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Autumn festival heralds Troutdale's artistic ambience

First ever event features music, food, paintings and more


CONTRIBUTED PHOTO  - Heather Soderberg, a prominent Cascade Locks bronze sculptor, works on a piece. The Soderberg Studio is among those participating in the first ever Troutdale Fall Festival of the Arts Oct. 2-4.The city of Troutdale has long hosted arts events, most notably with its ongoing First Friday Art Walks almost every month, save January, for the past 14 years.

Now Troutdale is about to turn its arts amplifier up a couple notches with its first Fall Festival of the Arts, Friday through Sunday, Oct. 2-4. Activities will take place in both Troutdale as well as in Cascade Locks in neighboring Hood River County.

The Festival kicks off from 5-9 p.m. with a First Friday Art Walk along Historic Columbia River Highway in downtown Troutdale.

More than a score of restaurants, galleries, home decoration and antique shops will participate, according to Claude Cruz, executive director of the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce, as well as chairman of the festival. 

The chamber serves communities from Fairview on the west through Cascade Locks to the east, and he notes the festival is a successor to the prior Fall Foliage Studio Tour, which the chamber ran from 2011 through 2013.

A professional pumpkin carving event takes place in Mayor Square, on the corner of Dora Street and Historic Columbia River Highway, from 5-9 p.m. Oct. 2, as well as from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 4. Visitors will be able to learn pumpkin carving techniques from the pros on hand.

The event also features the paintings, drawings, sculptures, pottery and other items of 40 juried artists, Cruz says. The festival features music, food, wine and beer. Admission is free for all ages.

“It’s a bigger scope and magnitude of an arts event than has ever been done in our region,” Cruz says. “There are some really passionate artists who will exhibit professional work. The intent is to create a yearly event that will keep growing. It’s been a really exciting event to work on.”CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Professional pumpkin carvers, like Gordon McDonald who carved the pumpkin shown here, will be on hand to demonstrate techniques at the festival.

Glenn Otto

On Saturday, Oct. 3, the festival shifts into high gear with activities from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Glenn Otto Community Park, 1102 E. Historic Columbia River Highway. Activities include:

• A silent auction from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

• Artist demonstrations and displays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

• A Quick-Draw competition from 3:30-5 p.m. Artists will create works, from paintings to drawings, on the spot that will then be auctioned from 5:30-7 p.m.

• From 3-3:30 p.m. Brett Maly of the History Channel TV show “Pawn Stars” will be present for a book signing.

Gallery shows

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4, the festival will highlight shows at such galleries as Ali Peret Designs & Gallery, Caswell Gallery, Columbia River Gallery, Fenske Gallery, Infusion Gallery and the Troutdale Art Center, all located on Historic Columbia River Highway, as well as the Söderberg Studio and Bronze Works, 96 Wa Na Pa St., Cascade Locks. 

Lox in the Locks

The Lorang Fine Art Gallery, 360 S.W. Wa Na Pa St., Cascade Locks, will host nine artists from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 4 who demonstrate their talents in metal art, recycled art, wood carving, pointillism, pine needle basketry and chainmail.

Slim, John and the Old Dude will play their foot-stomping bluegrass music, and the gallery will serve mimosas, bagels and lox.

Cruz says Troutdale views the arts as a “pillar of the community,” and hopes the event will continue to build momentum.

Cruz adds an estimated 1,500 artists call the Columbia Gorge region their home, and encourages visitors who’ve never been here to come and enjoy a small-town America experience.

“I think people will find that Troutdale is an inspiring place, and that there’s a reason why so many artists choose to live here.”