Amboy's annual family affair

Territorial Days keeps city's logging tradition alive

By Stefanie Donahue, Columbian staff writer



Amboy Territorial Days

AMBOY — Ruth Ham has made participation in the annual Amboy Territorial Days Celebration a family tradition. Four generations of her family have participated in the Territorial Days parade since it began in 1961, she said.

This year's celebration opened Friday and ends at 6 p.m. today at Amboy Territorial Park.

Seven of Ham's great-grandchildren participated in the parade this year, said her daughter, Betty Melton. Their float, mounted on a trailer attached to their blue 1954 Chevrolet pickup truck, fit this year's theme, "Thriving in a Modern Forest."

If you go

Sunday’s events

• 7 to 10 a.m. breakfast.

• 10 a.m. church service held by Amboy Baptist Church on Olstead Stage.

• 11 a.m. park officially opens, the Hometown Carnival opens, and a silent auction begins in Portable “B.”

• Noon beer garden opens. “1-A-Chord” Christian band performs at Olstead Stage.

• 1 p.m. lawn mower races begin in Waser Arena; $5 admission. Silent auction ends.

• 1:30 p.m. “Pure Fusion” Christian band on Olstead Stage.

• 2 p.m. Children’s Arts and Crafts Fair awards .

• 5:30 p.m. beer garden last call.

• 6 p.m. day officially ends.

Members of the Amboy Territorial Days Association and the Amboy Church of the Nazarene are collecting food donations throughout the celebration. Donations go to the Amboy-area emergency food bank.

Ham's great-granddaughter, 10-year-old Annabelle Melton, persuaded her family to enter a float this year, Melton said. It took about a week to assemble the trees, moss and fake animals. It won the Best Family Float award.

"I am very proud of my family," Ham said.

The celebration brings people from the area together.

Ham has lived in Amboy since she was 3. Last year, she was Citizen of the Year and Grand Marshal of the parade.

"They all know me," she said with a grin.

Ham's family history in logging brings her closer to the most popular event at the Amboy Territorial Park, the logging show. Her dad worked in the woods as a young man and her family is still involved in the industry, she said.

Next to the beer garden, the logging show attracts the largest crowds, said Nancy Buckbee, treasurer of the Amboy Territorial Days Association and parade chairwoman.

Local businesses and logging companies around the area donated equipment, logs and rock, she said.

"The logging industry is fading," said Buckbee. "There are more houses than there are trees in Clark County."

Amboy boasts the only logging show in Clark County. Loggers from Oregon and Washington participate, she said. The event brings in $5,000 to $6,000 each year, she said.

"Our main goal is to keep the logging tradition alive," she said.

Stan Sawyer started participating in the show in 1965, he said. Sawyer was raised in the area and has logged for more than 30 years, he said.

Sawyer said the competition introduces people to log-loader equipment and power saws that many haven't seen before. One saw, for example, is powered by a V-8 engine and cuts through a log in about a minute and is only used for exhibition, he said.

Along with participating in the show, Sawyer was excited to see his 10-year-old granddaughter compete in the ax throw and the choker-setting contests, he said.

"You can't miss her," he said. "She's darling."

All proceeds from the event go to the 18-acre Amboy Territorial Park. The locally owned park is operated by the nonprofit association made up of volunteers, according to its website.

Stefanie Donahue: 360-735-4510;