OPINION PIECE BY JAIME YARBROUGH
I would seem another nail in the coffin that was Smith River has found it’s mark. With the standing competition of the other events in the county and the lack of participation by the community itself, aside from the few dedicated, overworked, volunteer troopers that have consistently planned and participated, including the Smith River Heritage Association, the last straw may have been delivered.
The weather was very typical of the day. The entertainment was exceptional with great music, vocals and even an acrobatic demonstration. The water ball contest was augmented to a water brigade contest due to drought conditions. Water used went to local vegetation. The raffle saw healthy sales as did the pancake breakfast. The overall crowd size was much smaller than usual as was the vendor turnout.
There was a dismal showing for the shopping car races even though the absent Ray’s grocery store donated the carts. None of them were decorated and there were only 7 contestants.
“The End” arrived at the end of the day when the ever popular lawnmower races, with a new track on donated land failed to attract more than ONE lawnmower. An UN-named Smith River Heritage board member said in a survey of the vendors present the majority said they would not be back next year because they either failed to make a profit or lost money by participating.
The Heritage Smith River Day’s planning committee for the last 5 years of my personal participation has consisted of steadfast local residents from 60, 70, 80 and yes even 90 years ago! There has been zero participation from the Rancheria (who recently bought the park across from the Rod & Gun club). Colleen Lutrell the leader is retiring her position with no one coming forward to take over. The remnant of the once infamous “Easter in July – Lily Festival –
complete with real floats made from lilies and a Lily Festival Queen & court may have seen it’s last day. The domino’s in this county are falling one by one and once again the apathetic nature of our community comes shining through. It isn’t easy watching your home town die a slow death.
One thought on “Funeral For Smith River Days”
Sad to see it go. It was probably fifty years ago and I was 12-13 years old the last time I remember being at Easter in July while visiting my Uncle Ed and Aunt Bernice Dorchester…
Up early at riverside for a sunrise service with 60-80 others. Lily festooned floats later coming up 101 to stop out front of Ship Ashore followed by the organized festivities, food booths, and games for kids on the grass there. It was never as big as Crescent City’s July 4th celebration – but the spirit of the participants was high. Good memories of a fun event on a beautiful summer day in 1970-71. Thank you to those who have tried to keep the event alive as long as they could!