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McCormick Park hosted Citizen's Day on June 25, complete with a barbecue, car show, music and vendors.

PMG PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - A classic car show by the Highway 30 Cruisers is a highlight of Citizens Day in St. Helens. The first legitimately hot day of 2022 didn't deter residents of St. Helens from attending Citizen's Day, held Saturday, June 25, at McCormick Park.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents young and old enjoyed vendors, rock and roll music from The Decades, a car show from the Highway 30 Cruisers, and a barbecue tended at times by elected members of the St. Helens City Council.

Mayor Rick Scholl liked the event turnout.

"It's been a steady flow of people, in and out all day long," he said, making the rounds after he put in some time flipping burgers and grilling sausages. "We have a really good turnout for the car show, and we gave away all the hamburgers and hot dogs over there."

Scholl added, "That's a huge success just in itself, being able to feed people a free hamburger and a hot dog and seeing a smile on their face."

Scholl has always been a firm believer that we need to set down our devices every now and then, particularly during Citizen's Day.

Scholl said it's important to "actually communicate, not via text, but actually be able to in-person communicate, see a smile and listen to somebody who may be struggling sometimes. Most of the time, at events like this, we're all having a good time. It's a ripple effect."

Along the row of vendors, the St. Helens School District greeted visitors for its first Citizen's Day. District communications specialist Stacey Mendoza was also pleased with the turnout she saw.

"It's amazing," Mendoza said. "It's overwhelming, the response from the community. I came out today to support St. Helens. It's really incredible."

Mendoza said the hot weather didn't keep people away. Temperatures were well into the 90s on Saturday — not nearly as hot as during the "heat dome" event a year ago, but still well above average for St. Helens.

"I wasn't sure if the weather would keep people away or bring them in, but it hasn't stopped anybody," Mendoza said. "It's a great event. I'm really excited to be a part of it."

Columbia River Fire & Rescue has been a mainstay at Citizen's Day, and firefighters Shane Tew and Ashley Murray were on hand to give children plastic fire hats, stickers and badges.

"It's just great to be able to make our presence known in the community in other aspects other than just our normal calls," Tew said. "We let kids play around in the fire engine so they can see what it's all about."

City Councilor Patrick Birkle favorably compared this year's event to last year's, which at the time was the first major community gathering in St. Helens since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am really excited," he said. "We had more time to plan and prepare, and a great turnout by the vendors. Everybody seemed to be having a good time."

Birkle added, "I was asking people to dance for their hot dogs and hamburgers. It was interesting to see the reaction."

Scholl said it takes a team effort to put on Citizen's Day.

"But when it comes together, boy, look at the results," the mayor remarked.

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