For many years communities have been jumping on the festival bandwagon. It's a great way to raise community support and to draw in outsiders.

Last weekend's FunFest on Main Street and the Umatilla County Fairgrounds in Hermiston attracted record numbers of people and offered more to see than in years past.

At the fairgrounds, highlights included potato sack races, a Hermiston Idol singing competition and an OMSI exhibit complete with touchable bones, electrified presentations and tricky puzzles.

A wide range of activities on Main Street boosted the numbers even more with live performances, lawn mower races, a car show, games, vendors and a petting zoo.Visitors had the opportunity to dunk local "celebrities," such as coaches and police officers.

During the week, organizers have been changing the scenery in preparation for a different kind of dunking - that of the round ball variety.

Today and Sunday Hermiston plays host to scores of 3-on-3 basketball teams as the community enjoys the "Takin' to the Streets" basketball tournament. As of Thursday afternoon, 100 youth teams had registered; eight co-ed teams and 24 Men's Elite teams are ready to play. In addition, 37 Men's Rec teams are in the tournament.

With three players and one alternate per team, that means that no fewer than 636 basketball players of all ages are headed to town - not to mention all their parents, friends and curious onlookers.

These festivals give Hermiston a chance to show off. It's an opportunity to put our best foot forward and demonstrate to people why we like it here.

They are also the precursor to the Umatilla County Fair and Farm City Rodeo, Aug. 11-14.

This year FunFest attracted more people and more vendors. The basketball tournament is also reaching new heights in popularity.

It goes to show you something that in these times of down economy, people are still willing to get out and support the community, and hopefully have some fun at the same time.

Be careful of strange dogs, they might be dangerous

Earlier this week The Oregonian reported that Washington County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a pit bull that had run into a house and attacked another dog in Aloha. The dog bit the hands of the dog's owner who tried to protect his pet.

The sheriff's office said the pit bull weighed more than 100 pounds and had escaped from a yard Monday evening when children left a gate open.

Deputies arrived as the pet's owner and another man were trying to restrain the pit bull. The other man had tried to stab the dog using a kitchen knife.

One deputy had a control pole looped around the dog's neck, but it was thrashing around so violently the other deputy feared it would get loose, so he shot the dog twice in the head, killing it.

This should be a warning to everyone.

A similar instance was reported in Hermiston a little more than a year ago. A dangerous dog had gotten loose and was savagely attacking another animal. In that fight, a pocket knife was finally used to stop the crazed animal.

Not all pit bulls are bad, but keep your distance from strange dogs anyway. If you see a dog on the loose, call 911 immediately.

If you are thinking of adopting a dog, make sure you go to a reputable breeder or check in to local animal shelters. Consider if you are ready for the responsibility. If you have no experience with training dogs, or are not ready for the responsibility, pick up a dog training book and stay away from large or dangerous breeds.

Take into account your situation. Are there small children or other animals in the house? Are you financially capable of taking on the extra expense?

-TC

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