Hanford

What you need to know about today’s Richland’s Atomic Frontier Day events

The city of Richland, with the help of the WSU Tri-Cities Hanford History project and other supporters of the 2019 Atomic Frontier Days, has a full day of activities planned for Saturday.

The only thing participants need to do in advance is stop by the Richland Community Center to buy tickets for the mess hall dinner. A limited number of tickets still may be available Saturday at the door.

Here’s the rundown on Saturday’s events and some tips for attending:

Parade: The parade started at 11 am. on Jadwin Avenue at Symons Street near the Uptown Shopping Center. It follows Jadwin south to Mansfield Street, just north of the Federal Building.

Entries include Miss Richland 1951 waving from a convertible, a replica of a government alphabet house, WWII veterans in vintage military vehicles and one of the buses that Hanford workers used to catch each workday to get out to the nuclear reservation.

Fingernail stage: After the parade people are encouraged to make their way to Howard Amon Park on Lee Boulevard.

Opening ceremonies are at 1 p.m. at the fingernail stage.

They will be followed by a bomber flyover at 2 p.m. and then the family of the Day’s Pay crew will take the stage at 2:15 p.m. Hanford workers donated a days pay during WWII to buy a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber christened Day’s Pay.

Entertainment will continue on the stage through 6 p.m., including performances of theater, musical theater, dance and symphony with a ‘40s theme.

Howard Amon Park:

Starting at 1 p.m. participants can relive the experience of new Hanford workers, with the security badging booth the first stop.

During the Manhattan Project era — the WWII years when the nation was developing atomic bombs — many workers arrived at the Pasco train station and then hopped a bus to Hanford, said Becky Burghart, Hanford Site manager of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

There they would get their housing assignment, sign up for banking, visit the labor office and get their security badge.

Visitors to Howard Amon Park can take their security badge around to corresponding exhibits, collecting stamps, and then head over to the “security office” at the Richland Community Center to have their picture taken and be issued a souvenir security badge.

“It’s a great souvenir item and a great way to learn about the history of the Manhattan Project,” Burghard said.

Throughout the afternoon at the park, visitors can tour exhibits, including the Wanapum band bus with information about local Native American culture. The National Park Service and Battelle have activities planned, many of them for kids.

Richland Community Center: The center at 500 Amon Park Drive will open displays keyed to Hanford and early Richland history starting at 1 p.m.

Historic photos and Hanford artifacts will be exhibited.

Organizers are setting up a scene from one of the government-built and furnished alphabet houses for early Hanford workers. They are called alphabet houses because each model was identified by a letter of the alphabet.

The National Park and Northwest Public Broadcasting plan a “Remembrance Room,” where short video recordings will be made of memories of Hanford and Richland in the 1950s and earlier.

Organizers are hoping that both people who lived through the era and also their children or grandchildren who have stories passed down from earlier residents will stop by.

Photos also can be dropped off, with all information archived at the Hanford History Project.

Mess hall dinner: Many WWII Hanford construction workers lived in dormitories and ate at one of the site’s eight mess halls.

CG Catering is providing a $7 buffet-style dinner similar to what workers would have been served in the 1940s — meat loaf, mashed potatoes, Jell-O, green beans and ice box cake.

Meals will be served at 4:30 and 6 p.m. at the Richland Community Center. It is the only ticketed item of the event.

Food vendors also will be at the park.

Swing band: The day ends with a free concert 6 to 8 p.m. at the fingernail stage. Local band Less Stress and the Testers will play swing music and swing dancers will perform.

Parking/Shuttle Bus: Some of the parking near the park will be converted to a large handicap parking zone. Other parking is available at the community center. Visitors also can park at the Federal Building lot on the 900 block of Jadwin Avenue and walk over.

Ben Franklin Transit will run a bus shuttle back and forth from the parking lot at Fran Rish Stadium at 739 Stevens Drive.

Seating: A limited number of chairs will be available at the fingernail stage. Bringing chairs or blankets to enjoy the performances there, including the evening swing music, is recommended.

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