(By Brandon Hansen/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent)
Chataqua is here, meaning you’ll hear roughly 100 people say “I don’t go to Chataqua, too crowded” and then you’ll see them an hour later down at the park chomping down on a noodle bowl.
Chewelah’s grand celebration is one-of-a-kind of one of the largest in the state – believe it or not. While the formula is the same – vendors, carnival, food and entertainment – each year brings its own moments and memories.
I remember riding the roller coaster with my niece and then instantly regretting the fact that I’m now 32 and get vertigo when I bend down to tie my shoes. (Somebody please call and diagnose me and save me the cost of a doctor’s visit)
I remember downing an entire cotton candy bag by myself as a youngster and having enough energy to power the Saturn 5 rocket before coming down on a very extreme sugar crash that would have make the stock market drop of the 1930s look like a slight blip.
The rides, the booths, the food, the whistling midgets – they’re all embedded in our head as Chataqua mainstays. But how do you keep the magic alive? Well, by following my very scientific “Chataqua To-Do List.”
-Eat at least 8 Fireburgers and wonder outloud why they don’t sell these year round
-Wear khaki shorts, sandals, a golf polo and a hat that is roughly 10 years past its prime
-Haggle the vendors about the prices of their craft items
-Say “I shouldn’t eat this” and then proceed to consume an elephant ear, an italian sasuage, two noodle bowls and the corn dog
-The anti-acids can be found at Akers and Valley Drug
-Send your kids on one of the carnival rides and then lose track of them looking at steel art that resembles a trout.
-Go to the little league field and tell the high school umpire that his judgment is questionable
-Round up the kids by threatening to leave them in the park overnight and then tell the story of the night troll that lives under the bridge by Zips
-Suggest going to Quartzite Brewing about four times to the wife “We done here? Let’s go to Quartzite? Done? Now? Are we done? Done shopping?”
-Eat as much candy as you can and then run around in circles before hopping on the Zipper.
-Play in the Little League Tournament and get a hit against the kid picking daisies in right field
-Go to the Children’s Pavilion and get your face painted to look like Mike Tyson
-Perform in a Stagetime Theatre play that curiously has a character named “Hrandon Bransen” who drinks a lot of coffee, writes terrible columns, complains about the loss of Polanskis, always has a camera on him and awkwardly talks while looking down at the ground.
-Ask for more tickets and money because you’re going to win that big stuffed animal at the ping pong ball toss
-Have absolutely no clue how to care for the beta fish you just won at the ping pong ball toss game
-Keep the family in check as they instantly turn into a Civil War-era reenactment where brother is against brother on whether to watch the magic show or go down the big bouncy slide.
-Keep reminding Dad that the glass art person has to work and can’t talk about metals, glass and propane torches all day.
-Enjoy 30 minutes of peace and quite after the great Chataqua kid sugar crash
-Remind the family that everyone has to leave a half hour early for a good spot at the parade
-Post Chataqua ChewVino trip
-Make sure to tell Dad that he doesn’t look good in the Chataqua tank-top shirt.
-Ration out ride tickets to the children like you’re delivering food stocks from the United Nations