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Celebrating a century at the Crawfish Festival

Tualatin marks 100 years with guest


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: KIMBERLI RANSOM PHOTOGRAPHY - At 101, Tualatin resident Minnie Matilda Petting Nida is a year older than her adopted hometown.As Tualatin kicks off what could be its last Tualatin Crawfish Festival, it celebrates with one attendee who’s older than the city itself. At 101 years old, Minnie Matilda Petting Nida, will be riding in a red convertible with as many stories to tell as her adopted hometown.

Tualatin’s first century covered major world wars, and the Huntington, Ind., native herself witnessed some of them firsthand. In fact, Nida’s medical service as Army Lt. Petting, fondly known as “Pete,” led her to her future husband, Dean, an officer. The two would celebrate their engagement in Paris on the day it was liberated, but not before Petting’s tours of duty took her through England, North Africa, Sicily and Normandy. Nida was ultimately awarded the Silver Star Medal for her performance at the Battle of the Bulge, where she and her unit found themselves surrounded.

Want to go?

What: Tualatin Crawfish Festival

Where: Commons, 8325 S.W. Nyberg Street, and Tualatin Community Park, 8515 S.W. Tualatin Road,

When: Friday and Saturday, Aug. 9 and10

Nida’s presence in the parade reminds us that, a year after she was born, 54 of the city’s founders voted to make Tualatin an incorporated city. The move was largely an economic one, spurred by some founders’ desire to allow liquor sales, but since then — and, indeed, in Nida’s lifetime — Tualatin has carved out its own niche as a beautiful corner of the Silicon Forest.

Tradition is strong in this, the 64th year of the festival that commemorates the days, decades ago, when celebrants would pluck crawfish straight from the Tualatin River. Nowadays, the two tons of crawfish come courtesy of Pacific Seafoods, which harvests from Lake Billy Chinook in Madras. As in years past, the crawfish boil will draw hundreds, and the crawfish-eating contest will challenge children and adults alike. Newer institutions, like a live performance by cover band Hit Machine, and a chef’s cook-off challenge, help newer residents feel that they, too, are setting roots in the yearly festival.

Nida herself is a relative newcomer, now making a home for herself at Emeritus River Valley Assisted Living. She credits her longevity largely to her early diet of farm-fresh vegetables, a habit that has apparently done her older sister Gertrude, well, too.

Come out and say hi to Nida as she waves from the parade this Saturday, and find out more about the centennial-year events in our 2013 Tualatin Crawfish Festival special section, inside this week’s issue of The Times.



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