Arts & Entertainment

Harvest Festival ushers in fall in West Richland

Celebrate the end of summer and fall's arrival at the West Richland Harvest Festival.

The annual festival starts at 11 a.m. Sept. 19 and features music, a karate demonstration, a classic car show and myriad dance exhibitions.

All events happen at Flat Top Park, off Bombing Range Road and Van Giesen Avenue in West Richland, except for the Unboat Rally, which takes place on the Yakima River.

"We haven't got the entire schedule confirmed yet," said Darrell Toombs, an organizer of this year's events. "So far, we have the steel drum bands playing at 11:30 for about a half-hour each. Then at 2 p.m. the Hawaiian dancers perform."

Between those events will be a karate demonstration by members of the Columbia River Karate team. The car show is from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Harvest Festival has been a fall staple in the Tri-Cities for years. Though a farmers market used to be a key part of the event, it hasn't been part of the festival since the Red Mountain Lions Club took over organizing it four years ago, Toombs said.

"We saw a need to keep this event going, but unfortunately we have not been able to keep the farmers market alive because most of those vendors are spending their time at the (Tri-Cities' other) farmers markets."

The Unboat Rally features 20 crews paddling, drifting or maybe even sailing down the Yakima River in unconventional floating devices.

The rally is actually a revived, if somewhat modified, version of the Unboat Races held years ago on the river.

"We just wanted to make this fun instead of competitive," said Don Mannion, organizer of the rally. To take part it'll cost $15 registration fee and must be signed up by Sept. 17. Proceeds from the event will go toward the Gold Star organization, which helps families who have lost a soldier in war.

Unboat festivities begin between 8-9 a.m. with boaters meeting at Flat Top Park so their floating devices can be inspected for safety. Then they'll hit the water at the Snively Road boat ramp from there and float about eight miles downriver and exit near the West Richland bridge.

Registration packets are available at the West Richland Golf Course, Yoke's Fresh Market in West Richland, or the West Richland Chamber.