The fireworks weren’t the only thing drawing eyes skyward in Umatilla this weekend. The river town marked its annual Umatilla Landing Days, as well as its 150th anniversary celebration, with a three-day festival, but weather interrupted many of the Saturday afternoon activities.

The storm ran through Umatilla Marina Park around 1 p.m. and tore canopies, bent tent frames and shut down the event for the early afternoon. Some of the event’s 40 vendors were unable to return after the storm because of damage, primarily to vendor tents on the west side of the park being tossed and damaged by the wind off the river.

“We lost about one-third of our vendors because of the storm, but several people came back the next day,” said Karen Hutchinson-Talaski, Umatilla Chamber director. “Other than the rainstorm, the weekend went really well, and I think a good time was had by all. The weather for the afternoon after the storm blew away was beautiful.”

The storm did force ferry re-enactments to end early, however, because the river remained rough even after the the event reopened, but the planned fireworks show went off on schedule that evening. In honor of the town’s 150th anniversary, the event sponsored a show worth $5,000, an increase over the typical $3,000 show.

“The fireworks show was fantastic,” Hutchinson-Talaski said. “We’d love to put on a $5,000 show every year, but we can’t always raise that much.”

The planning committee has already started fundraising for next year’s production, however. The group raised about $200 through a reader’s theater production of “Operation Clean Sweep,” a play based on an event in Umatilla’s history, on Friday evening, and an additional $1,000 through parking charges on Saturday and Sunday.

“We’re a little more than one-fifth of the way toward our goal for next year, and of course, we’re taking donations at the office,” Hutchinson-Talaski said. “The weekend went really well, and we’re looking to next year.”

Umatilla Landing Days will return to a one-day event schedule next year.

          

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