Each year, as the kids go back to school and summer starts to wind down, the town of Hoquiam starts to buzz. Buzzing with excitement and the sound of chainsaws in the early morning air, the end of summer means the Loggers’ Playday is once again upon us. For one glorious Saturday, this year on September 9, this annual event celebrates our town’s logging history, raises money for great causes and brings the community together.

 

From 6:00 a.m. until at least 10:00 p.m., Hoquiam becomes the center of both Grays Harbor and the logging world. Since 1965, this event has been an incredible community gathering and this year will be no different. With seven unique opportunities to participate, you’ll have a full day of connecting with the history and neighborly spirit of Hoquiam.

History

For the past 52 years, the Loggers’ Playday has been held in one way, shape or form. While it went by other names in the early years, the constant theme of the event has centered on the industry that populated our corner of the world. Known for amazing lumber history, Hoquiam and Aberdeen were once the crown jewels of the logging world, seeing millions of board feet of timber pass through the streets.

Loggers playday
Numerous lumber activities will be going on during the Loggers’ Playday. Photo credit: Kathryn Decker

While the industry has diminished, largely due to economic reasons leading to raw lumber being shipped out of town instead of processed, the pride and heritage of logging remains strong. This event is one of the final connections to the lifestyle that defined the region and highlights the pride in Hoquiam’s history that we still hold onto today. For the past five decades, the Loggers’ Playday has been a cornerstone of our community. 

 

Pancakes

There is nothing quite like your first pancake breakfast during Loggers’ Playday. Starting at 6:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Good Help Parish on L Street, the community comes together for a breakfast feast worthy of the old loggers who used to cut down the towering timbers of the region. Surrounded by old timers and children, families and tourists, the pancake breakfast is a great way to ensure you have energy for the next 15 hours of entertainment. Eat up, donate some extra cash and start your day right.

Jack Reynvaan Memorial Run

Enjoying seeing lumber mill vehicles and logging trucks during the Loggers’ Playday parade. Photo credit: John Lloyd

Starting and ending at the Hoquiam High School track, this memorial run is named for one of the founders of the Loggers’ Playday. Starting at 9:00 a.m., the event has four distances for different levels of runners and walkers. There is a 2-mile walk, a 2-mile run, a 5k and a 10k. Registration starts at 8:00 a.m., just enough time to have finished your pancake breakfast.

The course is fun, scenic and takes you around the town of Hoquiam before coming back to the High School. If you haven’t had a chance to run or walk this event, add it to your list for the weekend.

The Buttons

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Loggers’ Playday buttons are a big part of the tradition. Photo credit: Pelan Photography

One fun thing to do on Loggers’ Playday is buy the buttons sold during the event. The buttons have been a staple for decades, becoming collectors items and a way to identify those who have frequented the Loggers Playday year after year. Sold by the Loggers’ Playday Royal Court, the buttons also serve as an entry ticket to events. The buttons, costing $5 each, gain value with age, as buttons from the early 70s are being sold online for around $20. Keep an eye out for these being sold during the parade.

The Parade

Loggers' Playday
The Loggers’ Playday parade is a local favorite.

Starting at noon on Early Way and making its way down to 8th and K Streets, the Loggers’ Playday Parade is an amazing community event full of logging pride and history, community involvement and music. Logging trucks in the old days used to be filled with one or two trees while today’s trucks show off the incredible lumber in vast numbers logged around Grays Harbor.

If you love logging trucks old and new, marching bands, dancers, clowns and floats, missing this parade is not an option. Nearly every part of the community participates in the parade, making it a great way to reconnect with your neighbors and fellow residents. Get here early though, as the streets fill up fast with excited onlookers.

Salmon Bake

Before the Loggers’ Show, right when you’ll be needing a snack after the parade and pancake breakfast, the Washington School is holding their annual salmon bake. Hosted by the Lions Club, the event is yet another way to get to know your fellow Grays Harborites and donate some money to good causes. The salmon is delicious and the people working and coming to this event are awesome.

The Loggers’ Show

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The highlight for most is the logging show at 6pm at Olympic Stadium. Photo credit: Kathryn Decker

The Loggers Show is the highlight of the day, drawing nearly 5,000 people and wowing all who watch. For over two hours, the logging show will captivate you and your family as you watch the best loggers around compete in numerous events. Events include axe throwing, log chopping, Ma and Pa bucking, obstacle pole bucking, choker setting, speed climbing, power saw bucking, tree topping, double hand bucking, springboard chopping and more.

The few hours spent at this event will leave you longing for more. After the show is done, stay for an incredible fireworks display and end your night by walking to the Hoquaim Elks building for a dance.

Visit the Loggers’ Playday Facebook Page for all the details, photos and more.

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