"We're talking about the kind of love that causes you to write letters, shout from rooftops, and challenge anyone who would dare speak poorly of your beloved. The kind of love that makes you drive all night to get to the people who are your home."
The above words are from the manifesto of the 'I ♥ Yakima Campaign,' a campaign to help make we Yakima residents aware of the pride we need to express for our city.
Indeed there is a lot about Yakima, the heart of Central Washington, to be proud of.
With three hundred days of sunshine per year, an occasional rain, and reliable irrigation system, we are an area noted for apple, wine, and hop production. Our valley currently produces 77% of all hops grown in the U.S.
Orchards are dotted throughout the area mixed amongst the homes which enjoy large parcels of land, often with horses or llamas, many within walking distance to any one of the various, modern strip malls. Not that you need walk to avoid traffic. Traffic jams in Yakima don't exist.
And what fruit our orchards produce!
Not only the best of apples but also the yummiest of pears, cherries, apricots, nectarines, plums, and peaches. Vegetable/herb gardening as a hobby in Yakima is also superb. Our cup overfloweth, and so everyday people will be selling their fresh produce at market each Sunday this summer, as with every summer, in downtown Yakima.
The grapes grown in the volcanic soil of Yakima Valley are the backbone of the Washington wine industry. They are used in the production of more than half of all our state's wine. After all, our vineyards lie in the same latitude as the well-known wine-producing regions of France.
Winery hopping in Yakima is a main tourist attraction in our "All American City" (1994). There's something very exhilarating about being in a rural countryside overlooking the calm beauty of our orchards, glass of fine wine in hand while engaged in light-hearted conversation. Our Red Wine & Chocolate gala is an annual event all wine enthusiasts in the area should experience at least once. It's held every year on or near Valentine's Day.
We have the usual amenities found in not-too-small towns with a variety of quaint restaurants, Starbucks, sports, bike path, a restored soda fountain, award-winning hospitals, a community college, cultural activities and events throughout the year. Improvements and additions are happening all the time.
Historically, the Washington State Fair moniker belongs to Yakima, not Puyallup. Last year, Puyallup simply designated itself as the owner of the state fair, but the name change is not officially legislated. HB2622 was written and sponsored by Reps. Norm Johnson, R-Yakima, Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, and Sam Hunt, D-Olympia to challenge the legality of their designation. According to Johnson,
“We’re not trying to take anything away from Puyallup. We just did this for the historic significance of this fair here because it was the original state fair.”
Even so, the Bill didn't set well with Republican Rep. Hans Zeiger nor Democrat Rep. Dawn Morrell of Puyallup. Morrell, who doesn't realize the primary efforts and steps we are taking to improve our city's image, basically wondered out loud why we didn't choose bigger, more important problems upon which to concentrate (like Puyallup didn't start the brouhaha and as if we can't do both.)
Then Johnson couldn't help but rub it in that we have prettier buildings and grounds than Puyallup in which to showcase an important fair.
Rep. Morrell, who apparently disdains trivial pursuits, might be further disgusted to learn that officials may apply in 2014 as "All American City" for Yakima in hopes of being recognized a second time. We probably won't be seeing Puyallup try anything like that for their city anytime soon.
Special features of Yakima
- Golf includes the beautiful Yakima Country Club (private) and Apple Tree Resort (public), both featuring proven restaurants picturesquely situated to enjoy fabulous views.
- Mount Adams, east of Mount Saint Helen's and second highest mountain in Washington. The eastern side of the mountain is part of the Yakama Nation.
- An incredible Barge-Chestnut neighborhood historic district, soon to be recognized as the largest intact historic neighborhood on the West coast. For a look at Yakima's register of historic places, click here.
- Several parks including Randall with its duck pond and nature trail and where an occasional symphony, free admission, might be held.
- The Yakima Area Arboretum housing a herbarium and a spectacular variety of gardens with species of both native and adapted non-native plants. Photo gallery, click here.
- Good ol' American patriotism is reflected in the many red, white, and blue's proudly flown throughout the area, both privately and publicly.
If you live in Yakima and want to be a part in building up the good things about it, sign the manifesto. Comments from visitors also welcome.