. They’re doing something right, since we come back every year.”

During the evening, adults 21 and older enjoyed live music from bands Zuzo Blue and Stranded, as well as wines from Maryhill and Columbia wineries, microbrews, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

Several attendees got up to dance, while others visited with friends and enjoyed people watching.

“It’s truly a community event,” Camas resident Scott Sonju said. “Camas is a great place to live and be.”

Under warm sunny skies, hundreds of people lined Northeast Fourth Avenue on Saturday morning to watch the annual Camas Days Grand Parade.

Staying with tradition, the parade was led by a Camas Police Department vehicle driven by Chief Mitch Lackey, followed by a variety of entries including elaborately decorated floats, clowns squirting water into the crowd, taekwondo demonstrations, hot rods, equestrians and marching bands. Without a doubt, the more than 70 entries in the parade kept the crowd entertained from start to finish.

As the parade came to a close, ask any child attending what they enjoyed most and the answer would likely be a resounding “The candy!” Many kids took home bags full of the sweet stuff that was tossed liberally into the crowd as the parade made its way down the street.

At the bathtub races Saturday afternoon, kids got sprayed with water from a fire hose in between race rounds. The Bathtub Bandits finished in first place, followed by the IQ Cutties and Suspicious Package.

Adding to the excitement of Camas Days weekend, East County Fire and Rescue hosted its annual open house on Sunday.

Participants had the opportunity to sit in a Life Flight helicopter, watch a demonstration of the Jaws of Life, and receive a tour of the station.

Christy Zillman, of Washougal, said the highlight of the event was watching the use of the Jaws of Life in the vehicle extrication demonstrations.

She was at the open house with her husband John, their two children and two of their neighbor’s children. They toured the fire station and fire engines. The children’s favorite part of the event was the bounce house.

Information was available regarding poison control, the Citizen Emergency Response Team, smoke alarms and Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency.

Grove Field, near the fire station, hosted an Aviation Career Day on Sunday. The event included helicopter visits from Life Flight and Hillsboro aviation.

The CWAA table had T-shirts, coffee mugs and airplane-shaped cookie cutters for sale.

Jim Metzger, one of the CWAA pilots, said his passengers included several former residents of Ukraine.

“It was their first ride in a little airplane,” he said. “They thought it was pretty dang cool.

“It was a great day to fly,” Metzger added.

Bridget Carrick, Heather Acheson, Dawn Feldhaus and Dan Trujillo contributed to this story.