Summer starts with good Fourth, food, friends

<p>Val Ryan</p>

There is nothing like a small town Fourth of July, and the one we just celebrated was a dandy. It had all the elements needed for success: a parade, good weather, lots of people in town -- and everyone in a good mood. The strawberry shortcake was pretty darn good, too.

Parties and music and firedancers; red, white and blue everywhere; that great big fire engine rumbling down the street and whoop-whooping…what’s not to like? I had family in town bringing two small grandchildren, so they had a ball riding without seat belts, car seats or restraints of any kind. The only other time they ever get to do that is in Mexico!

I suppose there are still some people who miss fireworks, but I am not one of them. All that noise and smoke is nasty, and I always felt sorry for all the skittish dogs and little kids – to say nothing of the poor puffins. Yes, it was a good decision to ban fireworks, in my humble opinion.

Since I mentioned puffins, if you haven’t bought your puffin yet, go to City Hall and buy one – or more – to take home. The stuffed puffins are perfect reproductions of the tufted puffin that we see here, thanks to the insistence of Haystack Rock Awareness Program Coordinator Nala Cardillo on authenticity. Cute, cuddly, colorful, well-made and the perfect souvenir; at least my grandchildren think so. And the sale of them benefits HRAP.

Is it just me or are there even more people in town this summer than we usually see? I know that this is when we are supposed to start complaining about parking, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Streets are jammed, stores are full, and isn’t the new Driftwood deck a boon! I had dinner there last Sunday with friends escaping the inferno that is Palm Springs (triple digits for 34 days!) and they thought it was pure heaven. They also had good things to say about the steak and grilled asparagus.

We are so lucky to have that great place. Another place I visited for the first time is Cannon Beach Hardware, fondly known by locals as “Screw and Brew.” I know that I’m way behind the curve in finding out how much fun that can be.

It was a music night, so good music by locals, good beer and lots of people we all know made it feel like a party. Will the Bistro be open soon? I really hope so, as do so many others. As you can plainly see, my head is not at work; it’s out in the street eating and drinking!

I was lucky enough to see a rehearsal of “The Importance of Being Earnest” a few nights before it opened July 12. That is one doggone funny play. Some of our favorites are in it: Cami Lira, Richard Bowman, Sue Meyers and David Sweeney. Three actors rather new to the Coaster stage are Paul Ortega, Jenni Trenier and Karen Martin, all great additions to the cast. Then we have our fearless city manager, Rich Mays, a veteran of the boards by now, playing two parts. He’s just showing off his versatility playing both a manservant and a butler. Oh wait, aren’t those parts rather similar? His line load is growing. It is not yet daunting, but I await the day that he will deliver a two-page soliloquy.

Don’t miss the “summer duet” this year: The other really good play is “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum.” Two sure-fire evenings of fun and laughter.

Now that you have found your way to Coaster Theatre, be sure to grab a ticket to what will surely be a sold out performance: Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn will play a benefit for Cannon Beach Arts Association at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13. These two make up the “unofficial first family of banjo.” In case you don’t know what a really big deal they are, Béla’s name was a clue in a New York Times crossword puzzle I recently completed. Well, I’m impressed.

The indefatigable Patrick Lathrop, executive director of Coaster Theatre, has added a Summer Theatre Arts Camp for the little ones, ages 5 to 7. It will run from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 7, 9, 12 and 14 and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 16. On the last day, the campers will present the show they have created for family and friends – two numbers from “Alice in Wonderland.” Fee per camper is $50. For more info, call 503-436-0609.

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