Eight bands will perform at Mayors Square on July 22
by: conributed photo, The Misty Mamas will perform at 11 a.m. at the Troutdale Bite & Bluegrass Festival on Saturday.

TROUTDALE - The city is home to a new signature event - The Troutdale Bite and Bluegrass Festival, which will be held Saturday, July 22.

The idea for the festival was born when Columbia River Gallery owner Donna Erwin was brainstorming ways to bring more people into downtown Troutdale.

Sharon Sandgren, who had performed at Erwin's gallery during the Troutdale First Friday event with No Time To Lose, a bluegrass band she is part of, suggested a bluegrass concert and offered her help to find performers.

Another merchant suggested adding food, and things snowballed from there.

The city's first Troutdale Bite and Bluegrass Festival will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday with a performance by Trouble and Then Some outside of Columbia River Gallery, 305 E. Historic Columbia River Highway.

Music will continue throughout the day on the stage in Mayors Square, with performances by eight bluegrass bands, including the Misty Mamas, Mollybloom and Zach Driscoll and Three Quarter Time, which represent a wide range in sound, Erwin said.

'This is going to be a great family event,' Erwin said. 'You can't help but be totally impressed by the musicianship.

Erwin said she is excited about using Mayors Square to draw people into the heart of Troutdale from other areas of the state. She has gotten a lot of response from an events listing in 'Via,' the AAA travel magazine.

'I thought we were just going to have a little concert in the park,' Erwin said. 'I had no idea how serious these bluegrass fans are - they actually plan their whole summers around (these types of festivals) and get in their RVs and travel from this one to that one.'

The West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce helped the six-member Troutdale Bite and Bluegrass committee secure a grant to pay for part of the festival. Other funds have come in the form of corporate sponsorships.

Erwin hopes to make the festival an annual event, but noted that in the future the Bite and Bluegrass committee will begin making arrangements sooner to make it easier to book the musical entertainment and raise funds for the event.

Admission to the Troutdale Bite and Bluegrass Festival is free, but donations will be gladly accepted, Erwin said.

A portion of the proceeds from event T-shirt sales and vendor booths will benefit the Sandy River Rescue Fund, which helps pay for the lifeguards that staff Glenn Otto Community Park and the High Rocks area during the summer.

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If you go

The following bands will perform at the Troutdale Bite and Bluegrass Festival on Saturday, July 22, on the stage in Mayors Square, in Troutdale.

• 11 a.m. - Misty Mamas

• noon - Zach Driscoll and Three Quarter Time

• 1 p.m. - The Loafers

• 2 p.m. - Mollybloom

• 3 p.m. - Lee Highway

• 4:30 p.m. - True North

• 5:30 p.m. - Great Northern Planes

• 6:30 p.m. - Mollybloom

• 7:30 p.m. - Hakanson Family

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