July 11, 2001 11:00 pm

By Rachel Wesche

Observer Intern

Ignoring the impending dog days of summer, downtown La Grande is preparing instead for its Crazy Days this Friday and Saturday.

This years revitalized festival, organized by the La Grande Downtown Development Association, will be in the traditional style: a street fair featuring a wide variety of local amusements and attractions.

The fun kicks off Friday with fire engine rides available at Depot Street and Washington Avenue. There will be an open mike stage and other entertainment on Depot Street. For details or to sign up for open mike, call Grady Darrow at 963-0411.

Saturdays amusements include a chili cook-off from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., fire department hose games from 2 to 5 p.m., a dunk tank, and a baseball speed toss sponsored by the police department. The Union County Cruisin' Corvettes will be on display.

There will be demonstrations by the Grande Ronde Karate School throughout the day, including a demonstration by Ken Johnson, who recently took a second place at the karate world championships in Las Vegas.

A highlight of Saturday occurs at noon when a helicopter will drop approximately 500 numbered ping-pong balls from the sky over the downtown area. Posters will direct those who pick up the balls to local merchants, where they can claim prizes.

Another Saturday highlight will be the Battle of the Bands. The Hellhounds, Hokas Cure and The Basement Collection will square off in a judged contest from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Depot Street near Adams Avenue.

The winning band will receive a cash prize and perform that evening at a street dance on Depot Street from 8 to 11 p.m.

Other events and displays are planned for both days. Merchants sidewalk sales and non-profit organizations information booths will be set up along downtown sidewalks throughout Crazy Days.

The VFW and Neighbor to Neighbor will each have food booths set up, Beta Sigma Phi will sell cotton candy, and the La Grande Philadelphia 2001 group will have a baked goods sale.

The American Diabetes Association will serve breakfast each day from 8 to 11 a.m. on Depot Street.

Art displays and face painting will take place at The Frame Up, and the Quilt Questers will show their work at Claudsons.

Max Square will be bustling with activity this weekend, as it becomes the site of local arts and crafts displays and the Mobile Fun Unit. Various entertainers will be featured, including the Fine Tunes, an instrumental group will perform from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Crazy Days activities will require several street closures. Depot Street will be closed between Adams and Washington avenues from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. Saturday, this stretch will be closed again from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Adams Avenue will be shut down from Chestnut to Fir between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Event planners said there should be something for everyone attending, from food and music to shopping, crafts and fun.


ENTERPRISE The annual Crazy Days sidewalk sales are Friday and Saturday in Enterprise.

All merchants are encouraged to dress up in crazy costumes.

The activities will kick off at a 7:30 a.m. breakfast at Cloud 9 Bakery, where the crazy costumes will be judged. The top three places will be announced.

Wallowa County Handcrafters Guild members are invited to display their items on the courthouse lawn.

At the courthouse gazebo from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday there will be karaoke sing-along music.