By Erika Kar

Babies are pretty popular. Babies are the great uniter. Even the surliest of us will at least muster up a half-smile at a baby video on Facebook. Politicians try to rouse up good feelings within us by kissing babies, especially when a camera is around. But there is one baby that tends to polarize instead of unite. The baby I am talking about is the famous “Trump Baby.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I am not writing about the actual President Donald Trump. I definitely would not go there. No, I am talking about the Donald Trump balloon that gained notoriety in July during President Trump’s visit to London. You know the one — orange, big yellow hair, open mouth, angry look, diaper. In fact the balloon’s real name, bestowed upon it by the manufacturer, is “Helium Diaper Donald.”

It seems as though Washington now has its very own Helium Diaper Donald, in part thanks to Mazama’s very own Bill Pope. Bill was inspired by the London Trump Baby and wanted to get one to Washington. He contacted the manufacturer, Imagine Inflatables, from Lutterworth, England, and found that for $4,500, you too could be the proud owner of a Trump Baby. Pope then sought out investors on Facebook. Within a few days, the money was raised and a Washington Trump Baby was birthed.

Before you go thinking that Helium Diaper Donald is flying high over Mazama, I should tell you that Pope instead found a proper owner for his baby. The Backbone Campaign, a group that works in what it calls “creative strategic action to deliver power to We the People,” is housing the balloon in a warehouse on Vashon Island while they figure out the details of its best use. As for Bill Pope, he would like to see Trump Baby make an appearance on the east side of the Cascades at some point, although he concedes that it would likely not be as popular an idea over here.

Now onto something completely unrelated. The MountainFilm on Tour was in Mazama at the Mazama Ranch House on Saturday night. MountainFilm is a traveling film festival which features a selection of some of the best-loved films from the Telluride Film Festival. The event chooses a nonprofit to support, and the Mazama event supported The Ian Fair Memorial Fund. You may remember that Fair’s life was cut short earlier this year in an avalanche while backcountry skiing.

The local band Bitterroot Beets played a fantastic set before the films began, and the very welcome rain tapered off, but not before clearing the air. Once the films began, Outward Bound showed a short clip. In this clip, a person was going on and on about “a breath of fresh air,” “fresh air all around you,” and “Outward Bound is a breath of fresh air.” All the locals in the audience were laughing because, as we all know, there hasn’t been a bit of fresh, clean air anywhere in the Methow all month. In fact, someone coughed up a smoke plume just last week. OK, that didn’t actually happen. But it sure felt like it could have!