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Washougal plans first ‘Hello Spring!’ community fair

City hopes to hold event annually on last Saturday in April; encourages residents to help cleanup neighborhoods before attending fair

Doug Flanagan/Post-Record Washougal resident Rod Tipton picks up garbage at Hathaway Park in Washougal in November 2021. The city of Washougal will hold its first Hello Spring Community Fair on Saturday, April 30, at the park. City leaders are encouraging people to pick up litter in their neighborhoods in the morning before coming to the event.

A new event is springing up in Washougal this year.

The city of Washougal will hold its inaugural “Hello Spring!” community fair at Hathaway Park from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 30.

“The city of Washougal is very excited to host the first annual ‘Hello Spring’ event,” said Rose Jewell, the city’s community engagement manager. “This event provides a wonderful opportunity for everyone to spruce up their own neighborhoods by picking up litter and spending an afternoon enjoying food and fun educational activities. (We look forward to) learning and laughing with each other.”

City leaders view the spring fair as a successor to its popular Easter Egg Hunt and Eggstravaganza event, held annually in downtown Washougal and Hathaway Park through 2019.

“We actually kind of started this idea during ‘Eggstravaganza’ three years ago. We were incorporating more and more of the spring, come-to-the-park theme when we moved the event from downtown into the park, but didn’t formally change the name,” Jewell said. “We had actually planned to (introduce the spring fair) two years ago but weren’t able to because of COVID. We relinquished the egg hunt portion to the (Washougal Eagles Club). Easter’s always moving around, so it’s kind of hard to chase it sometimes, but this way it will always be on the last Saturday of April. We get a little better weather, too, when we do that.”

The community fair will feature educational activities, giveaway and free food.

The fair also will have a community “spring cleaning” component. City officials are encouraging local residents to use special, blue garbage bags available at Washougal City Hall to collect trash around their own neighborhoods on April 30, before coming to the park for the Hello Spring event in the afternoon.

“The bags are specific to the event, so when people see them, they’ll know they’re part of the event cleanup,” Jewell said. “We realize there’s a lot of garbage lying around. If every (resident) would clean up their neighborhood, could you imagine what the community would look like? When (people) see other people cleaning up, they tend to want to do the same thing in their neighborhood. We thought about having a contest, but we have to develop it more. We’re starting with the basics (this year) and we’ll continue to work on it and expand it for next year.”

During the event, community organizations, including Waste Connections of Southwest Washington, will educate residents about a variety of spring-related topics, including water conservation and recycling, garbage and yard debris Additionally, the American Red Cross Cascades Region will share information about its Sound the Alarm program, an initiative to install 50,000 smoke alarms nationwide.

The event will also feature a craft tent, hosted by the Washougal Community Library, and a “Passport to Spring” activity for children, who can answer multiple-choice questions at the event booths and exchange their stamped cards for prizes.

“We wanted to bring our community together and give them some good information and good food, and have some fun and (play) some games,” Jewell said. “And of course, the city council will be there. A lot of constituents aren’t able to come to City Hall, so they’ll be able to engage the mayor and the city council at the event. And we’ll have staff there educating people about the parks and water conservation. We have so much information to share about how to keep water bills down.”

The city is partnering with Washougal High School’s culinary program to provide 600 free hot dog lunches during the community fair on April 30.

“We wanted to enhance that program and give (the students) opportunities to be involved in (community events), so it’s a win for them,” Jewell said. “And of course, we wanted to serve hot dogs; who doesn’t like a hot dog in the park?”

Washougal High culinary students will prepare the meals on-site and distribute them first-come, first-served while supplies last.

“The Washougal School District is proud of our strong partnership with the city of Washougal, and we are excited that our existing contract could help the city purchase food for the event at a lower cost,” said Washougal School District director of career and technical education and culinary services Margaret Rice. “Our students are also excited to be part of the event, to have a real-world service opportunity and to contribute to our community. Events like this make Washougal a great place to live, learn, and work, and we’re happy to be part of the fun.”

Hathaway Park is located at 732 25th St., Washougal.