Members of the Gales Creek Church of God prepare strawberry shortcake for visitors. Photo: Chas Hundley

GALES CREEK - How do you count visitors to a free festival with no defined bounds? Just count the strawberry shortcake sold, and you'll come up with a decent, if low, estimate.

This year, on Saturday, June 8, members of the Gales Creek Church of God sold about 620 shortcake tickets - each traded in for a scoop of Oregon fresh berries, homemade shortcake, and some ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Church member and perennial volunteer Donna Marble says she thinks it's the most ever sold in the event's 53-year history.

This year, the festival occupied nearly the entire downtown area of Gales Creek, with events at the Gales Creek Store and Community Hall, the Gales Creek Church of God, the Gales Creek School, with cars parked basically anywhere they could find a spot.

Absent from festivities was the Gales Creek Tavern, which is for sale for $300,000.

The event featured live music, about thirty craft and food vendors, representatives from local government and fire agencies, including the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Forest Grove Fire & Rescue and more.

Jointly run by the Gales Creek Church of God and the Gales Creek Chamber of Commerce (Disclosure: this journalist is president of the Gales Creek Chamber and helped run this event), funds raised from strawberry shortcake sales go to support the programs of the Gales Creek Church Ladies Group, while proceeds from vendor booth fees go to the chamber to support their efforts in the Gales Creek community.

Photos: Chas Hundley