Guide to Summer in Walla Walla
Come June, the Whitman campus can start to look a bit deserted. However, as anyone who’s stayed on campus over a break can attest, Walla Walla doesn’t actually shut down just because Whitman’s not in session. If you’re a grad who’s sticking around for a few months, or a student who has summer plans in Walla Walla, don’t fear: There’s plenty to do once classes let out. Here are our picks for having a fun-filled summer, with or without a car.
Arts & Music
If you’re a music lover, the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation hosts a summer concert series every Saturday and Sunday from 4-7 p.m. at the Land Title Plaza on 1st and Main. Sure, it’s not Sasquatch, but you can listen to local bands and enjoy the cooler summer evenings, all for free. A listing of concerts can be found at the Foundation’s website, downtownwallawalla.com.
Summer blockbusters are always fun, but if you want something a bit different, try checking out a live show or indie film. The Liberty Theater in Dayton brings in a mix of current movies and more obscure indie and foreign films, with a different movie screening each week, listed on their website. It’s about half an hour east on Highway 12—the highway will turn into Main Street once you get into Dayton, and the theater is on the right just across from the courthouse.
You can also check out live theater within walking distance of campus. The Little Theatre is hosting “The Foreigner,” a play involving the unlikely escapades of two strangers who meet in a rural Georgia fishing lodge. Shows run May 31-June 15. If you’d rather hear music, the Powerhouse Theatre is bringing the IV Tenors in to sing hits from Broadway, country, classical, pop and rock from May 30-June 9. Tickets can be ordered via their website and are available for as little as $12.
Recreation & Sports
Fans of watching people crash into each other have a lot to look forward to this summer. Walla Walla’s own rollergirls, the Sweets, will have two home bouts on June 1 and 29. Tickets are available on their website, wallawallasweetsrollergirls.com, and can be purchased at the door. If women on roller skates isn’t your thing, the county fairgrounds is also hosting a demolition derby Sunday, June 9 at 1 p.m. You can check out the other special events on the Walla Walla Fairgrounds website. (There’s a goat tying clinic in late July you won’t want to miss.)
If you’re a baseball fan (or have ever thought of becoming one), the Walla Walla Sweets will be playing home games all summer. Tickets are a steal—$8 if you preorder online or $9 at the game. Casual fans of the sport might appreciate the annual Battle of the Badges, where Walla Walla’s police and fire departments face off to earn money for charity. The event takes place Saturday, June 1 with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from the police station, the fire department or the Sweets shop on Main St.
Of course, you can always get involved in your own athletic activities. Walla Walla’s Parks and Recreation department offers a variety of programs throughout the summer, including adult sports leagues. Check out the city’s website and head to Parks and Recreation for a full course catalog, including art and ukelele classes and opportunities to coach or referee youth soccer.
The area around Walla Walla is also home to world-class hiking opportunities. Whitman’s Outdoor Program Rental Shop will be open during the summer and offers gear, as well as plenty of hiking maps and guidebooks to help you select the perfect hike. For a day hike, try Juniper Canyon. To get there, head west on Highway 12, continue into Oregon on Highway 730/395 and look for the canyon across the road to your left. The Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness, just past Dayton, has many day hike options as well. If you’re up for a longer weekend or have more time to spend driving, be sure to check out Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. It’s about a three-hour drive, but worth it for the gorgeous scenery and chance to check out the towns of Joseph and Enterprise.
These are jut a few special events, but there’s plenty more happening here during the summer. If you’re short on ideas, you can grab a free copy of the Union-Bulletin downstairs in Reid. There’s a daily events calendar, and the Thursday paper includes a Marquee section with listings for the entire week. There’s also a summer listserv for Whitman students sticking around for the summer, which people use to plan events and find other to carpool or hang out with. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org, so email email@example.com to be added to it. Finally, The Pioneer has a guide section on our website with listings for hikes, suggestions for traveling to nearby towns and other ideas for entertainment around campus. Check it out at whitmanpioneer.com/category/guide-2.