By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Willamina will celebrate old-fashioned Fourth

Willamina relaunches celebration

Beginning at dusk on the Fourth of July, it will be show time in Willamina, as the West Valley community will host the only fireworks show in the Yamhill Valley.

The longstanding Willamina Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration returns this year after a COVID-19 break in 2020.

A day packed with activities from one end of town to the other, including the always-popular arm wrestling competition and logging show, in addition to a parade, will culminate with bombs bursting in air.

In past years, fireworks have been displayed from an area adjacent to the former Willamina High School property, now home to the West Valley Community Campus.

Spectators would gather on the football field and in the grandstand for the best view of the show. There was entertainment in the form of a band that played prior to the show. Food vendors set up shop.

The campus is off-limits to spectator viewing this year, according to Fourth of July Committee Chair Jack Scott, who suggests people “head to the hills” for the best view of the fireworks. “Wherever you can get some height,” he said.

The Willamina School District campus, on top of Oaken Hills Drive, is an option. The district has given the committee permission for the fireworks to be viewed from that site, according to Scott.

No personal fireworks, however, will be allowed at the location. Scott admits that might be difficult to control, but he hopes people think safety first in light of the extremely high fire danger.

Preceding the fireworks show will be the parade that will leave the former Conifer Plywood Mill property and head west down Main Street. Grand marshal will be Tom Coblentz, who has been instrumental in making the car show a success in past years.

Scott praised the work of his committee for pulling the Fourth of July Celebration in a relatively short period of time.

“We didn’t have it last year and we knew we might not have it this year,” he said. “When it looked like the state was starting to loosen up, we thought we might have a shot.”

Planning has taken place year-round in past years with the committee taking December off. Planning was not as intense this year because of so much uncertainty.

Mayor Bob Burr told the city council at a recent meeting that he is amazed everything came together as quickly as it did.

A schedule of events:

Saturday, 5:30-8 p.m., arm wrestling weigh-in, Garden Spot Park Gazebo.

Sunday, 7-11 a.m., VFW breakfast, VFW hall/East Main Street; 8:30, logging show registration, Walsh Trucking; 9, logging show; 9, car show registration, C Street/by the South Yamhill River; 9-4 p.m., pony rides, Lamson Park; 9-5 p.m., vendor row, First and C streets; 10 a.m.-1 p.m., arm wrestling registration, Garden Spot Park Gazebo; 10, free zone, Willamina Christian Church/200 S.E. Baker St.; 10, car show, city property behind Dillons Grill/181 N.E. Main St.; 11-2 p.m., Willamina Public Library open/382 N.E. C St.; noon-1 p.m., car show judging, behind Dillons; 1-4, Willamina Museum of Local History open/188 N.E. D St.; 1-4, kids’ zone and elephant ears, Willamina Free Methodist Church/253 N.E. D St.; 2, arm wrestling, Garden Spot Park Gazebo; 5, classic car parade registration, Oaken Hills Drive, off Highway 18B; 5, parade registration, former Conifer Plywood Mill property; 5, parade judging, Conifer; 6, parade starts, from Conifer and travels west on Main Street.

There is no parking on Highway 18B (Main Street) after 4 p.m. Violators will be towed.

“The committee knows what it is doing,” Scott said. “They are absolute pros. Most of them have been on the committee for years and years. They are some of the hardest working people I know.”

The most challenging aspect of planning this celebration was attempting to line up as many food vendors as possible. Scott said there will be a scarcity, simply because many who have set up in Willamina in previous years committed to going elsewhere this year.

“After this COVID lockdown, people are anxious to celebrate,” Scott said of the anticipation he feels leading up to the celebration.

Mud drag competition had been a part of past celebrations. There are two shows scheduled this summer, Saturday, July 17, and Aug. 28.


 

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