Astoria, a place like no other, is situated at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. The oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains, Astoria has been celebrating its two hundred years of history throughout 2011.
Astoria, Oregon’s Bicentennial celebration’s grand finale is Saturday, December 31, 2011, New Year’s Eve. The Bicentennial Blowout is being held at the Liberty Theater and Banker’s Suite. Sponsored by the Clatsop County Historical Society, the New Year’s Eve. The celebration includes a 5-course meal, a silent auction, dancing, and more entertainment and surprises. The New Year’s Blowout completes a year of celebrations and observances of the founding of Astoria in 1811 by the John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Trading Company. It promises to be an enjoyable and memorable evening, and a fitting end to this year of celebration.
Memorable events of this year have included: the Tall Ships, the reenactment of the first trade with the local indigenous tribes, Fisher Poets, and a number of other great events and adventures. This year’s annual Halloween reenactment took place in Astoria’s Pioneer Cemetery, put on by the Clatsop County Historical Society, was a big success. A variety of art and music related events also took place. The First Annual Open Studio Tour was held during the bicentennial year. The 2nd Tenor Guitar Gathering took place in June, 2011, and Astoria has now become the home of this annual event and the Tenor Guitar Hall of Fame. While John Jacob Astor never actually set foot in Astoria, the bicentennial’s Regatta Week drew some of his relatives to join with Astorians as we celebrated this occasion. Lord and Lady Astor, their son Charles and daughter Olivia, and (granddaughter of Colonel Astor) Jaqueline Astor Drexel visited Astoria and helped us celebrate the Bicentennial.
The local businesses and companies that supported this year’s celebrations include: Pacific Power, Columbia Memorial Hospital, Title Sponsor Bicentennial Ball, Bank of Astoria, Title Sponsor of the Tall Ships, Bumble Bee Food Northwest Natural, Lum’s Auto Center, the City of Astoria, Oregon State Parks, Polk Riley Printing, Englund Marine and Industrial Supply, and Fred Meyer. Volunteers put in hundreds of hours to make this year’s events successful, and as Mayor Willis Van Dusen promised in the 4-minute film on the Astoria Bicentennial website, “Visitors have come to Astoria since Lewis and Clark, and they keep coming back….come be part of the adventure, you’ll be glad you did.” We’re glad we were part of Astoria’s historic bicentennial celebrations.
To learn more about the Bicentennial Blowout at the Liberty Theater and to find out where to purchase tickets, contact the Clatsop County Historical Society at 503.325.2203, or email your questions to Director@cumtux.org.