The Ariel General Store and Tavern, located about ten miles east of Woodland, WA has hosted more than forty ‘DB Cooper’ parties since 1972. Each November around the anniversary of the only unsolved hijacking in U.S. history, enthusiastic locals as well as folks from other states, sometimes other countries, show up for a night of partying and celebration.
THIS year, new owner Bryan Woodruff has upped the ante considerably. And the party won’t be held on a chilly November day this year…but on Saturday, August 27th through the 28th. Since taking the reins from his mother, Dona Elliot, he has expanded areas outside the store itself and created a Main Area with a covered stage. This year, it will be a two-day overnight SUMMER event with camping allowed out back of the store near a century-old walnut tree, as well as free BBQ. The re-scheduling of this famous annual shindig to summertime may become permanent, says Bryan.
They cleaned up the place and then brought a bulldozer.
Volunteers started out by removing a couple of junk vehicles from the store property and then making trips to the dump. When they finished, they brought in a bulldozer and leveled out a large festival area just east of the store itself. Down below the festival area, camping is now available and parking has been expanded.
When the Travel Channel heard about it, they contacted Bryan and asked if they could come and shoot the event for their flagship program, Expedition Unknown. Bryan then reopened a covered stage in the main area by clearing out the ten cords of wood that had been previously stored there. He threw in a free BBQ feed for attendees and contacted Adventure Books of Seattle to help sponsor and organize the event.
The staff at AB of Seattle created an Official Program and helped finance much of the food, and then ran up a playlist of 350 tunes to be used at the party. And quite the party it will be, with hundreds expected to attend and then somehow make it to their cars in the morning for the drive home.
Then someone came up with ANOTHER idea.
It was decided to have an auction of collectible DB Cooper items, since the Ariel Store houses the greatest collection of Cooper memorabilia on Planet Earth. Other people donated non-Cooper items to be sold at auction as well. Funds raised will be used to help do repairs on the store and expand the present venue even more. The Ariel Store has been in business since 1929, and is considered a historical site by the locals.
The whole crazy party begins at 9AM on Saturday, August 27th, 2016 and runs well into Sunday. (Or whenever you feel like dragging yourself home.) Free internet access will be available inside the store, and anyone who wants to pay for their auction purchase can use cash, or their debit and credit cards by accessing PayPal, either from their smartphones, (you DON’T need a PayPal account) or by computer. The terminals will also be available to check your email or simply surf the internet. The BBQ dinner is free and so is the camping.
Free camping is allowed, and parking for small motorhomes or campers is first-come, first-served. Travel Channel may ask you to sign a Standard Release if they talk to you for the show.
Website with all information is here.
Email contact: Robert Blevins – firstname.lastname@example.org