Summer of 2012 shaping up to be an active one

Scott Swanson

This past weekend, Sweet Home’s first big one of the season – featuring the Free Fishing Day at Foster Lake, Grampa Tom’s Car Show and the Safety Fair – looks to be just the start of what will be a very active summer locally.

A succession of events, ranging from water sports at Foster Lake to a massive all-school reunion, are shaping up to make this summer one of the busiest in recent years for Sweet Home.

Much of the action will center on Foster Lake – specifically at Lewis Creek Park – which will host such events as a huge Girl Scout jamboree, an open-water water polo tournament featuring high-powered teams from around the West, a master’s swim competition and a triathlon.

Back this year is the fourth annual Sweet Home Sweet Ride Car Show on June 30, which attracted some 300 entrants last year, ranging from show-quality motorcycles to high-end hot rods.

The Sportsman’s Holiday, Working Loggers Olympics and Sweet Home Rodeo (July 13-15) will be juiced up this year by the 2012 All-School Reunion, a once-in-a-decade event, that is planned for the Sportsman’s Holiday weekend and is expected to draw some 2,000 alumni.

Reunion events planned for July 14 include an Alumni Classic Car Show, Alumni Art and Quilt Display and Class Memory Lane at the high school, a program at Husky Field, and a dance and social at the Elks Lodge.

Also back this year to open the Sportsman’s Holiday will be the Chips ‘n’ Splinters Variety Show, which will be held in conjunction with the Sportsman’s Holiday Court Coronation on July 12. Auditions for that event are this Thursday, June 14.

This year will also be the 20th Oregon Jamboree (Aug. 3-5), marked by the return of the artist who started it all, Wynonna Judd, and other top stars. The event also includes the annual Arts and Crafts Festival, which is open to all.

Following the Jamboree, a giant Northwest Girl Scout Jamboree, will draw hundreds of Scouts from throughout Oregon and southwest Washington for a week-long campout Aug. 6-13 at Sunnyside and Lewis Creek parks. The event will include a birthday bash celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Girl Scouts to be held on Saturday, Aug. 12, at Linn County Expo Center. Both parks will be closed to the public during this period.

Several new athletic events are either returning or making their debuts this summer.

The third annual Dam Run 5K, organized by the Sweet Home Youth Advisory Committee, will be held at Foster Dam this Saturday, June 16, at 9 a.m.

The event features a half-mile run for youngsters and includes a walkers division. Race day sign-ups will be taken until 8:30 a.m. at the parking lot north of the Edgewater marina.

The masters Foster Lake Cable Swim competition organized by Central Oregon Masters Aquatics of Bend, is returning with a two-mile race, one-mile race, and dog tandem race this year, on June 30. The races are official masters championships, swum on a carefully measured quarter-mile straightaway course off Lewis Creek that will be marked by a cable and buoys.

Also scheduled to return this year is the second annual Best in the West Triathlon series, which will include sprint, half-marathon and Olympic-format competitions Sept. 8-9 at Lewis Creek Park. The inaugural event, organized by Oregon State University student and triathlete Blair Bronson, drew 210 competitors last fall.

New this year is the Nike Open Water Water Polo Tournament on July 9-11, also on Foster Lake at Lewis Creek Park. Along with competition pitting U-18, U-16 and U-14 teams from California, Washington and Oregon on two open-water “courts,” the three-day event will include mini water polo camps, mentoring workshops and on-site camping for participants.

Sean Martin, one of the event organizers, said 225 athletes and coaches are expected for the event.

“This could shape up to be something really big,” said Martin, a former water polo player and swimmer whose father Craig coaches the sport at Sweet Home High School.

He said the only other open-water tournament that he’s aware of is in Mission Bay in San Diego, Calif., which is held in salt water and has bigger waves and wind than Foster. He said most summer water polo tournaments are held in “stuffy” indoor pools that “smell of cholorine.”

“This is a pretty rare idea,” Martin said. “We’re hoping to establish it as one of the premier events.”

He said the inspiration for the tournamnet, which he and his father have been talking about for years, came when they helped out at the triathlon last summer.

“If they could make something like that happen, we definitely could make this happen,” Martin said.

He said a benefit of such an event is that it will draw another “diverse” segment of the population to Sweet Home to discover the recreational activities available on the water and in the surrounding mountains.

Another big local activity will be the annual motorcycle Poker Run on Aug. 11, the fifth of these events organized by Sweet Home Choppers to raise money for various charities.

Last year, proceeds went to the Volunteer Firefighters Association for its annual fireworks show. This year’s proceeds will go to Sunshine Industries, for it new facility construction project. The poker run will start at Sweet Home Choppers and make five stops around the county, including Brownsville and Lebanon and other points.

Low hand is $100 and high hand is $200, with lunch at the final stop, which will has yet to be determined, organizers said. A 50/50 drawing will also be held. Approximately 150 bikers participate in the event. For more information, call (541) 367-8866.

The annual Sweet Home Harvest Festival will finish off the season on Oct. 13.