From the earliest days of the pioneers, the people of Clatskanie have enjoyed celebrating our nation's birthday. The first 4th of July observances here centered around family picnics with games, races and various activities. By the turn of the century, the great American game--baseball--was gaining popularity, and there were hard-fought battles between the town teams of the Lower Columbia. For decades, a baseball game was the centerpiece of Clatskanie's 4th of July celebration. In the last spring and early summer of 1957, the people of Clatskanie were saddened by several tragic drownings of young people in the rivers, ponds and sloughs of the Lower Columbia. By mid-June, a drive had begun to build a community swimming pool in the city park, where children could learn to swim under the watchful eyes of trained lifeguards. Led by Clatskanie Volunteer Firemen, the community began to raise funds for the project. A big barbecue was planned for the 4th of July, and hundreds of people gathered in the park to celebrate America's Independence, visit with friends and neighbors, cheer their favorite baseball team, eat barbecue and raise funds for a worthy cause. By Labor Day, the pool was inaugurated with another barbecue and a swimming party. In the last 35 years or so, Clatskanie's 4th of July celebrations have continued to grow and evolve. An annual 4th of July Parade was added, followed by a barbecue, games, races, concessions, bingo and more in the city park. The barbecue and booths provided a means for community service and youth groups to raise funds for their projects. Former residents established a tradition of returning to their old hometown each 4th of July, where they can greet literally hundreds of old friends and neighbors in the city park. By the late 1960's, the festivities had expanded to include several days worth of various events and numerous features were also added - a big parade, PeeWee rodeos, musical programs, a royal court, etc. The celebration was called the Clatskanie Scramble, and was later renamed "Clatskanie Heritage Days". The Heritage Days of the 1990's, coordinated by the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce and the Heritage Days Committee, continue to have the charm and family fun of an old fashioned, family oriented 4th of July. The events invite all to participate and celebrate the many wonderful aspects of our community - a "Classic Car Show" with 50's music, "Pie in the Park" baking contest, log show, and an old-fashioned soda fountain, the big parade, barbecue, some years have also included a talent show and canoe races, - all climaxing with a firework spectacular as beautiful and exciting as any in the Northwest.
Join us during Heritage Days and you'll see Clatskanie at its very best.