Big Fourth of July Festival of America this week

Fireworks on the dam
Fireworks off the top of the dam will be bigger and better this year, chamber of commerce officials, say.

Music, food and fireworks.
Sounds like Festival of America time in the coulee, when patriots can celebrate America Friday and Saturday at the park below the Visitor Center, with a guide to the action inside this issue.
The Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce, the organizer of the event, has put together live music, kids activities, a big show in the park, fireworks and more to entertain local residents as well as the thousands of visitors who crowd the park and surrounding areas each year.
Listen to the music of MacDaddy, Tuxedo Junction and the Olson Bros. bands.
Fifty vendors will provide food and product in the park.
An “Inflatable Village,” a romp particularly for the kids, will help to make the time clearly a family time.
New this year is the chamber’s Beer Garden, located on town shop property facing Columbia Avenue, where adults can go for a beverage break and a retreat from the crowd.
All in all, a great experience filled with possibilities for everyone.
And don’t forget the Laser Light Show, kicking off just before the fireworks over Grand Coulee Dam.
All the fun is explained in the special Festival of America section with this week’s Star newspaper.
And by the way, when you see a chamber of commerce member, say “thanks” for the creativity and hard work it takes to put on the festival.

Here’s our online edition of our printed special section:

Kids Fest happens this Saturday

 

Kid-powered boat
Kids power a peddle boat during the 2013 Koulee Kids Fest in the Grand Coulee Dam Area

Kids, mark Saturday, June 20, on your calendars.

That’s the day the 11th Annual Kids Fest occurs in the coulee area.

Start by picking up your passport and map from a variety of places — Saturday Market at North Dam Park, Coulee Hardware or the Grand Coulee Dam Visitor Center.  It’s your ticket to a day of fun and adventure — and potential prizes.

Bring your passport with six or more stamps on it to the Grand Theatre on Grand Coulee’s Main Street for a performance by juggler-comedian-yoyo man Curtis Carlyle ( a 60-minute performance) with prizes awarded afterward.

During the day, kids can take advantage of many fun things to do, all organized and presented by the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ride a pedal boat

Catch a fish from a large fish tank.

Sit inside a real MedStar helicopter.

Tour the inside of a fire truck.

Romp in a bubble station.

Play disc golf.

Create beautiful chalk artwork.

Build your own dam.

Vote for your favorite Coulee Cruizers car.

Play a round of miniature golf.

Get free ice cream and cookie.

And at the end of the day make it to the thrilling Curtis Carlyle performance at 3 p.m. Winners must be present and ages 12 and under to win.

See you Saturday, June 20, for the 11th annual Koulee Kids Fest.

Adding fish to Banks Lake

POWER gets ready to release 150,000 rainbow trout.
POWER gets ready to release 150,000 rainbow trout.

One of the reasons Banks Lake is one of the best fishing spots in the state has to do with volunteers, and a little known group called POWER, the Promoters of Widlife and Environmental Resources.

The group raises young fish in net pens in Electric City each year, releasing them into the lake.

The video clip below is of them getting ready to release 150,000 rainbow trout today, Saturday, June 6, 2015, when they had a little help from five members of the Wenatchee Fishermen’s club.

Huge laser show projected on Grand Coulee Dam

laser show
A 300-foot-tall coyote face stares out from the face of Grand Coulee Dam during the laser show, shown nightly in the summer.

The laser light show that explains the history of the area and the dam shows nightly through the season. It’s the largest outdoor show in North America and is something to see, newly updated in 2014.

What time does the laser light show begin?

The laser show is held nightly at Grand Coulee Dam as follows for 2015:

May 23 to July 31 at 10:00 p.m.

Aug. 1 to Aug. 31 at 9:30 p.m.

Sept. 1 to Sept. 30 at 8:30 p.m.

The show is about 28 minutes in length. There is no admission fee. Call 509-633-9265 for more information.

How long is the laser show?

The laser light show lasts approximately 28 minutes, during which time colorful images created by the lasers move back and forth across the huge surface of the dam.

Where can I view the show?

The best locations are the seating area at the Visitor Center and from the park below the Visitor Center. These areas provide an outdoor sound system.

The town of Coulee Dam has a park —  terraced and  grassy for viewing the laser show — adjacent to the east end of the Columbia River bridge.

Other viewing spots: from Douglas Park in Coulee Dam; from Crown Point atop the granite cliffs above Lake Rufus Woods, access from SR174 towards Bridgeport.

The USBR broadcasts the audio portion of the laser light show nightly at 90.1 FM.

What is a laser?

Lasers are intense beams of light commonly used in medicine and science, but they’ve also found a niche as a high-tech, fast-moving form of entertainment. They are controlled by computers which, at Grand Coulee Dam, are in the Visitor Center.

Although a single dot of light, lasers can trace an image so rapidly it appears as a solid figure to the human eye.

The term laser is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It is so commonly used now that the tradition of using capital letters for an acronym has been dropped.

How are the lasers used at Grand Coulee Dam?

As one of the largest entertainment laser projection systems in the world,  and certainly the largest outdoor laser show in North America, the lasers at Grand Coulee Dam tell the story of the Columbia River and how its power was harnessed to provide multiple benefits to mankind, including electrical power, irrigation for farming and exciting recreational opportunities. As a result of the open process of scripting the show new in 2014, viewers will also understand the costs of building the dam — cost to wildlife,  and to native peoples whose way of life was dependent on that wildlife, in particular, the salmon that no longer could continue upstream to spawn.

How much did the lasers cost?

With the original equipment in use since 1989, the Bureau of Reclamation commissioned a new show and new equipment. The equipment began operation in May of 2013, but projecting the new show began in May, 2014. Lumalaser, of Oregon, bid the project at $1.6 million.

How big are the laser images?

Pictures are beamed at the awesome height of nearly 300 feet.

How far do the lasers project?

The laser lights are beamed between 2,000 and 4,000 feet to the surface of the dam.

Check out today’s big bull ride

A cowboy gets bucked off in last year's Cleatis Lacy memorial.
A cowboy gets bucked off in last year’s Cleatis Lacy memorial.

There’s some big bucks to be made today, Saturday, May 23. All you have to do is ride a few bulls.

It’s the Third Annual Cleatis Lacy Memorial Bull Ride at the Ridge Rider rodeo grounds in Delano. Action begins at 3 p.m.

This year, rodeo officials have added $3,000 to the prize money making the bull riding event attractive to some pretty good professional cowboys.

The event is named after Grand Coulee’s own Cleatis Lacy, a rodeo cowboy of the first degree. When he wasn’t competing, Lacy was one of the most popular volunteers, never turning down an opportunity to help out.

This year, rodeo fans will be able to pay tribute to Cleatis and another local cowboy, Bob Rowe, at the site of a memorial marker that has been erected across the arena from the main seating area.

The marker is a metal cutout showing Cleatis as a bulldogger. The companion marker is for Rowe, who had long been one of the cowboys that helped make the rodeo grounds what it is today. The markers are side by side, and a third marker honoring another local cowboy, Bob O’Neal, is being planned.

Glenn Shear designed the markers and then Joe Santistevan put his tool skills to work and created the cutouts.

Rodeo officials have added $1,000 to the purse for the wild horse race, one of the most popular events for the evening, and $100 has been added to the Junior Steer Riding event.

Wild horses, they just don't listen.
Wild horses, they just don’t listen.

Shane Marchand, Sev Carden and Deb Achord have all been active in developing the event.

And, by the way, if you’re into rodeo, this is your lucky day. Because when you get done watching the fun in Grand Coulee, you can head to the Coulee City Last Stand Rodeo about 30 miles at the other end of Banks Lake. Starts at 7 tonight.

It’s Colorama time in the Coulee!

 

Kids loving the Colorado Canival rides make the cover of The Star special section.
Kids loving the Colorado Canival rides make the cover of The Star special section. View the whole publication below.

As of Tuesday morning, there were 50 entries for the annual Colorama Parade, but 10 of those had just come in on Monday, said Peggy Nevsimal, director of the sponsoring Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce.

The parade is the Saturday sendoff to the whole lot of fun activities we call Colorama every May. The festival includes the Run the Dam early Saturday morning, the parade, the button drawing, arts and crafts and stuff in the park, the rodeo, the carnival, and the live entertainment in the beer garden at North Dam Park.

The final parade count will likely be closer to 60-65 entries.

That’s because the parade is one where you’re very likely to see someone you know who is in it to show pride in the community, or to advetise a great cause, or just for fun.

So when someone shows up the morning of the parade with a nice smile and application in hand, parade chair Tammy Norris is likely to say, “Oh, all right! You’re number 65, get in line.”

You can still be part of the big Colorama Parade, May 9.

You might spare some confusion if you stop by the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce office or go online to grandcouleedam.org for your parade entry form if you want be part of the parade and dazzle your family and friends along the parade route.

You’ll see entries in eight different categories: Community entry, Organization/club, Business, School band, Classic car, Hot Rod, Equestrian, and Junior.

The parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 9, near the staging area on Spokane Way in front of the former Center Elementary School. The route, about a mile long, takes just over an hour to complete.

The route follows Federal Avenue to Midway Avenue (SR155), takes Midway south to the Four Corners intersection with SR 174.

 

Lake level held down for maintenance on dam

The boat launch at Crescent Bay on Lake Roosevelt is currently high and dry, but Spring Canyon and up to 11 of 22 launches in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area still reach the water. Spring Canyon, the lowest reaching launch, goes down to elevation 1,222.
The boat launch at Crescent Bay on Lake Roosevelt is currently high and dry, but Spring Canyon and up to 11 of 22 launches in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area still reach the water. Spring Canyon, the lowest reaching launch, goes down to elevation 1,222.

Lake Roosevelt is being held at a level about 47 feet below the full mark while maintnenace is completed on the drum gates that hold the water back when the lake is full.

The Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Grand Coulee Dam, reports the lake will likely remain below 1,255 feet above sea level until May 10.

The water forecast for the Columbia River drainage above Grand Coulee Dam, from April to August this year, is estimated to 82.5 percent of normal, so the maximum level allowed for flood control right now would actually be 1,283.3 feet, less than 7 feet below spilling over.

But such flood control elevations are the maximum elevations allowed to ensure enough room in the lake for the spring runoff. Actual elevations may be lower “based on power demand, unforeseen power emergencies, changes in weather events, maintenance on the dam, etc,” the bureau explains on its website.

Army Corps to lower water level at Rufus Woods April 11-12

Fishing on Lake Rufus Woods
Anglers ply the waters of Lake Rufus Woods, behind Chief Joseph Dam in this 2010 photo

 

SEATTLE – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is lowering the reservoir water level upstream of Chief Joseph Dam by 1.5-2.5 feet below normal pool this weekend, but the Seaton’s Grove boat launch will remain open.

Water managers expect that work scheduled for April 11-12, to prepare for a bank stabilization project, will lower Lake Rufus Woods from its normal low-pool level of 950 feet above sea level to a lower elevation between 947.5-948.5 feet.

The project will eventually address erosion problems by placing bank-stabilizing rock armor and native plantings along 700 feet of shoreline on the Columbia River’s northeastern bank downstream of Seaton’s Grove boat ramp.

To prepare the site for construction, the waterline is being lowered this weekend for an inspection of conditions, and to remove vegetation and other obstructions that could impact bank protection integrity.

Water levels are expected to return to normal April 13.

A Corps spokesman said he didn’t know when the actual construction work would take place or how long it would take.

When complete, the structure will provide protection against reservoir erosive forces, the Corps stated in a press release Friday.

The Corps said that throughout the planning process it coordinated with the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Reclamation, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington Department of Ecology, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

What a view!

A lucky dog sniffs a great view. Ed Grenier (@roscoejefferson) photo
A lucky dog sniffs a great view. Ed Grenier (@roscoejefferson) photo

Here’s another fine use of Instagram: highlighting the great hikes the Grand Coulee Dam area offers. This shot is of a very happy dog on top of Steamboat Rock, out in the midst of Banks Lake at the Steamboat Rock State Park. It’s a hunk of earth that didn’t wash away in the series of catastrophic floods that carved the Grand Coulee at the end the last ice age.

So standing atop the rock, about 800 feet above the floor of the Grand Coulee, you can imagine the torrents that flowed through the area thousands of years ago, leaving this dramatic landscape.

The dog may not get that, but he certainly enjoys it anyway.

The First Place to Look to Plan Your Trip to the Grand Coulee Dam Area

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