Woodland celebrates 100th year of Planters Days


Woodland’s Planters Days celebration made a triumphant return to an in-person format over the weekend, bringing most of the annual festival’s staples back to the city for its centennial outing.

At about 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 18, the streets in downtown Woodland once again played host to a procession of cars, bands, and floats as participants tossed out a variety of candy to celebrate the 100th year of Planters Days. The parade was the centerpiece of the weekend’s events which included a car show, fireworks and food.

Going strong since 1922, the festival crafted most of its events into a remote format during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to return to a normal form was a big deal for Planters Days Board President Keith Bellisle.

“The feedback from everyone is overwhelming to have this in real life again,” Bellisle said.

After two years of a largely virtual continuation of the festival, Bellisle said having the in-person aspect front and center again showed Planters Days was “back on track” with its century of tradition.

Bellisle noted this year’s event included a “royal reunion” featuring past Planters Days queens and festival royalty. The parade featured as many entries as the festival board could get.

“We invited everybody that wanted to be in it,” Bellisle said. “It seems like it’s gone pretty well.”

Bellisle said next year’s celebration will be large once again as Planters Days enters a new century of its continued operation.

“This is the best illustration of community that you can have,” Bellisle said.

Among the decades-long traditions of frog jumping and bed races, Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue once again hosted a barbecue feed at Horseshoe Lake Park’s event hall.

CCFR Chief John Nohr said the beef for the feed is donated by Woodland’s own Walt’s Meats. This year, the donation totaled 1,100 pounds. Burgerville and Safeway pitched in for the buns and soda, respectively.

The department collects wood from its regular operations throughout the year and brings it to the site the Thursday before the feed, Nohr said. The wood fuels a barbecue pit that is shielded from the views of visitors on other days since it’s covered year-round. 

On Friday, firefighters lit the logs and let them burn down to coals. They later cooked the meat in time for Saturday’s feed. The seasoning was simple, Nohr said. It included only salt, pepper and garlic. When prepared for the buns, the beef received a healthy slathering of barbecue sauce.

CCFR Captain Blaine Dohman said when the feed began it was seafood-based before it evolved into a barbecue. He said the feed is the department’s firefighters’ association’s largest fundraiser of the year.

“The community support for this is massive,” Dohman said.

Funds raised go toward scholarships for fire cadets and other civic activities the association takes part in.

Like Bellisle, Dohman was happy to see a return to an in-person celebration.

“It’s nice that we’re getting into all the routines again and it’s just a huge tradition,” Dohman said.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here