The Times - Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

By Beka Compton
The Times 

Time to reemerge, reconnect and revitalize our city


John Avery

2021 marks the tenth anniversary of Waitsburg's Patriot Parade, started as a bet that Jack McCaw and Tom Baker would not walk down Main Street carrying the flag and wearing shorts. The shorts are gone but the parade continues. New and old traditions are what make this city thrive, it is up to all of us to get out and support traditions and to create new ways to celebrate Waitsburg.

I remember how vibrant and alive Waitsburg was when I was a kid. I remember my sister and I riding our horses into town to get ice cream from the Delta Connection and having dinner at the White Stallion after a soccer game.

I remember going to the pool with all of my friends on hot summer days and re-energizing with a candy bar from the grocery store, likely paying for it with a certificate I earned from the summer reading program (then hosted by Jan Cronkhite).

I remember attending the 2010 Days of Real Sport (DRS), not knowing that I would be the last of the DRS Royalty. I remember how packed the fairgrounds were; the smells from the Lions Club cookshack still find me now and then. I remember the chatter of a large crowd, the happiness that flowed from it, and how businesses looked forward to the busy weekend.

I remember the hardware store, the Bullseye, Farmer's Cafe, and more. I remember the crowds that would gather for the Fourth of July parades, a bustling Christmas season, and a long list of folks ready to volunteer for events. I remember summer softball tournaments, and State Champion sports teams, and the crowds that cheered them on. I remember the town that made the "Ten Most Charming Small Towns in Washington" list.

To say that Waitsburg is no longer what it once was is unfair. Changes cannot be pinpointed to a single generation or decade, or group of people. An accumulation of things has caused the decline in our community bond, but it is never too late to change.

We need leadership to listen and hear us, get to know the whole community, and be willing to guide us back towards a thriving town.

We need community members willing to speak up, regularly attend council meetings, and not just volunteer but lead local events. We have to sign our kids up for swimming lessons and check out books from the library if we want those resources to stick around.

We should remember that the original Waitsburgonians came from all over, and we need to be open to new faces, fresh views, and creative discussion. If it weren't for new faces, we wouldn't have a coffee shop, harvest lunches, or Waitsburg-centric gifts and art.

We are waking up from a lost year. Now is the time to be the change that Waitsburg needs.

Beka (Adams) Compton

Waitsburg, Wash.


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