21st Annual Mount Hood Huckleberry
Festival & Barlow Trail
by Michael Jones
The Cascade Geographic Society’s very special 21st Annual
Mt. Hood Huckleberry Festival & Barlow Trail Days is slated Aug.
The festivities will be at Mt. Hood Village, 65000 East U.S.
Hwy 26, near the Village of Brightwood. This is a family-oriented
festival with no admission charge and free parking. It has now become
a popular family-oriented festival known not only for its abundance
of huckleberries, but also for its music. With a great working relationship
with such groups as the Portland Songwriters Association, the performers
at the Huck Fest are singer-songwriters who feature their own original
The festival begins early in the morning to accommodate the
huckleberry pancake breakfasts, and ends late in the evening for
the Huckleberry Evening Concerts. On Friday and Saturday, the hours
are from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Once again, this year’s events will celebrate two special
anniversaries: The first attempted (but failed) crossing of Mt. Hood¹s
southern flank 160 years ago; and the opening of the first toll road
over the Cascade Mountain Range 159 years ago. With a toll of $5
per wagon, this overland route was fashioned out of an ancient Indian
trail and served as an overland route for emigrants who could not
pay the $50 fee to raft their wagon down the Columbia River. The
Mt. Hood Huckleberry Festival & Barlow Trail Days celebrates
the history and natural resources associated with Mt. Hood and the
“Festivals such as this one are ideal because people can enjoy
themselves while appreciating those very special things that nature
provides us, along with a fascinating history that is associated
with our natural landscapes,” explains Michael P. Jones of the Cascade
Geographic Society. “You can’t help but take a good look at
what all we have here in Oregon and the Northwest and know that we
are very lucky to have this heritage.
Holding this celebration on Mt. Hood is also very special
since this mountain is the symbol of Oregon, as well as the peak
serving as an important Cascadian representative of the Northwest.
Where else could you really celebrate our natural, historical, and
cultural resources with so many people from different walks of life
and age groups? Our heritage is not something that we can take for
granted because it will always be with us; these are things that
we must diligently protect.”
The Mt. Hood Huckleberry Festival & Barlow Trail Days
is actually a reincarnation of an earlier celebration that began
back in 1890 with the opening of the Welches Hotel in Welches. The
hotel, known as the Big House, was operated by 1840s Oregon Trail
emigrant, trading post operator and founder of this frontier settlement
along the Salmon River, Samuel Welch. He actually resembled the image
of that character who became known as Uncle Sam. Welch, along with
his son Billy, opened a campground along the Salmon River two years
prior to the hotel, sowing the seeds for the tourist industry on
This year’s festival will feature a wider selection of more
tasty products made from Oregon’s blue gold, wild huckleberries.
These not only include jam, syrup, candies, tea, milkshakes and tarts,
but also coffee, vinaigrette and barbecue sauce.
Music will also highlight the festival, beginning in the early
morning hours until it closes each evening. Some of the best singer-songwriters
from around the Northwest will take to the Great Northwest Music
Stage Friday and Saturday. These performers are coming from around
the Portland Metropolitan Area and beyond. This festival is also
the place for folks to purchase what are sometimes hard-to-find CDs
for their collection from these entertainers. The Friday evening
concert will feature three acts, the Saturday evening concert will
be a songwriters in the round. Performers to be featured are in the
process of selection.
All the music will be videotaped for cable access television.
Each of the performers will be featured in their own concert and
aired later in the year. There will be an estimated 20-plus concerts
to be televised. Music for the festival is co-sponsored by Positively
Entertainment & Dining and Advantage Communications.
On Saturday and Sunday, there will be Native American storytelling
with Indian dancing and drumming, bringing the myths and legends
back to life. Storyteller Michael P. Jones with the Cascade Geographic
Society, will perform. On Saturday at 6 p.m., a Huckleberry Ceremony
will bring the cultural and historical role of the wild huckleberry
into perspective. Native Americans will share songs and prayers associated
with this important natural resource, as well
as officiate over a traditional blessing of the berries. These will then be
shared with those in attendance.
A Native American salmon bake is also planned for the entire
three days. In addition, a special barbecue begins at 11 a.m. until
sold out. The Mt. Hood Huckleberry Festival & Barlow Trail Days
is part of the history of Mount Hood. For additional information,
contact Michael P. Jones at (503) 622-4798 or Nita Kreuzer at (503)658-6233.
Or, email at email@example.com. For still more details or regular updates,
be sure to check the website at