Tag Archives: Grand Coulee Dam

Fantastic weekend for blues lovers

The stage at Sunbanks during the blues festival.

Bummed that you missed last week’s free concert by Jr. Cadillac? Don’t be.

Sunbanks Lake Resort is offering a great lineup of about 19 bands listed for  this weekend at their annual fall Blues Festival.

This is a beautiful setting and a great time. Call the resort for details and to see if there is any room available. Or get another room or campground locally.

Note: If you’re a boater, the only access to Banks Lake right now is at Coulee Playland, just down the street. The upside of this: The water is reportedly warmer than normal and beaches are BIG. This is a temporary thing for this year only. The USBR is lowering the lake for maintenance purposes.

 

Fun planned over the Fourth

The top of Grand Coulee Dam serves as an impressive venue for fireworks.

In addition, to all the fun around Grand Coulee Dam, the food and craft booths in the park and great scenery, look for three days of outstanding music when the Grand Coulee Dam Festival of America is celebrated July 2, 3 and 4.

The Town of Coulee Dam is sponsoring the music for the second straight year, and according to Mayor Quincy Snow, the town is offering an outstanding assortment of music for the three-day event.

The venue for the event is the park below the Visitor Center. Music begins Saturday, July 2, with Eric Engebretson at 4 p.m.

Eric E, as he is also known, is familiar to coulee area music fans, having been a regular for several years during the Festival of America celebration. With his voice, guitar and a digital “looper” Eric E can pump out a song from just about any year named back to the first part of the last century.

Eric E works his musical magic at the 2010 Festival of America

Snow has scheduled what he calls “happy music” for the night cap with the Mariachi Estrella DeMeico band of Wenatchee. They make their second appearance here, and will be on stage from 6 p.m. until 9:30, just before the 10 p.m. showing of the Laser Light Show.

On Sunday, music begins again at 4 p.m. with Scott Smith and Kayla Taylor, a couple of area favorites. They play country, pop and rock renditions.

At 6 p.m. Campbell Road, a Celtic band, will perform in his first appearance at the festival.

The 8 p.m. appearance of the ever popular Steve Sogura, highlights the evening. His impersonation of Elvis Presley and his music has been a favorite at the festival for years. He will perform until just before the Laser Light Show.

As Elvis, Steve Sogura works the crowd at the Grand Coulee Dam Festival of America

On Monday, July 4, at 4 p.m., Smith and Taylor will be back with their variety of music styles for another two-hour performance.

At 6 p.m., older music lovers will connect with William Florian, former lead singer with the “New Christy Minstrels.” He will perform until 8 p.m., when Sogura will rock the area with a couple of hours of Elvis music.

The concerts, all three days, are free and financed through the town of Coulee Dam’s hotel/motel tax receipts.

Watch out for sneaky water levels

Low lake coming up
The level of Lake Roosevelt has been held low for flood control, but will now rise through July 11.

Camping or boating on Lake Roosevelt?
Watch yourself and the lake, which will continue to rise at a couple feet a day, even on the Fourth of July.

 

That means you shouldn’t pitch your tent too close, or you might be floating before you wake up.
And your boat, anchored out very far, could lift its anchor as the water rises. Good luck finding it the next morning. Better to tie it off at shore with a long rope.

Lake Roosevelt likely won’t be full until about July 10 or 11 this year, a good week later than most years due to the late spring runoff.

New tours offered at Grand Coulee Dam

A stop on the top of the dam is a good photo op for visitors.

The new tours of Grand Coulee Dam take about an hour and afford visitors the opportunity to go into the Third Powerhouse and ride across the dam with a stop to look over the spillway.
Visitors this week will likely get an extra thrill when they stop for a spillway look because Bureau officials say that the facility will start spilling water sometime this week.
Visitor tours start with a briefing by tour guides who provide information about the dam, often with a humorous touch. Then its into a 20-passenger bus or a van for the driving part of the tour.
Visitors get to go through security control gates and ride to the lower portion of the Third Powerhouse, where they get out and walk into prescribed areas of the building housing six huge generators. Security is tight, but done in such a way that it isn’t intrusive.
Visitors tour the massive Third Powerhouse

All along the way, tour guides provide pertinent information and answer scores of questions. They either have the answers at hand or are quick to admit that they don’t know.
Tours begin at 10 a.m. seven days a week and go on the hour all day long.
Tour officials said people going on the tours should arrive 15 minutes early due to security reasons.
But we’ll tell you that if it looks like a real busy season, show up an hour early.
Here’s another tip you may only get at this blog: If you have a choice between the small bus and van, take the van. Those are driven by USBR tour guides who will tell you interesting facts as they drive you around the site. The buses are staffed by bus drivers. They drive.
The tours begin at the building at the east end of the dam almost directly across from the Visitor Center. No bags or purses are allowed on the tour because of security concerns; accordingly, visitors are encouraged to lock them in their cars. That includes camera bags (although cameras are OK) and even diaper bags.
Either before or after the tour, see the interactive exhibits at the Visitor Center, and catch a short movie or two about the history of the dam.

Hot off the press — almost

It’s not even on the streets yet, but here you get to see our latest print edition of the Grand Coulee Dam Area Visitors’ Guide, 2011-2012 issue.

Flip through it and tell us what you think in the comments!

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