GRAYS RIVER — The Covered Bridge Dinner in Grays River on Oct. 4 culminated a week-long celebration highlighting work by WSU Extension and 4H in Wahkiakum County.

Highlights included live music and a pie social at the Puget Island Farmers Market on Friday, a 4H Open House at the Wahkiakum County Fairgrounds on Saturday and the dinner on the bridge later that evening. It was a true community event with volunteers of all ages and parts of the county pitching in.

WSU Wahkiakum County Extension Director Carrie Backman reported, “This is the seventh year of the event. It was initiated in 2007 by Extension volunteers when WSU Extension and 4-H were threatened with closure due to county budget cuts. The original committee came up with the idea to showcase the value of 4-H and Extension, and help raise funds in a unique, fun way. This committee included Bob Larson of Rosburg, Lois Nelson of Cathlamet, Carol Ervest of Deep River, Esther Gregg of Rosburg, Rob and Diane Stockhouse of Puget Island, and Paula Carlson of Puget Island.

Proceeds from the dinner provide scholarships for Wahkiakum 4-H young men and women to attend college or trade schools, and for expenses for younger members to attend 4-H camps or conferences. This past year, three $1,000 scholarships were given to graduating 4-H youths. To qualify for these scholarships, these young men and women give their time to 4-H in fair preparations and other 4-H events.

One hundred and twelve tickets were sold for the dinner. It was an enjoyable evening of community comradery with excellent food, outstanding music by Portland and North Coast violinist Jeffrey Reynolds, and wonderful cowboy humor and poetry by Grays River resident Joel Fitts. A group of very special young ladies insured all of the needs of the diners were well met. Following the dinner, Fitts served as the auctioneer for a large variety of items donated by local residents and merchants. In the true spirit of the evening, some items were purchased and then immediately donated back to be re-auctioned. Altogether, the event raised more than $4,000 for Wahkiakum 4H.

The dinner featured fall Chinook salmon caught by Columbia River gillnetter Mike Backman, pork loins with a pineapple glaze made by Mickey Bates, roasted potatoes grown by Brandon Novoselic, romano beans grown by Zimmermans Farm, pickled carrots grown by Jan Wolfe, pickled beets grown by Zimmermans Farm, Lois Wakefield’s apple cake made with apples grown by Bill Karwoski, and WSU’s Cougar Gold cheese served with artisan bread made by Mickey Bates. The chefs for the evening are longtime local cooks Mickey Bates and Lois Wakefield from Naselle, and Carol Ervest.

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