Ages of fun in Hockinson

Community celebrates itself and its past with a day of hometown-style events: parade, carnival, food, games

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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Hockinson Fun Days Parade

The Hockinson Fun Days Parade. "Hockinson Through The Ages," is this year's theme.

Many things have changed since Hockinson established its first school in 1870 in east Clark County. But one thing that's remained the same is a strong sense of community.

That's why organizers of Saturday's Hockinson Fun Days chose a theme of "Hockinson Through The Ages," said Deeann Jurgens, the event's chair.

"I think everybody is proud of our hometown feel here," she said. "That's why we keep the parade kind of nostalgic."

The theme came alive during the Fun Days Parade.

Northwest Friesian Friends illustrated the main mode of travel of Hockinson's early days by riding the parade route on thoroughbred horses.

Brush Prairie's Back to Health Chiropractic and Massage brought in the 1970s with a rainbow-festooned float carrying long-haired hippies in sunglasses and retro clothes. Incense wafted from the float, giving a reprieve from the odor of road apples, which was heavily present -- one tractor driver even pulled a wagon of it behind him.

Along the parade's route, local people sold honey on the side of Northeast 159th Street. Hockinson's rural setting still provides freshly harvested food, as in the olden days.

A Battle Ground resident who grew up in Hockinson said his family still buys their produce in the summer from local farms.

The man, who declined to give his name, and his family represent some of the Scandinavian immigrants who settled in the area and helped to establish the county's relative stronghold of Apostolic Lutherans. He said he, his wife and six children belong to Brush Prairie's Old Apostolic Church.

Katharine Mitchell and her husband moved to Hockinson about eight years ago from Sherwood, Ore., because they wanted property in the country. They recently purchased their first cow, as well as five chickens.

Mitchell, who now has three children, said the community is family-oriented.

The Fun Days event is largely geared toward children.

The community has nearly 4,800 residents, about a third of them children or teenagers, according to the Census Bureau. The 2003 construction of Hockinson High School helped keep the community's youth in town, and the school is a community hub, Jurgens said. Residents meet there for sporting competitions, theatrical performances and other events.

In fact, the parade kicked off at the high school this year.

Jurgens said Fun Days, sponsored by the Hockinson AAA Boosters, is "a good model for engaging everybody" in the community.

The event kicked off early Saturday with a pancake breakfast at the Clark County Fire District 3 station. After the parade, Hockinson Middle School hosted a "Country Fair Carnival" with games, prizes, food and artisan vendors. The event also included a picnic at Hockinson Meadows Community Park, a 5K run at the high school track and an evening bingo game at the high school.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com.