Damp, chilled, ” but having a blast: Valemountain Days exceeds expectations

by Andru McCracken

Left to right, top to bottom: A competitor at the Logger’s Sports; Kirby Scheller at the watermelon eating contest; Addison and Cliff ready for rain; Iyunola happy with parade candy; Mark Etty and son Cameron riding on a fire truck in the parade; Northern Health’s parade float, which won 2nd place overall. / PHOTOS BY LAURA KEIL, BETH RUSSELL, BRIAN MCKIRDY & OTHERS

“A little rain isn’t going to dampen our spirits,” said Mayor Townsend as she kicked off Valemountain Day’s Street Dance on Friday night, and that turned out to be true.

Despite some unseasonably cold weather, rain and fresh snow on the surrounding mountains, Valemountain Days was a great success. President Jennifer Scheller said that the Valemountain Days was able to make more than enough money to carry on next year and pay for some much needed improvements on the grounds.

“We’d like to put a new roof at the beer gardens,” said Scheller.

The beer garden roof leaks, and while patrons can jocky for a dry spot, the volunteer bartenders have to endure cold water dripping from above as they work.

Scheller also hopes to improve the ventilation at the concession..

Darci Peever took on running the concession at the Sportsplex, in the past it’s been one of the gnarliest jobs and the hardest to recruit volunteers for. But Peever said she had a great turnout to fill the 24 shifts required and some spontaneous volunteers.

Left to right, top to bottom: Mae Frye and Maureen Brownlee, cruising; CIBC Manager Allen Reale was “arrested” during the parade by Sgt. Bob Dean. 10 parade watchers were taken into custody. The bail, set at $25, raised money for next year’s festival; high school principal Derrick Shaw at the dunk tank; Plan B won the baseball tourney; Chikara and Sarah won 2nd at the Jack & Jill crosscut saw; elementary school principal Priscilla Davis faced her fears at the dunk tank.

“Everybody worked really hard and they all wanted to be there,” said Peever.

Improvements to the concession would allow them to offer french fries.

Scheller was only elected president in mid April. She and a band of new directors managed to pull off the festival in style with a record number of volunteers.

And Scheller said things are looking good for next year too.

“I’ve already got people asking to join the board,” she said. “Usually you are scrambling to get volunteers. They are the same people and they are burnt out.”

Scheller expected a lower than average turnout this year.

“When I saw so many people out there, it blew me right out of the water,” she said.”  A good thing, Scheller and both her sons took a dip in the chilly waters of the dunk tank.

“It was good to see how busy it was even Sunday in the rain.”

Left to right, top to bottom: Mike Berkenpas and band played the street dance Friday; Violet, Autumn, and Isis with new faces; Inset photos: Angela Van Velzen, 1st place of Ladies Best Overall Logger; the library float won 1st overall; Callie practicing her ironwoman skills near her real-life logger dad. / LAURA KEIL, BETH RUSSELL, BRIAN MCKIRDY & OTHERS