Harvest Days returns to Battle Ground

Event features mainstays following a year off


Battle Ground has a reason to celebrate in downtown this summer as Harvest Days returns following a COVID-19-related hiatus in 2020.

From July 16-18, a number of the festival’s perennial events will make another appearance on and off Main Street. The event, put on by the Battle Ground Festivals Association, will feature a carnival, parade, pancake breakfast, vendor fair and Friday night cruise, with organizers saying there’s a potential for more to come in the weeks ahead.

This year’s event was first announced on June 11 and came together swiftly once the uncertainties of COVID-19’s impact became more clear.

“With all of the restrictions that have been in place, and COVID happening, nobody knew for sure what was going to happen,” said Kendra Laratta, the festival association co-chair and owner of Battle Ground print shop Ink Ability.

Luckily for Harvest Days, the vast majority of restrictions are set to end June 30, if not sooner.

The decision to cancel last year’s Harvest Days didn’t come easy, but made sense to organizers as they tried to figure out how the rest of the year would go during the pandemic.

“I think at that time when we were looking at planning in April, May and June, there were so many things up in the air about COVID and how that was working and what was going to happen,” Laratta said. “It was disappointing, obviously, but definitely the smart thing to do in the time we were in.”

The planning started only a few weeks prior to the announcement that Harvest Days is still on, fellow co-chair John Idsinga, a longtime city resident and former mayor, said. All of the events that are not located on Main Street will be at Battle Ground High School, Laratta said. She expressed thanks to Battle Ground Public Schools for allowing them to run the show there.

The week’s events begin with a carnival that will run from July 16-18, put on by Butler Amusements, Laratta said. The company is the same one putting on an event at the Clark County Fairgrounds in August, one of a number of events planned in lieu of a full Clark County Fair. Laratta said the Harvest Days carnival will be a preview of sorts of the fairgrounds’ event.

Sponsored by Dan’s Tractor, this year’s “Cruzzin’ BG” car cruise will still make its way down Main Street on Friday, though this year the burnout pit in front of Urban Basics won’t be returning. The pit was organized by Gary Livingston, who died last year. This year’s cruise is dedicated to Livingston and has been named “Cruising with Uncle Gary,” according to the festival website.

This year, there won’t be pre-registration for the cruise, Laratta said. Cars will line up at BGHS starting at 2 p.m. The cruise will follow the same route as in 2019.

The pancake breakfast, put on by Clark County Fire District 3, will kick off Saturday’s events at BGHS in the morning prior to the parade on Main Street at 10 a.m.

Though a slew of events are set, organizers are still trying to add more, Laratta said. As of June 18, Idsinga said Harvest Days biggest focus is on getting volunteers to help put on the event.

He said other aspects of the event came together easier than it did in 2019 now that the festival association has a framework to rely on for getting the pieces in place.

“We learned a lot of lessons in 2019, which has helped us a little bit now in this year,” Laratta said.

Organizers hope Harvest Days’ return will allow Battle Ground residents to get back to doing the summer activities they missed out on last year.

“Some sense of normalcy, I think, is going to be refreshing for everybody after so much chaos,” Laratta said. “We’re really excited about it.”

Idsinga agreed.

“We think people are really ready to get out, so it’s like we really need to do this,” Idsinga said. “Most of them have been cooped up during the period of the pandemic.”


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