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Regatta's century-plus tradition livens local waters

Queen Megan Postlewait, left, and members of her court sail off at the beginning of the 2017 Highwater Boat Parade. (Scott Doherty/Redhare)
By Cindy Yingst, Sunday, August 5, 2018

Astoria Regatta, one of the West’s oldest festivals, returns next week for five days of sea-centered activities.

The Regatta is so old and significant in the region’s history that the Oregon State Historic Commission has named it a Historic Cultural Tradition.

“It’s definitely the oldest festival in Oregon. It started in 1894,” said Melissa Grothe, Regatta secretary and a former Regatta court member. “It’s just neat to be a part of the tradition and, in my case, to give back.”

The 2018 Regatta includes three parades -- two by land and one by water -- receptions for royalty, children’s activities and sailboat races. This year’s theme is “Making Waves!”

Regatta Square, at the center of activity, will have a fun zone, barbecue and beer garden.

Columbia Memorial Hospital has taken on Regatta Square’s management and has added a health fair.

On the first day of Regatta, four young women will compete for the title of queen. They are Catherine Tapales of Warrenton High School, Danielle Morinville of Knappa High School, Katie Zagata of Seaside High School, and Nikkole Sasso of Astoria High School.

All members of the court receive scholarship money from the Regatta Foundation, which is matched by the Riedel Foundation. The queen receives a $6,500 scholarship from a trust set up by 1981 Regatta queen Patti Hankel.

Not just an Astoria festival, two Regatta events will be in Warrenton: a rose planting and movie night.

“We like to think of ourselves as really representing the whole area,” Grothe said. “We’re founded on the idea of celebrating the fishing season. Warrenton has marinas, and the community and region in general are tied to the fishing industry.”

Here’s the schedule:

**Outgoing Queen’s Reception, 5:30 p.m., Liberty Theatre, 1203 Commercial St., Astoria. 2017 Regatta Queen Megan Postlewait and other past royalty will be honored.

**Regatta Queen Coronation and Reception, 7 p.m., The Liberty Theatre, 1203 Commercial St., Astoria. Four princesses will vie for the title of queen. Admission is $10.

** Regatta Junior Parade, 6 p.m., downtown Astoria. Children will bring their bikes, decorated wagons, pets and other items for this fun and festive parade.

** Movie Night in Warrenton, 8 p.m., Robinson Community Park (behind City Hall). Free.

** Gathering of Past Admirals and Presidents, noon, Tourist No. 2 Ferry at Pier 39. This is an invitation-only gathering for past admirals and presidents of Astoria Regatta.

** Seaman’s Memorial, 3 p.m., Maritime Memorial Park in Uniontown. The U.S. Coast Guard will honor all those who have served the maritime industry, from military seamen to commercial fishermen.

** Admiral’s Reception, 6 p.m., Barbey Maritime Center in the old depot next to Columbia River Maritime Museum. Heather Seppa, the 2018 Regatta Admiral, will host the reception, which features top local restaurants offering their signature dishes. $20 per person with advance tickets or $10 with Regatta Pin.

** Portland Royal Rosarians Rose Planting, 9 a.m., Lighthouse Park at the four-way stop in Warrenton.

** Regatta One-Mile Fun Run, 11:45 a.m., begins at 15th and Exchange streets. Entry is free.

** Regatta Grand Land Parade, noon, downtown Astoria.

** Sailboat Races, 1 to 4 p.m., Astoria Yacht Club at West Mooring Basin, Free. Best places to view are between the Astoria-Megler Bridge and Columbia River Maritime Museum.

A float entered in the 1911 Regatta Grand Land Parade, honoring Astoria's centennial. (Courtesy Astoria Regatta)

Portland Rosarians stand at attention while the VFW Color Guard passes by at the beginning of the 2017 Rose Planting Ceremony in Warrenton. (Scott Docherty, Redhare)

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Astoria Regatta directors wait for the Seaman's Memorial to begin at the 2017 Regatta. (Scott Docherty, Redhare)

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