Chili, choppers and children at chamber event

Music Fair and Feast adds to the fun of Mountain Days
by: Shari Lanter, The baddest bikes around will be at the Music Fair and Feast

Nobody in the area will be able to use the excuse that there's nothing to do in Sandy this weekend. Even the most uninspired slacker will find something as the town teems with activities and events.

The Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce once again will take to the streets with its annual Music Fair and Feast, the group's biggest fund-raiser of the year, from Thursday, July 6, through Sunday, July 9. All activities are located on the corner of Pioneer Blvd and Hoffman Ave in downtown Sandy.

Festivities kick off Thursday with Family Night, which serves as bookends to the Sandy Mountain Festival Parade. Children 12 and under will get free hot dogs from 5:30 to 6:30, while the whole family can enjoy live music by the Flashback Band, playing rock, oldies, top 40, disco, and funk before and after the 7 p.m. parade. Also look for the Pioneer Booster Club selling shortcakes and pizza to raise money for the Sandy High School cheerleaders.

On Friday, the Junior Talent Show Contest welcomes kids ages 6 through 18 to display whatever talent they have to offer, from magic to singing to skateboarding. Winners of their respective age categories will receive a $100 savings bond, and the overall winner receives a $500 savings bond. Acts will be accepted on the day of the event, so there's still time to get your performance together.

Friday and Saturday nights feature a beer garden, open to anybody 21 and older. Gates open at 6 p.m., and organizers encourage patrons to arrive early. At 7 p.m., a $7 cover charge will start, but Les Schwab in Sandy has $2 off coupons. Enjoy live performances by Muchmore Country on both nights, along with food vendors.

'I'm looking forward to throwing the biggest party in Sandy for the community,' said Jennifer Groza, organizer and Chamber member.

Poker Run for Hospice

On Saturday, July 8, starting at 9 a.m., a special Poker Run and Bike Show will be held to benefit Mt. Hood Hospice. Motorcyclists will start in either Fairview or Oregon City with a bingo-card re-created for poker. As they travel to the festival grounds in Sandy, riders will stop at designated locations to pick up 'cards.' When all bikes have arrived, the best hand will win.

While the Poker Run has been a staple of the festival for the past five years, this is the first year the chamber has taken over. They quickly found a worthy charity for the event to benefit in Mt. Hood Hospice.

'We're just thrilled that they thought to do this and thought of us,' said Nancy Hoffman, community relations director at Mt. Hood Hospice. 'For as long as we've been in business, 26 years, we've been in Sandy.'

Hoffman described hospice as a 'philosophy of care.' Its services help people who are nearing the end of life die comfortably and pain-free in their own home. Mt. Hood Hospice is the only independent, non-profit hospice in the metro area.

While riders enjoy the scenic ride into Sandy, spectators can enjoy a bike show at the festival grounds. Starting at 11 a.m., amazing motorcycles will be on display with live country music by Barry Lee White. The chamber will offer a number of fun activities, including raffles, prizes, give-aways, and a number of different vendors. Spectators will also have the opportunity to donate to Mt. Hood Hospice if they cannot participate in the Poker Run.

Registration for the Poker Run costs $17 per rider, $10 per passenger, and $5 dollars for extra hands. Bike show registration is $10 per bike.

Chili Cook-off

The final day will add a little spice to the Music Fair and Feast when the chamber holds the first-ever CASI Chili Cook-off from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, July 9. The event is sanctioned by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), and therefore winners will qualify for the Terlingua International Chili Championship Cook-off. Ken Rodd, director of public relations for CASI, understands that while the competitions are fierce, they offer more than just chili.

'Number one, it's all about camaraderie, you meet the nicest people in the world at chili cook-offs,' Rodd said.

The organization has more than 2,500 members with 20,000 people participating annually in competitions. Only about 450 of those qualify for the championship.

Cooks from as far away as Canada are expected to travel to Sandy for the event, which is good news for spectators who simply want to taste what's cooking. Tasting cups can be purchased for one dollar and then place a vote for the People's Choice Award. The grand prize is a Coleman stove.

Organizers encourage anybody who has interest to get their favorite recipe and enter the competition. That's exactly how Rodd got started.

'I started cooking chili myself and it sounded fun to me,' he said. 'I cooked a pile of chili, all my friends told me how good it was, and I didn't come close to winning. But we highly encourage anyone going to a cook off to go and try it.'

2006 Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Music Fair and Feast

Located on the corner of Pioneer Boulevard and Hoffman Avenue in downtown Sandy,

Thursday, July 6

5:30 to 11 p.m.

Les Schwab Family Night

Friday, July 7

2 to 4 p.m.

Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Junior Talent Show Contest

Friday, July 7

5 p.m. to midnight

Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Beer Garden

Saturday, July 8

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ride for Hospice

Saturday, July 8

5 p.m. to midnight

Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce Beer Garden

Sunday, July 9

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

CASI Chili Cook-off

Poker Tournament:

75 players, $50 buy-in, $400 to winner, $200 to 2nd and $100 to 3rd (in pre-paid Visa cards), plus prizes for the last 15 players standing.

The Music Fair and Feast is a fund-raiser for the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce, a local non-profit helping businesses in the community's strive for excellence. For more information, call Jennifer Groza at 503-810-0932.