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Goldendale hosting astronomy, musical festival May 31- June 9

GOLDENDALE - The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission and the City of Goldendale are inviting Lower Yakima Valley residents to celebrate the "Blue Moon of May" with a free community festival that features bluegrass music, a classic truck, antique tractor and vintage RV show, a tractor pull, food and a special guest from the NASA space program.

The festival begins Thursday, May 31, and continues through June 3.

"Blue moon" is an astronomy term referring to two full moons in one month. The first full moon of this blue moon occurred on May 2, and the second is on May 31, the first day of the festival. The next blue moon will appear in 2009.

The NASA special guest for the event is Stephen K. Robinson, who has flown three space shuttle missions and will speak at local schools, as well as appearing during the event.

Blue Moon activities start up on Thursday, May 31, at 1 p.m. at Ekone Park with Bluegrass music. At 4 p.m., the city of Goldendale will host a welcome reception for Dr. Robinson with featured guests State Senator Jim Honeyford, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Director Rex Derr, Goldendale Mayor Mark Sigfrinius and Klickitat County Commissioner Ray Thayer. During the reception, the Goldendale Rocket Club will build and launch rockets and host a Blue Moon ice cream and cupcakes social.

At 6 p.m. that evening, a community dinner will be served at the Goldendale Golf Club. Tickets are $25 and available from the Goldendale Chamber of Commerce;

At 8 p.m. Thursday evening, Robinson will kick off the Blue Moon Festival at the Goldendale Observatory. Visitors will be able to view NASA exhibits, experience more Bluegrass music and gaze at the Blue Moon.

Friday, June 1, from noon to midnight, NASA exhibits at Goldendale Observatory State Park will be on display. From noon to 9 p.m. Friday, Bluegrass music will be performed on the main stage in Ekone Park. At 8 p.m. that evening, Blue Moon gazing at the Goldendale Observatory State Park is scheduled.

Saturday, June 2, will feature more Bluegrass music at Ekone Park from noon to 9 p.m. and starting at 9 a.m. the Great American Classic Truck, Antique Tractor, and Vintage RV Hoedown at the Klickitat County Fairgrounds will be held, hosted by the Goldendale Motorsports Association. There will also be a 9 a.m. "Show 'n' Shine" at the Klickitat County Fairgrounds. Trophies will be awarded at 3 p.m. At noon on Saturday, an Old Fashioned Tractor Pull at the Klickitat County Fairgrounds will be staged, with Blue Moon gazing at the Goldendale Observatory State Park to begin later that evening at 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 3, there will be an 8 a.m. pancake breakfast and a 10 a.m. Bluegrass Gospel Show.

Dry camping is free for "Bluegrass Camp n' Jammers" at Ekone Park and also free for "The Great American Classic Truck, Antique Tractor and Vintage RVer's and Tractor Pull" competitors at the Klickitat County Fairgrounds. Shuttle services will be made available at a nominal cost so visitors can check out the Observatory, events at the fairgrounds, street vendors and the Presby Museum.

For more information on this and other events, visit the City of Goldendale Website at www.cityofgoldendale.com. For information about the state park, visit www.parks.wa.gov.

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