OROVILLE – It promises to be a busy summer in Oroville, and the city’s Chamber of Commerce won’t even be waiting until summer officially begins for things to get underway.
Though the May Day Festival weekend isn’t officially a Chamber event, the organization does participate on a number of fronts a is seeking volunteers, said President Clyde Andrews at the Thursday, April 11, Chamber meeting.
The barbeque is the Chamber’s big part to play on Saturday, May 10.
“The idea is to make money,” said Sandy Andrews. “It used to be for insurance to pay for our events. But we’re going to step it up a notch and add to our scholarship fund which has diminished.”
Workers are needed on Friday to prepare the meet; on Saturday, to set up the tables a the high school (8-10 a.m.), serve the food (11-1), then for takedown (2-3 p.m.).
“For most it’s an hour or two,” she said. “We’re not hiring out for anyone to help us out. We’re keeping the money for ourselves for the scholarship fund.”
Clyde Andrews said that the Chamber, which in recent years has contributed $500 to the scholarship fund, is hoping to at least double that amount.
Rally at the Border
The Chamber is organizing a new blues festival centered around the annual Rally at the Border event, May 17-18, that brings hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts into town.
“They come up to town, eat lunch, turn around and leave,” said Pastime Bar and Grill owner Vicki Hinze. “Last year they came into the Pastime, ate lunch and two hours later they were gone.
“We have all of these people here; now we have to get them to stay.”
The motorcycle run, in its 12th year and sponsored by the Columbia River HOG, will arrive in Oroville at about 1:00 p.m. Blues bands will be playing in Deep Bay Park from 2-10 p.m.
There also are barrel tastings going on at local wineries, a cruise-in car show by the North Country Car Club at Gold Digger Park on Main Street, and a post-festival jam session at Pastime starting at 10 a.m.
Tickets for the festival cost $20 online or in advance or $25 the day of the event; tent camping at Deep Bay Park is $10.
“People don’t just have to hang out at the blues fest,” Hinze said of the other events going on at the same time. “They can come and go. The more we can do here on Main Street so people know the town is alive, the better.”
More information (as well as ticket purchase capacity) is at www.rallyattheborderbluesfest.com.
Lake Osoyoos Grand Slam
Bud Clark Field will be the location of an international baseball tournament being organized by the Discover Oroville committee (the Chamber committee tasked with focusing on tourism) on Saturday, June 21.
“One of our main assets is that beautiful lake,” said Lisa McCoy. “We’ve been trying to market that and use that.
“We’re trying to get the Canadian team players, and Seattle and Spokane area teams so they can come and stay and spend their dollars locally. … to grow Oroville.”
As she noted, the lake is heavily marketed on the Canadian side of the border.
“We need to ‘own’ our part of the lake,” she said.
As for the tournament, McCoy said it will feature both U.S. and Canadian teams competing for cash prizes. There are plans for food vendors, a beer garden and a Saturday barbeque at Veranda Beach for players and others who wish to attend.
Spectators may attend at no charge, she said.
“The city is happy because they have invested a lot of money in Bud Clark Field,” McCoy said. “They want to invest more and the only way they will do that is if we use it.”
The following weekend, June 28-29, Oroville host the Lake Osoyoos Cup, organized by the Northwest Jet Sports Association, at Deep Bay Park.
Events will include an “autocross” type race around buoys on the lake alongside Deep Bay Park, an endurance race to at least the Canadian Border (and possibly as far as Haynes Point, if all comes together), and stunts with Jet Skis over a wave created by a pair of wake boats.
The course will be set up by professional Jet Ski racers and course designers Ian Benson and Aaron Newport.
“Anybody can participate,” said Raleigh Chinn. “We’ll have days of racing on Saturday and Sunday in Deep Bay Park. We know there will be camping. There will be two days of racing; three different kinds of events.
“At a minimum we’re looking at 75 race teams, averaging 1.25 runs per night. We expect 20-25 percent participation from Canada and should generate 40-50 ‘new room nights.’ “
“The beauty with this is all we have to do is host it and they bring their people,” Andrews said. “Also as opposed to the hydro races, locals can participate too, not just those coming from outside.”
More information is at http://lakeosoyooscup.blogspot.com.
To top it off, Andrews said, the Chamber is looking to expand Independence Day celebrations to include more than just fireworks, which will themselves be expanded.
“This has basically been done by a couple of guys who are now tired of going after the money (for the fireworks),” Andrews said. “We’ve stepped in to help make it a bigger event….We’re hoping to spend $10,000 (double what has been spent in the past) for a different mix of fireworks.
“We want to make it a day event at Deep Bay Park, so people can hang out until the event with vendors and activities. … We have the option of getting this lot, and shuttle service from Prince’s down there so we can get more people enjoying this.”
Andrews said that Leah Colbert is handling most of the organization for that event.
“We’re even hoping to add an international boat parade,” Andrews said.
Andrews added that a “South of the Border” could be in the works as well, for the weekend in September following the Okanogan County Fair.
“They Mexican-American population in the city of Oroville is 20 percent,” Andrews said. “It’s the highest percentage on the stretch of the US-Canadian border. Our name is Spanish, after all.
“It will start out small and we’ll see what we can do to create an event that starts out as just a Saturday event, hit the vendors, mariachi bands. (Andrews’) Camaray Motel may even start a bed racing contest that day. It has the potential to be a week-long festival.
“We have beautiful weather that time of year, but after Labor Day it seems like you can hear crickets.”