Citizens of George, reflecting the determined spirit of their town's namesake, pulled out all the stops for their annual birthday bash Monday honoring the nation's first president.
The party, a tradition for more than 30 years in this Columbia River Valley community of about 250, takes on particular importance this year with the centennial celebration of the founding of Washington state.Traditionally, the annual Presidents' Day gathering in George, located just off I-90 about halfway between Spokane and Seattle, draws crowds of 1,000 or more from throughout the farm communities in the area.
This year's weather, which dumped between 8 and 10 inches of snow last week on the normally semiarid area, would not be enough to keep away people needing to shake off some cabin fever, said Karen Kooy, a member of the celebration committee.
"In past years we've had weather like this and it hasn't really stopped anyone," Kooy said. "People are pretty anxious to get to this thing."
The George Community Hall is festooned with booths featuring homebaked goods and crafts, raffles and games for children out of school for the holiday celebrating the birthdays of George Washington, born Feb. 22, 1732, and Abraham Lincoln, born Feb. 12, 1809.
The center attraction is the birthday cake, made by a ladies' group called the "Georgettes." This year's version, which needs a standard door for a platter, features a map of the state covering the main layer with two smaller, round layers on top, one with a picture of George Washington, the other depicting the state seal.
The cake, weighing 190 pounds, "is probably the most colorful we've ever had" said Kooy.