With the cost of gas and the scary state of the economy, we are very lucky to live in an area where there are plenty of nearby places with inexpensive, fun activities.
Heading north to Pend Oreille County is an easy jaunt and there is a great celebration going on up in the north end of the county this weekend.
Downriver Days in Ione takes place Friday through Sunday. The arts, crafts and food vendors open in Ione City Park at noon each day and close at 5 p.m. The Lions Cowboy Breakfast is served in the park from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The beer garden at the park sponsored by the Trailblazers will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The parade starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, followed by a car show with judging at 2 p.m. and the fireman’s water battle from noon to 2:30 p.m.
At the Ione ballfield on Houghton Street, “Crazy Women’s Softball” takes place on Friday at 6 p.m. The family games are scheduled Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the ballfield. On Main Street, there will be an art show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and kids’ crafts and carnival from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Butterstomp wakeboard competition starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday and continues through the day. The infamous snowmobile water cross cmpetition” starts at 11 a.m. on Sunday and continues until all the competitors finish. If you haven’t witnessed these folks riding snowmobiles across the Pend Oreille River, you need to see it!
The celebration will be alive with music, with No Restraint playing at Ken’s Grill & Bar on Friday and Saturday night and a family street dance on Main Street Saturday night with the Dave King Band. There will also be impromptu bluegrass music throughout the weekend in various locations around town.
Another exhilarating activity is a ride on the Northern Pend Oreille Valley Lions Club train. The train rides will be available at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturday and at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The breathtaking rides originate from the Ione Depot at the west end of Main Street, travel to Metaline Falls, then return to Ione. Tickets are $12 and are available by calling (509) 446-4108.
Ione’s Downriver Days celebration is very special this year as the town is celebrating its 100th birthday. There will be an open house and tours of the 100-year-old First Ione Congregational Church on Houghton and state Highway 31 during the weekend, with many historic photographs on display.
In Metaline Falls (about 10 miles north of Ione), the Cutter Theater will present the musical comedy “Nunsense II” on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. to coincide with Downriver Days.
For Downriver Days information, go to www.downriverdays.org or call (509) 442-3500. There are plenty of places to camp in the area as well as RV parks and motels. See more information at the Pend Oreille River Tourism Alliance website: www.porta-us.com.
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