(By Brandon Hansen/Brandon is the managing editor of the Chewelah Independent)
The big event is here!
Chataqua is now occupying our lovely Chewelah City Park with food vendors, various arts and crafts, Center Stage entertainment and carnival rides.
Since our town is usually just the 2,600 people that live around here, having many more thousands can be a bit of a shock to the town of Chewelah.
So get your sunscreen on, put some cash in your 90s’ fanny pack and get ready to Chataqua hard with my handy-dandy survival guide.
GOT CHILDREN? TIRE THEM OUT WITH THE RIDES
Having a seven year-old niece with an unlimited supply of energy that could power mankind until the end of time, I know that it’s important to tire your kid out.
Why? Because chances are they’ll have cotton candy, and ice cream, and snow cones and deep-fried Snickers bars and probably complimentary insulin shots as well. Chataqua kids’ blood sugar levels must be at “The Hulk” levels and you’re probably going to see a few kids running around Chataqua that are glowing green.
So buy a roll of tickets, let them tucker themselves out on the Gravitron, or the Spina-roo, or The Zipper, or whatever machine of torture they bring this year.
(As someone with a slightly upsetable stomach, I always skipped out on the rides and just waited for the gossip at school to get around on who threw up on what ride and on who.)
HUNGRY? GET A FIRE BURGER
Now I’ve been known to say a thing or two about the Oasis Burger in this paper, but during Chataqua it’s always a tradition to get a Fire Burger. Why? Well it’s put on by the fire department so you know they’re not going to burn the burgers. If the fire department could swing it and sold Fire Burgers year-round I’m pretty sure I would fund half of the Chewelah City Fire Department by buying a fire burger every other day.
MAKE SURE YOU SEE KELLY HUGHES
And walk around the park and tell people “Are you going to Kelly Hughes? HEY, HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT KELLY HUGHES?” It’s like Chewelah likes country music or something…
Unless you want to LOOK like a Fire Burger.
MAKE SURE YOU ASK EVERYONE YOU KNOW IF THEY’VE BEEN TO CHATAQUA
It’s actually in the city bylaws for you to ask everybody from Chewelah if they’ve been down to Chataqua. This usually results in two responses, they either show you the elephant ear that they’ve been eating or they claim they haven’t been to Chataqua for years – shortly afterwards you usually see them in the beer garden.
MAKE SURE YOU GET ALONG THE PARADE ROUTE EARLY
Some people like to watch Rugby. Me? I like to watch everybody in town elbow their way into a good spot to watch “the parade.”
When you live in a town where everybody knows everybody, is there anything better than a parade? I am unsure if I’ve ever ran into someone who detested parades — except for communists.
My favorite part is seeing the logging trucks and wondering whose kids got conned into cleaning those before the parade because I don’t think you can fit them in the car wash (although I have ridden in a log truck that went through an espresso stand.)
MAKE SURE YOU EAT A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT OF FOOD
So much so you’ll have to immediately buy a membership to either The Shed or The Body Shop to work off those deep fried marshmallows or noodles with half a cow on top.
I’d love for someone to eat healthy for the three days of Chataqua. They could perhaps only get vegan options while eating at the park. I’m sure there’s many options, namely the grass in the park.
I went to Always… Patsy Cline last weekend and got to watch former JHS graduate Dana Fleming perform on stage as part of Spokane Valley Summer Theatre. She said she had been on hiatus from theatre for a while, but oh boy, she didn’t lose a step and got lots of chuckles from the audience. It has to be said again: Chewelah keeps pumping out theatre standouts. I’m not sure where they mine all this creativity out from in the valley.