Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle

Summer has arrived and hopefully, the gift of warmth and sun. I have always liked Father's Day because it means summer is arriving. These days I am grateful for my community of friends and people who smile when they see me. Thank you for being my family of friends and readers. One thing that brings me joy is through this column. Being able to share news of what's happening and doing what I can to help when I know there is a need, makes me feel I belong.

Photo of the Week: The Finnish American Folk Festival is an opportune time to bring attention to ways both new and old can be involved in the community. First and foremost for this summer, is the need for volunteers at the Finnish American Folk Festival coming at the end of July. All are welcome to make a commitment of hours or whole days to help with the various lectures, music, food booths, displays and smiles to welcome visitors who attend. This bi-annual festival brings visitors from all over the world here to "Finntown," my favorite word for our Downriver Dispatch communities. Please note that all of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon are included in that word. To find out more about FAFF, call Jennifer Boggs at (360) 484-3679.

Story: Kayrene Gilbertsen, who was raised on Puget Island, remembers her young years when both Little Island and Puget Island were full of Norwegians. Her mother told her she would be fine traveling around in her own area but not to go to the east end because there were Finns down there. Kayrene laughed and told me, "It was only one family." It makes sense, though, when everyone around you spoke Norwegian and a family moves in who only spoke Finnish. Puget Island has become a melting pot today, but there are many families there of Finnish heritage who all speak English! One aspect of today's community culture is that everyone is welcome, so I hope to see many of the festival T-shirts after that weekend because it helps folks here recognize you are local. Visitors take their shirts home, but we who are part of the "Finntown" community can advertise a large portion of our community's history, by wearing the shirt.

One way to support FAFF is to attend both events being held this weekend as fundraisers for FAFF. Join FAFF and the Appelo Archives to Celebrate Juhannus (Midsummer) at the Naselle Community Center this Saturday. FAFF, together with the Appelo Archives, will host a salmon or cheeseburger dinner (with roasted potatoes, macaroni salad, beetroot salad, coffee and lemonade), beer and wine available for purchase separately, and a concert (by donation) by Kathi Huhtaluta and Marvin Todacheenie. Dinner and beer garden start at 5 p.m., and the concert begins at 6:30 p.m. You can pre-purchase dinner online at: Salmon is $20 prepurchase, $25 at the door (cheeseburger is $10 prepurchase or $15 at the door). The Appelo Archives Center will also host an Afternoon Midsummer Tea on the following day, June 25 at 2 p.m. It will feature traditional tea goodies. Last year's tea was delightful. Tickets are available at the Archives Center or online at

Story: Marie Klint Fauver talks about the Grays River Creamery, still located next door to the Grange in Grays River. "The best memory connected to the creamery was birthday time. The folks would order ice cream. It came from Astoria by boat. There were big wooden barrels with cans inside with ice cream in them and around the cans was regular ice. Dad and Mom left the barrel out on the porch and as the ice melted, Dad would take out the plug in the bottom of the barrel and drain the water out. But before the ice melted, we would have the ice cream all melted. After a few years it came in tan-colored canvas sacks, about three to four feet high, still packed in cans but in dry ice. But this didn't seem as good as letting water out of the bottom of the barrel. I guess it made it taste better. Since I went to the creamery every day with Dad, we would either stop at Appelo's store or Meserve's store and would get an ice cream cone. In later years, the 1940's and 1950's, the older people would talk about me and my dad and my ice cream cone. I was quite a person to follow my dad around." This is a story from the book, "Water Under the Bridge" by Ruth Busse Allingham, for sale at the Archives Café.

Update: I want to apologize to the Grays River Enhancement District board for offering my email address for those interested in being the third Board member in a past article. Since the district's new email had caused confusion for an individual who had trouble contacting the board, I put my own email address thinking that mine could easily be found before the deadline. It was never my intention of being perceived as a board member.

Calendar: I have lunch on Tuesdays at noon every week at the Archives Center in Naselle. Come and join me and the lunch bunch, then spend time at the museum upstairs, or check out the library up there, too. And get your ticket for the Tea!

June 24: FAFF and Archive Center salmon or hamburger dinners with concert at the Naselle Community Center.

June 25: The annual Finnish Midsummer Tea at the Appelo Archives Center at 2 p.m., this Saturday.

June 26: Second FAFF meeting of the month. 3 p.m. at Naselle Community Center

August 27: The Annual Loggers Reunion at the Appelo Archives Center

Senior Lunches: The Senior Lunch Club meets on two dates each month, the first and third Wednesdays at noon at Rosburg Hall. The next club lunch will be on July 6. CAP's box lunches can be picked up every Thursday at noon at Rosburg Hall. Contact Denise at (360) 762-3111 to reserve yours.

Word for the Week: watermelon.


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