For What It's Worth

Friday, September 6, 2019

It’s here!!! The Squirrel Fest wrap-up post!



I think a little background is in order (& also because, honestly, it’s more interesting than the actual Squirrel Fest lol) because this is such a quirky and interesting story so here we go!

It all started back in 1963 when local business owner and builder, Amos Peters, tried to find a solution after seeing so many squirrels getting hit by cars outside his office window.

Peters and a group of businessmen came up with the idea of building a bridge and brought architects on board. The result was a 60 foot aluminum bridge that cost $1000 and is called Nutty Narrows. It actually worked! and became the talk of newspapers all over the world and people even started sending in nuts to feed the squirrels.

The original bridge was replaced in 1983 and after Peters death in 1984 a 10 foot wooden squirrel sculpture was placed in the small park near the bridge in his memory.

Five additional bridges have been built since then and placed around the city and park:

Bruce Kamp Squirrel Bridge – built in 2011 (video of the dedication - the sound isn't great but the visual of bunch of guys in pinstripe with a squirrel is pretty funny)

John Dick Squirrel Bridge – built in 2012 inspired by the famous (that I have never heard of lol) Leonard Zakim bridge.

OBEC Bridge – built in 2014 and has a redwood frame and metal roofing and made to look like a scale model of a bridge fit for people

Safety Awareness Bridge – The bridge, built by the Longview-Kelso Bits and Bots robotic team features an industrial look and is made of gleaming steel. It includes colored glass panels of a walker, bicyclist and runner

Bridge Number 6 - This bridge was built by R.D. Olson MFG of Kelso Washington and was designed to resemble the Lewis and Clark Bridge crossing the Columbia River

Exact scale replica of nearby Portland’s Fremont Bridge - This all-aluminum bridge was constructed by H&N Sheet Metal in Kelso.

I snapped a few pics around town of the bridges and squirrel statue – sorry it’s so hard to see with all the trees in the way!


There are the Bridges of Madison county and now...the  Squirrel Bridge's of Cowlitz County!

For full details and a map you can check out the official website here & more fun facts about the history of the bridges on Road Side America here.

So basically, Longview likes it’s squirrels and Squirrel Fest was born. This was the 9th year for the festival and it’s a cute, small town affair in the town center with vendors, a few food trucks, a beer and wine garden, concerts and an open bus tour of the bridges.

The kids area is really cute with lots of games and activities. There are a few guys walking around with squirrel heads and red and white pin striped jackets. lol

It’s all free (except for the concerts) but they sell t-shirts (the 2 red ones I bought are pictured below. I LOVE the BFF one!) with all profits going to help local parks.

A new event for this year was the Squirrel Fest court crowning. Men and women from the community were nominated for their volunteer efforts int he county. The King and Queen got a crown of twigs with acorn lights . So fun!

And there are concerts. Kevin's company helped sponsor the event so we got free tickets. The main act – 5 Guys Named Moe (which, in fact, is not an act made up of 5 Guys Named Moe) was FANTASTIC!! They play a mix of  top 40 dance, 70's & 80's dance, rock, old and new and are one of the best bands I’ve seen. There was a (slightly tipsy) guy there (upper left photo - taking a selfie of himself, of course lol) in full squirrel attire dancing around and that was hilarious.



One thing I love about my new little town is how un-self conscious they are. Everyone just gets up and dances whether they’re good or bad (the beer garden may have had something to do with this lol). Parents actually get in there and play with their kids.

Everything seems so structured these days or IG/social media focused and this (as well as all the local events I went to this summer) are unhurried and have an old fashioned sweet vibe. No lines - nothing fancy - just bring a blanket, chair and cooler and have fun.

Next year will be the 10th anniversary of Squirrel Fest so I hope they have fun things planned.

Continuing with the squirrel theme...

Kevin's company mascot is Seymour Squirrel and his place is having a big safety meeting next month and Seymour is going! I have requested photographic evidence lol Its apparently rare for him to make an appearance.

And, since I'm here, I need to join in all the squirrel fun - but with my twist on it of course so I got myself a zombie squirrel... Kevin got one for his office too and plans on dressing him up for all the seasons. I'm sure they are questioning why they hired him at this point lol




So, that my friends, is what a Squirrel Fest is. I probably oversold it and after all that wait and build up it was a bit of a let down lol

But just think about how you'll know this weird bit of squirrel/Longview, WA trivia if it ever comes up!

Do you have any quirky festivals in your area??

49 comments:

  1. Those mini-bridges are so cute! Who would have known that by trying to save squirrels from getting run over one would have started such a tradition. I hope real squirrels are not intimidated by all the fuss around them when the festival is on - but judging from your 3rd pic in the second group, it looks like they're curious and want in LOL.

    A zombie squirrel...go figure πŸ˜‚.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They probably just stay out of the square for the festival - most of the bridges are over near Lake Sacajawea - where we walk Fonzi anyway.

      TBR, we don't see many squirrels lol More ducks and geese. But they (the squirrel's) do come up to you for treats because there's a woman that goes to the park every single day with a 5 pound bag of peanuts to feed them lol

      Delete
  2. We have little of interest going on...certainly nothing as fun as Squirrel Fest! I'd love to go to that one! I always enjoy seeing squirrels in my garden or when we are out on days out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love them - we had a lot in my yard in FL. Despite all the squirrel love out here I don't actually see many lol

      Delete
  3. That is really cool how the businessman started those bridges to keep squirrels from getting hit and now the town has a fun festival as a result. Your zombie squirrel looks properly ghoulish. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a fun little story and neat how everyone came together and keeps it going.

      Delete
  4. I love this so much!! I live near an area with the same problem and I wish we had something as cute as this to solve it! I love your zombie squirrel! XD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I could spot one using the bridge! I see them in the park but they tend to be up in trees. I haven't seen a dead one on the road yet so I guess they work lol

      Delete
  5. That is so sweet. I love the little squirrel bridges. Those are awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a fun event! I was all cooing over those little bridges. That zombie squirrel was pretty scary, by the way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The event was ok but the bridges are awesome. They're all around the park we walk in so I see them all the time.

      Delete
  7. Ooh the squirrel post is here! Yesss! So... that is seriously cool. I love how big it's become and that someone cared enough to do that. And your town does sound super cool and laid back. I sometimes think our area is a little uptight lol. We could use a squirrel fest, honestly. :)

    Zombie squirrel lmao!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was it all you hoped and dreamed it would be??? lol

      It's very chill. Almost to a fault but also kind of nice.

      Delete
    2. Well, I was expecting something maybe a LITTLE crazier, to be honest, but that's okay- this was actually a really cool post. It does sound like a very chill area!

      Delete
    3. That's the problem when you overhypesomething hahaha!

      Honestly, I was expecting more from the festival. It's really a very generic kind of thing. Not as squirrely as I thought it would be lol I see the bridges almost every day when we walk Fonzi and I love those though.

      Delete
    4. And they had bed races scheduled - which would have been very silly and fun but it got canceled. And they usually have a parade that they decided not to do this year.

      Delete
  8. Wow! To focus on squirrels in such a way is just fun and fantastic. What a great idea! I'm in total agreement - let's dance no matter where we are! Hope your weekend is amazing, Karen! Hugs, RO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's very small town here and they don't even try to do big time events. It's just for the town and they keep things small (& shockingly orderly lol) but they welcome everyone.

      Delete
  9. Wow these people really enjoy their squirrels. Amos Peters is a goddamn American hero though, all communities need a squirrel bridge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THEY DO!!! There's a woman who goes tot he park every day with a 5 pound bag of peanuts to feed the squirrels.

      Delete
  10. I had no idea... the next time I get up to that way I might just have to check out the squirrel festival. I love that you are continuing to explore your new home and finding all these quirky fun things to do. The Pacific NW is definitely less uptight and more laid back, I found that out too when I came here from Phoenix. Enjoy these lovely fall days.....rain is coming...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are ever this way just look up the map and you can do a little tour of all the bridges. Most are around lake Sacajawea and that's a gorgeous park to walk in.

      Delete
  11. I had no idea there was such a thing lol. I love all your posts detailing your exploration of PNW, makes me more determined to move over there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know your sister lives here but I got you covered on the outside Portland side of things lol

      Delete
  12. A squirrel bridge is a GREAT idea! I'm so sad when I see a creature flattened by the 3,000-lb. metal boxes on our roads. Anything to help the animals is positive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's such a cute yet practical thing to do!!

      Delete
  13. This is one of the funnest things I have ever heard about! I mean, talk about wholesome fun! I love the entire concept, and I love even more that the whole town really gets in the spirit. Also that shirt is ADORABLE next year you're probably going to have to take bulk orders for the whole blogosphere πŸ˜‚

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are very protective of their squirrels around here lol

      Delete
  14. LOL. This blows my mind. I swear, this is the kind of shit Canadians would do. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They might add little squirrel escorts lol

      Delete
  15. Oh my god, I am in love with this and I want to go. I kind of love squirrels. They just crack me up and are so cute. Those bridges are such a genius idea! I love it so so much. :)

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You don't even have to come for the festival to see any of it. The only thing the festival adds is music really lol

      Delete
  16. This is amazing! I love that places have started making bridges for animals. We keep interrupting their natural habitats and migrations, and they attempt to cross busy roads to get where they think they're supposed to be going. There have been so many unnecessary deaths because of it, and I'm happy to see people making it just a little better.

    Your zombie squirrel is terrifying, which I'm sure you love. Although, I hope Figment eats it... ;)

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? πŸ’¬

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In FL, they had created several underground tunnels for hwys that went through protected wilderness areas. They had cameras to see if the animals used them and they did!

      Of course I love my zombie squirrel because he's terrifying! lol

      Delete
  17. This is the best thing I've seen all day. I'm confused by all the men dressed like a barbershop quartet though and why the squirrel is the only one holding an umbrella. I love how conscious they are about these little critters are and how community minded the town is. It sounds like such a lovely place to live Karen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am confused too Kelly!!!! But it's still a thing and they were still walking around like that this year lol

      Delete
  18. No let down here! This is brilliant. I want to put this on my bucket list. I really love the idea of the bridges. I'm going to send this link to my son. They have tiny salamander ramps on many of the curbs around campus to facilitate a safe journey of salamanders that go from one area to another to breed, so he'll appreciate it. πŸ˜€

    I love the whole idea of the celebration and the king and queen. You are right, we all need some quirky in our lives. πŸ’œ

    We have a zombie walk every year the first Friday night in October, and then everyone gathers at the end to do the Thriller dance in our Peace Quad. I don't think that's much of a quirky thing anymore because a lot of cities seem to have them now, ha ha. 😁

    Thanks for sharing this. πŸ‘✨

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to see those ramps and do the zombie run/dance!!! That sounds awesome.

      Delete
  19. I mean... this is the trippiest, must wtf sounding thing ever, but I love it! There is an actual bridge for squirrels? Amazing! The festival sounds so nice as well, such a fun things to bring folks together and seems really fun. I had never heard of it before but now I kind of want to go.

    ReplyDelete
  20. This is awesome! I live in a pretty rural area and have a lot of squirrels and I sadly see so many little critters dead on the roads. πŸ˜” Little squirrel bridges would be fantastic. I love that they're a 'thing' where you are!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never seen one use them but I've also never seen a dead squirrel so...lol

      Delete
  21. Those little bridges are so darn cute! How fun :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't they??!! Supposedly the squirrels use them but I've never seen it.

      Delete
  22. My mom grew up in Longview, but I haven't been there since my grandma died in the 1980s, and had no idea about the squirrel bridges! What a fantastic region-specific thing to celebrate!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so awesome!!!

      The festival will be celebrating 10 years in 2020.

      Delete