Sun shines on Fun Days

Hockinson’s annual community celebration distills the essence of summer

By Marissa Harshman, Columbian health reporter

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The biggest attraction at Hockinson Fun Days wasn’t Curly the Camel, and it wasn’t the Hockinson High School marching band.

No, on the first 80-degree day of 2011 in Clark County, the Sweet Tooth Ice Cream cart drew the biggest crowd.

“It’s been really busy,” said Brianna Wessa, who was manning the cart with Kasey Eldred. “The weather’s been really great.”

According to local residents, the weather is always great during Hockinson Fun Days.

“Somehow it’s always nice for Fun Days,” 15-year-old Zack Barcley said.

“Somebody bribes the weatherman,” 14-year-old Michael Phillips added.

It must have been a big bribe: Temperatures topped out Saturday at 87 degrees. Highs today should be around 80.

Fun Days kicked off Friday night with a family bingo night. The weekend wraps up with the 5K Fun Run/Walk this morning.

Saturday’s festivities began with a pancake breakfast at the Clark County Fire District 3 station. The pancake feed benefited a local family with two members struggling with medical conditions.

After the breakfast, hundreds of people lined the streets of Hockinson for the Fun Days parade.

With the temperature hovering around 80 degrees when the parade started at noon, people took refuge beneath trees and in the shadows of buildings. Others ducked beneath umbrellas or shielded their faces with the brims of hats.

Spectators slathered on sunscreen and sipped on cool drinks as school bands, Boy Scout troops and firefighters walked down the street.

Young kids wearing shorts and tank tops flocked as parade participants tossed handfuls of candy into the street. Older kids congregated at spots along the parade route and kept cool by eating colorful shaved ice, popsicles and ice cream.

At the ice cream cart, the frozen treat shaped like SpongeBob SquarePants was the top seller. Wessa and Eldred opened the cart for business at 9:30 a.m. By noon, they had already had to replenish their supply of the bright yellow treats.

“You run out of SpongeBob and pandemonium strikes, riots start,” Wessa said.

After the parade, spectators moved to the middle school parking lot for the Fun Days festival.

Carnival games like the bean-bag toss and ring toss lined one side of the parking lot. On the other side, vendors sold cotton candy, popcorn and hotdogs.

Hockinson resident Chad Steinbach brought his family to the event Saturday to watch his son, Grayson, march in the parade with the Hockinson Middle School band.

“It’s a small community,” Steinbach said. “We know most of the people so we don’t have to worry about our kids, they can run around.”

“It’s that small-town atmosphere,” he added. “It’s fun.”

For 14-year-old Phillips, Hockinson Fun Days were more than just fun.

“This is the best day of the year,” he said.

Marissa Harshman: 360-735-4546 or marissa.harshman@columbian.com.