August 16, 2001 11:00 pm

Northeast Oregon residents do not have to go far this weekend to experience a variety of fun and informative activities.

Wed suggest the adventure begin tonight at Oregon Trail Days on the Eastern Oregon University campus, continue Saturday in Cove and North Powder and wrap up Sunday at the Union County Airport, where the Carson & Barnes Circus will put on two shows.

An Old-Time Fiddle Contest jam session is under way at 4 p.m. today at McKenzie Theatre at EOU. That will be followed by Tom Nashs presentation at 6:30 p.m. on Oregon Trails, Oregon Tales. Nash will combine music and storytelling to bring the states pioneer roots to life. That will be followed by bluegrass music and contra dance instruction.

On Saturday, Oregon Trail Days will feature fiddle competitions at McKenzie and a quilt show in the Ackerman gymnasium on campus.

But dont forget about Coves Cherry Fair under way Saturday. Events include a pancake breakfast, a morning fun run, a parade at 10 a.m., booths, games, performances, a farmers market, and if that isnt enough, a barbecued chicken dinner at 5 p.m.

North Powder is not to be left out of the mix Saturday. The Old Oregon Trail Car Cruise will feature classic and vintage cars. Voting on cars and special cruises are planned. A street dance starts at 4 p.m. with classic rock music. The event includes door prizes and raffles.

The weekend will wrap up Sunday with the exciting Carson & Barnes Five-ring Circus. The two shows, at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Pierce Road near the Union County Airport, are a fund-raiser for the La Grande Rotary Club.

Area residents will not have to look far this weekend to find a variety of food, arts and recreational opportunities and entertainment. People can experience much of it by traveling a loop from La Grande to Cove, North Powder and back to the airport near La Grande. The events promise something for everyone this weekend.


A letter writer on this page Wednesday tried to portray the Carson & Barnes Circus, coming to Union County Sunday, as neglecting or abusing its animals.

A carson & Barnes spokesman, however, assures us the circus takes great pride in the way it cares for its animals. The Carson & Barnes Web site points out that each elephant eats between four and five bales of hay and 16 pounds of sweet feed each day. The animals are cleaned and groomed daily. Advance arrangements are made to make sure they are given adequate water. The circus moves in the cool of the night to provide the most comfort for the animals.

Carson & Barnes appears to be acting responsibly to provide quality care for its animals. Elephants are at the heart of a show like this, and the public should have little to complain about when a circus is acting responsibly.