Has it been a year already? In June, the Winthrop library will celebrate its first anniversary with a series of events meant to engage young and old — in case you haven’t found the place engaging already. The building still seems brand new (could it be that everyone is taking special care to keep it that way?), and the landscaping isn’t quite completed. But enough work has been done to launch the “Outdoor Library,” a concept that was always part of the plan to extend the library’s reach outside the actual building.
In the past 11 months, the community meeting space that was incorporated into the library’s design has become hugely popular. It’s use is free to nonprofits and community groups, and it can be open independent of the library’s hours. And it’s a convenient, centrally located gathering spot with plenty of parking.
If you have spent any time in the building, you’ll have noticed that the library is fulfilling its intent to be a welcoming space offering not just books but also other activities and materials. You might be surprised what you can check out there.
A couple of other building anniversaries will be coming along later this year. In last August of 2022, Okanogan County Fire District 6 unveiled its new fire station in Winthrop. The new Twisp Civic Building opened in late October last year. I suppose we will be able to call all three buildings “new” for a while longer, even as we get more familiar with them. But we should never take them for granted.
Get ready to reorient yourself for Twisp’s eclectic Fourth of July parade. Well, you actually can occupy your favorite places on Glover Street, you’ll just be seeing things in a different sequence. This year the parade will stage at and depart from the town park on North Lincoln Street, then proceed south down the center of town toward TwispWorks, the new site of the Methow Arts Fest (and previous staging ground for the parade).
You may have rethink your logistics a bit. But you can expect that the parade will be as interesting as ever, a charming expression of community. I’ve often commented that on the Fourth of July, if you’re in Twisp you are either in the parade or watching it. The same attractions that have always drawn us to the Arts Fest will fill up the TwispWorks campus.
So pick your spot, bring your lawn chair, some kind of hat and hydrating liquids, and get ready for the action. You’ll just need to crane your neck in a different direction.
The Fourth is a yearly landmark for me as well. I took over operation of this newspaper on July 4, 2011, my “personal independence day,” and will be noting my 12th anniversary. Which is a lot to think about. I’ll have more to say in a couple of weeks.
The past Memorial Day weekend, the traditional kickoff of the summer tourism season, was either happily busy or inconveniently crowded, depending on your perspective. We were hosting a visiting journalist and longtime friend from Romania, showing him around the valley, and so had to contend with traffic we assured him was untypical. We also sent his off walking and running on the local trails, and he always managed to find his way back.
Aside from chauffeuring him around, we treated our guest to the World Famous Pancake Breakfast in Mazama on Saturday (he rated the pancakes “very good”), and then on Sunday wended our way up to Sun Mountain Lodge for drinks and a nosh on the outdoor deck off of the bar. The view was spectacular as always, the food was great, and we had some nice conversations with folks at nearby tables — after passing through the middle of a wedding party that was getting ready for the ceremony. We wished them well.
Showing off our valley to a first-time visitor is a reminder of the good fortune we share in this place, as residents, part-timers, or oft-returning devotees. I tend to prattle on about the history of the place, which may be boring after a while, but the setting is the main attraction even without a travelogue.
It’s also enlightening to spend time with someone from a different culture who does the same thing for a living as you do. Comparisons and contrasts are inevitable, including that most Americans are pretty much monolingual. Our English-proficient guest beat us in a game of Scrabble, even without using any Romanian words. Although we did learn a few.