Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Christian festival draws 3,700 to county fairgrounds

by: COURTESY PHOTO - Roseville, Calif.-based musician and pastor Lincoln Brewster performs with his band for a crowd at Columbia RiverFest on Saturday, Aug. 10.About 3,700 showed up Saturday, Aug. 10, for Columbia RiverFest, a Christian music and sporting festival held at the Columbia County Fairgrounds, an event organizer said Monday.

Monique Tindall said the venue was a “perfect” fit for the festival, yard signs for which popped up throughout Columbia County and elsewhere in the western Portland metropolitan area in the weeks leading up to the event.

The event went “really well,” according to Tindall.

“You know, there was always the threat of rain and thunderstorms on weather report. We did get a sprinkling, but otherwise, the weather cooperated,” Tindall said.

Earlier speculation suggested as many as 10,000 people might attend the event, as members of the Columbia County Traffic Safety Commission discussed last Wednesday, Aug. 7, while mulling whether the county should provide signage to direct people from out of town to the privately organized event.

“I think that threat of thunder and lightning kept some people away,” Tindall said.

The county ultimately did put out two electronic readerboards to provide directions, according to the Columbia County Roads Department. The signs were provided free of charge for the day, as is typical for special events, office manager Cherie Moylan said.

“They’re for traffic control, and we figure that that’s a safety thing,” Moylan explained.

The festival featured performances by Christian music artists such as the rock band Building 429, a top-selling performer in the contemporary Christian music genre. “Extreme sports” like bicycle motocross and parkour also had a place at the event.

Columbia RiverFest also included a special guest appearance by Salem evangelist Reid Saunders, whose nonprofit Reid Saunders Association sponsored the event.

Tindall said organizers have yet to conduct their “post-mortem” and begin planning for the future.

“We are evaluating,” said Tindall. “We’ve been told by many people we should do it again next year.”

Tindall added, “You know, the big part of doing an event of this size every year is that we had almost completely volunteer staff. ... It’s hard to run a big event like that solely on volunteer staff year after year.”

If RiverFest returns, either next year or sometime later than that, Tindall said she expects it to remain at the Columbia County Fairgrounds.

“We love St. Helens, and I mean, really, the venue is perfect for what we did,” Tindall said. “So I think there would have to be a pretty significant reason to move it anywhere else. Columbia RiverFest is a St. Helens event.”