The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Beka Compton
the Times 

Celebration Days weekend honored with classic cars, rodeo queen, and local horsemen

Waitsburg Celebration Days was officially cancelled in April, but classic car enthusiasts marked the weekend with a cruise


Beka Compton

2020 Waitsburg Celebration Days Queen, Lena Berens, missed out on the traditional Celebration Days parade but still got a chance to wave to a grateful town last Saturday in the (Non)Celebration Day parade and classic car cruise..

WAITSBURG- The third weekend in May is historically an exciting one in Waitsburg. Waitsburg Celebration Days was one of many area events cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic, but a small group of classic car enthusiasts and a handful of equestrians weren't willing to let the weekend slip away completely.

Fred Gonzalez, the president of the Waitsburg Classic Car Show and Swap Meet, rounded up more than 50 local car enthusiasts from Waitsburg and Walla Walla for a (Non)Celebration Days car cruise. Starting at the north end of Main Street, the cruise continued through town following the traditional parade route. Main Street remained mostly empty, while front lawns and picture windows were filled with families enjoying the cruise from the safety of their homes.

"We had somewhere around 58 cars," Gonzalez said. "It was great to have people come out and show their support." Gonzalez said he thought of the car cruise idea no more than ten days before the cancelled car show was scheduled to happen, and he was very surprised there were so many cars on such short notice. The classic car show, which takes place on the Saturday of Celebration Days, has been steadily growing each year, and Gonzalez is very thankful for all of the support the car cruise received.

The classic cars were followed by the 2020 Waitsburg Celebration Days Queen, Lena Berens. Lena was selected in October to serve as the event's ambassador and she spent the winter preparing for the weekend-long celebration. Berens was disappointed to find out the event had been cancelled so the impromptu (Non)Celebration Days Cruise was a happy way to recognize the weekend and provide some fun memories.

Lane Gwinn

The (Non)Celebration Days classic car cruise on its tour downtown.

"It felt good to see bright smiles coming from the people of Waitsburg and get to quickly interact as we moved our way down the street," Berens said. "The City of Waitsburg just makes me happy and makes me proud to represent them for the year." Berens said she knows the event will be extra fun next year. "I'm just happy I got to smile and wave on Saturday."

Queen Lena was joined by a group of local horsemen of all ages. Pat Gleason, of Waitsburg, hooked up her mini horse cart and drove through the town; a sight that can be seen often on Main Street. A couple of small, family groups also joined Queen Lena in the ride through town. The echoey clip-clop of horseshoes throughout town was a welcome sound.

Saturday's tour highlighted the adaptability of Waitsburg. All of the cars and horses were mindful of social distancing during the ride, safely boosting morale and sharing smiles.


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