UMATILLA — In 1962, 120 acres of land at the mouth of Umatilla River became the townsite of Umatilla Landing. Within five years, the town became the county seat of Umatilla County and boasted a post office, stores, hotels, saloons and homes as well as a ferry system to take travelers across the Columbia River.
Today, the town’s name has been shortened to Umatilla, but the town’s history is still a big part of the annual Umatilla Landing Days Festival. And the city of Umatilla continues to expand on its annual celebration.
This year’s Landing Days is June 24-25. Admission and parking are free. The festival’s activities range from a 3-on-3 basketball tournament — open to both youth and adult teams — to the annual salsa contest. Although the salsa contest features the edible kind of salsa, not the dancing, Landing Days features multiple opportunities to get out your dancing shoes.
The Friday night concert at Umatilla Marina Park will feature DJ Slaugh from 5-7 p.m. and the Wade Aylett Band from 7:30-9 p.m. On Saturday, Chris Loid and Green Light Polly begin the live music at 4:20 p.m., followed by Blue Tattoo at 6:30 p.m., and the concert ends with the headliner, ‘80s rock band Vixen, at 8:30 p.m.
Festival events on Saturday begin with the Landing Days Parade on Sixth Street at 10 a.m., followed by entertainment and vendors at Marina Park. Saturday’s afternoon entertainment lineup includes Gem Cheer from 12-12:30 p.m., Barreto’s Dancing Horses from 12:45-1:15 p.m., Generation Cloggers from 1:30-2 p.m. and the Florico Dancers from 3-3:30 p.m.
Food and craft venders, a beer garden and multiple family and kids activities will also be set up at Marina Park throughout the festival. Family activities on Saturday include an inflatable carnival pirate ship, crafts and mobile bowling. Multiple giveaways will also take place.
On the historic side, the Umatilla Museum expects to be open on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and there will be boat rides on the Columbia River showing the Umatilla Old Town site and sharing information about the history of Umatilla and its ferry crossing.
And not to be missed: Landing Days concludes with fireworks over the Columbia River.
For more information, visit www.umatillalandingdays.org or call Umatilla City Hall at 541-922-3226.