By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

In Willamina, a fun-filled Fourth

The West Valley Kiwanis Club’s annual pancake feed will be held at the historic hall, located just north of town at the intersection of Willamina Creek and Tindle Creek roads.

The feed, to feature eggs, ham, pancakes and a beverage, will kick off an entire day of activities associated with the popular celebration.

The day encompasses a logging jamboree, valve cover races, arm wrestling competition, medical helicopter appearance, car show, pony rides and vendor booths. There will be a fireworks show at dusk at the old high school, now known as the West Valley Community Campus.

A traditional highlight promises to be the Grand Parade down Main Street, to embark at 6 p.m. from the old Conifer Plywood property adjacent to the West Valley Fire District’s main station. Registration is scheduled for 3 p.m., with judging to follow at 5.

If you plan to enjoy breakfast and your knowledge of the Fendall Community Hall building is limited, here’s some background, courtesy of local historian Charlene Brown.

Although the Fendall family settled in the area about 1849, there is no record of a Fendall School until the late 1800s.

The original building burned around 1900. It was replaced by the one-room school building now serving as a community hall.

The building last housed students during the 1947-48 school year. It has since been housing community events.

Local Kiwanians have been serving breakfast on July 4 longer than Ted Mayfield can recall, and he’s been active in the club for 37 years. Pancakes were flying off the griddle years before he joined.

The club claims only 16 members, so it’s essential to get everyone involved to make the breakfast a success. Fortunately, some nonmembers are usually willing to pitch in as well.

The prep work starts Wednesday, when Fendall Hall is decked out in red, white and blue. The first breakfast crew will arrive at 5:30 the following morning.

“They’ll start cracking eggs and getting the grills hot,” Mayfield said. “People will be lined up at 7.

“It’s a good breakfast. It’s served well and we try to have a little entertainment.”

Mayfield said he just sits out front and collects money from people. He also gets to meet all the people he hasn’t seen since last Fourth of July.

“It’s really good,” he said. “It’s a good atmosphere.”

Entire families show up, and big families at that, like the Risseuws.

“The whole bunch comes as one big group,” Mayfield said. “It’s always fun to see them.”

The Kiwanians had some major shopping to do in the days leading up to the breakfast. They had to pick up 600 slices of ham, 1,200 eggs and enough mix for 700 pancakes, along with gallons of syrup, tubs of margarine, orange juice and coffee.

Breakfast is $6 for adults and $3 for children. Mayfield said he thinks that’s a fair price, when he compares it to other pancake breakfasts he has attended.

Charlyn Pranger has lived in the West Valley for eight years and helped with the feed for five. She said it’s “pretty frantic” in the kitchen for the opening crew.

She said she’s never sure what she’s going to be doing.

“It just depends on what needs to be done,” Pranger said. “Sometimes it’s cracking eggs, sometimes it’s cleaning tables. It just depends on what needs to be done. You don’t have time not to be busy.”

She said everyone has a good time. “There’s a lot of laughing and a lot of hand shaking,” she said.

Mayfield said he’s proud of the work the club does in the community. He said the pancake breakfast is just one example, as a portion of the profit is turned over to the people who oversee Fendall Hall.

“We’re extremely active,” he said. “It’s one of the most enthusiastic clubs in the district.”


  • What: Willamina Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration.
  • When: Thursday, July 4.
  • Where: Throughout the Willamina community.
  • What to do : West Valley Kiwanis Club breakfast, Fendall Hall, 7 a.m.; car show registration, West Valley Community Campus baseball field, 9 a.m.; horseshoe tournament registration, Oaken Hills Drive campus, 9 a.m.; valve cover race registration, downtown, 9 a.m.; logging jamboree, across from Coyote Joe's Restaurant, 9:30 a.m.; valve cover races, downtown, 10 a.m.; arm wrestling registration, Garden Spot Park, 10; Reach Air Medical Services helicopter, West Valley Community Campus, 11 a.m.; car show judging, West Valley Community Campus baseball field, 1 p.m.; arm wrestling, Garden Spot Park, 2 p.m.; parade registration, former Conifer Plywood Mill property, 3 p.m.; pony rides, D Street, until 4 p.m.; vendor row, downtown, until 5 p.m.; parade judging, 5 p.m.; parade, 6 p.m., starting from the mill property and continuing west down Main Street; fireworks, West Valley Community Campus, about 10 p.m. Note: Events and times are subject to change.
  • Also: At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, RootJack has been booked for a Lamson Park barbecue serving as a fireworks show fundraiser.
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