Small towns bring on the big fun and in Bingen, Washington you can count on just that come Huck-Fest every September. Huck is short for huckleberry a tasty treat that grows north of town on the flanks of Mt. Adams. Similar to bacon, everything tastes better with huckleberries. Pancakes and cinnamon rolls with huckleberries are about two of the best treats a person could ever enjoy. We pick them locally, and hoard them. I’ll share a bit more about someone else’s secret huckleberry picking spot in another blog post. For now, let’s explore the festival.

The prized huckleberry of Mt. Adams

Huck-Fest is as American as Baseball, hot dogs and huckleberry pie. Upon arrival we were treated to the aroma of many food venders one of which I was especially excited to visit again, Taco Pepe. It surprised me to see so many choices in food vendors, but then it also surprised me to see so many people attending. For a small town, it was bustling.  So, we started off with three full plates of great food and found seating just in time for music on the main stage. Huck-Fest brought in twelve musical acts from folk singing trios to tribute bands charging us up with Credence Clearwater Revival and Neil Young for the multi-day event.

My 9 year old, Aurora, goes “head first”

It is a fair like atmosphere with local crafters displaying their wares along with local business’ and organizations sharing their merchandise and vision. As we strolled through the displays we had the opportunity to pick up some gifts, straw-pole vote for president and savor some delicious huckleberry pie. Of course, you can pick up huckleberry products such as jams, syrup, muffins and more. It is delightful.

Rodeo Queen in the parade

On the opposite side of the event site which is located in our very own Daubenspect Park, we found many fun kids activities (and a few adult activities) ranging from dunk tanks to bouncy houses. The prices for participation was low, in fact there is zero admission fee for this festival thanks to generous local donors. 

On Saturday, the local two-lane highway is shut down to make way for a classic small town parade where you will see everything (and everyone) from classic car clubs, to old farm machinery, marching bands, kids on scooters, floats promoting local business and groups of cowboys on their horses. It’s some show!

Parade music compliment of the local H.S. Marching Band
Aurora and I with the “Dancing Hucks”

Everyone is welcome to join us early September for some small-town fun in Bingen, Washington where all things become huckleberry great. Don’t forget to arrive early for the fireman’s huckleberry pancake breakfast! Check out the full list of Huck Fest activities, location and dates on their website.

Remember, never hesitate to hit me up with questions about fun activities in the Columbia River Gorge. When you are ready for some great whitewater rafting action, you know who to call!

Mark Zoller –

Mark Zoller has been guiding whitewater rafting trips on the White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers since 1985. He lives in and loves the Columbia River Gorge