There’s not much to be gained by looking back over the past eight months, except perhaps some wisdom and perspective if we are open to such things. In this tumultuous year, we’ve seen the best and worst of people, endured heartbreaking news and rejoiced at the good things still to be found and shared.
Like most people who are flipping the calendar page today, I’m looking ahead at the rest of the year — what needs to happen, what I hope will happen, what we could make happen in the final third of 2021. You may be tired of hearing it, but the reality is that we all have a role in what comes next. Will it be masks or mass infections? Vaccinations or ventilators?
Still, we will go on. Looking for a little familiarity? The Winthrop Kiwanis Duck Race, which really isn’t a race as much as a hapless flotilla of plastic duckies wending its way down a couple of our rivers, is on for Labor Day. It’s a spectacle, and anyone has a chance of winning. May the currents be with you.
Sadly, the Methow Valley Labor Day Rodeo arena will be quiet again. As of this writing, we’re waiting to hear whether the Winthrop Vintage Wheels Show will be staged, in light of the COVID outburst that Okanogan County has not escaped. Whether the cars roll or not, the popular Cutthroat Classic will again feature a full field of runners making their way over high-country trails. It appears the Okanogan County Fair will go on with COVID protocols. See our story on page A1 for details.
These are not just events, but also news stories for us. Much of my world revolves around planning, scheduling and anticipating what we’ll be covering and how we’ll get it done. My September calendar tells me that our annual Health & Wellness magazine goes to press next week for publication the following week. I already feel like I’m behind in planning for the Methow Valley Winter magazine, but we’ll get up to speed soon on that publication. As always, we’ll be looking to the community for help and ideas. Still to be decided is whether we will bring back the Valley Vows magazine, which we skipped last year.
A few things are on the near-term arts agenda, including a chamber orchestra concert on Sept. 11, and the Art Walk in downtown Twisp on Sept. 25. On the calendar at the end of the month is the annual Poetry Out Loud competition, which (as of now) will return to a live event. It was online last year. I’ve been a judge for Poetry Out Loud every year it’s been staged here, and have signed on again.
There aren’t as many blocks filled in for October yet, although we know that The Merc Playhouse, remodeled for a better audience experience, returns to the live realm with “CoronAnthology,” opening Oct. 14. Local favorites the Bitterroot Beets are scheduled to perform at TwispWorks in October. Interestingly, Halloween will be on a Sunday this year.
Earlier in October, I’ll be traveling to Bellingham for the annual convention of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. We had a virtual convention last year so it will be good to see my colleagues from around the state — and maybe learn something about putting out a newspaper.
In case it slipped your mind, there will be a general election on Nov. 2, with some local races on the ballot. We’ll be providing coverage closer to the voting.
Right after the election, Daylight Saving Time goes away and the dark days of winter won’t be far behind. At some point in November the North Cascades Highway will likely close for the season. That means we will have already had snow in the valley.
Thanksgiving Day is always a logistical challenge for us, as we have to go to press a day early to ensure that you see the paper on Wednesday of that week. Perhaps my favorite Methow event is the Christmas at the End of the Road celebration, especially the fireworks. For an evening, we’re all bundled-up kids again.
December means working out the holiday publishing schedules, and getting the Year in Review issue ready. I’m hopeful that some of our traditional holiday events can return. Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Manger Mall were able to make it work last year and I suspect they’ll be able to do that again.
As for 2022 — well, we already have some ambitious plans in the works. Stay tuned.