By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Phil Sheridan Days marked in West Valley

Marcus Larson / News-RegisterChildren have fun at Phil Sheridan Days.
Marcus Larson / News-Register
Children have fun at Phil Sheridan Days.

The aroma was noticeable all the way to the city hall parking lot.

A half chicken was served with baked beans, potato salad and a roll as the band played on.

“That’s a big meal,” event vice-chair Ted Mayfield  said. “Those are not small chickens.

“There are 25 cooking in each grill. We sold 450 last year. We had one left. A lady drove up who wanted it, and we said, ‘You’ve got it.’”

Mayfield said attendance was down a little this year, but shrugged it off.

“We’re going to be down today,” he said, “but it’s always fun to see people on the street. They want to know when the chickens are going to be ready.”

He said the chicken business generally picks up following Saturday’s Grand Parade. For good reason, too.

“We serve a good meal,” he said.

Not everyone made themselves comfortable at one of the covered picnic tables set up to accommodate customers. Many people bought a meal to go, if not several.

Mayfield said individuals who organize the barbecue receive wonderful cooperation from neighboring businesses.

For example, he said, the chickens are purchased from Sheridan Select Market, which refrigerates them in a big cooler. That works well, he said, because the market is situated near the barbecue site.

A school supplies fundraiser featuring pulled pork was held just across Bridge Street from the barbecue site this year. That was fine with Mayfield.

“There was someone selling hot dogs right out in front of here last year,” he said. “I think he sold out. Competition is good, I guess.”

Mayfield said the barbecue makes some money, but not a lot. It’s such big part of the total celebration that he enjoys himself regardless of how sales fare.

He takes great pride in what the celebration has become.

“Sheridan is such a beautiful town,” he said. “This gets the community together. Everyone steps forward and that’s neat.”

Mayfield and his wife, Virginia, spend five months a year in Apache Junction, Ariz., and seven in Sheridan. Phil Sheridan Days is one of the highlights of their West Valley stay.

The celebration stretched over several days, but Saturday was the highlight. It was teeming with activities, including the Grand Parade.

The parade began at Faulconer-Chapman School and disbanded at City Park. There were entries of all kind, and the lineup numbered more than 50, according to event chair Bob White.

Civic leader Harry Cooley, a 1973 Sheridan High School graduate, served as grand marshal. Retired after 21 years as an electronics technician at the Federal Correctional Institution, he currently manages the family’s home business, Hill Security Products.

He is serving on the city council, and has served in other city capacities in the past. He has served as a Sheridan Fire District volunteer and taken an active role in the Boy Scouts.

Joining Cooley in the parade was the Honored Court of Ruth Green Davis and Dorothy Marie Hawk.

Davis has lived in Yamhill County her entire life. She was born and raised on a farm in the West Valley, along with six sisters and two brothers.

Hawk was born in Aberdeen, Wash. She attended grade school on the Oregon coast and high school in Willamina.

Participation was also high for Friday night’s Junior Parade. More than 200 children were involved, according to White.

The celebration was held a weekend later than usual this year to accommodate the carnival. It will return to the third weekend in June next year, White said.

“Things were kind of slow Thursday and Friday, but it picked up Saturday,” he said. “The vendors did well, the carnival did well and so did the barbecue.”

Crowds were well behaved throughout the celebration, according to Sgt. Russ Vandewettering of the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office, who oversees the West Valley Sub-station.

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