While reading the recent article on the Climber’s Festival (Nov. 21st) it occurred to me perhaps it would be useful to gain some insight into the event from someone who was actually there for the entire weekend, including having lunch and dinner with some of the attendees up town. I’m not a climber but I am interested in opportunities for visitors to come to Oakdale and activities that interest people who live here. I didn’t drive by the community center but walked up to attend as did many of the other visitors who said they walked from their hotels. Not surprising that many of those who came to town are hikers, bikers and climbers as well as a surprising number of climbers who live in Oakdale. And the Oakdale Travelers and Visitors Bureau met their goals for filling their beds. Not a bad investment of their funds.
It was interesting to be a part of a living history lesson reported by the very men who made international history right here in our back yard. At the very time I was jumping off rocks into the Stanislaus River as a youth in Knights Ferry, these young men from Berkeley were driving their Model T and Model A Fords to Yosemite Park to study the big rocks, like none other in the world. This group of aging climbers and well known authors, who honed their skills on campus rocks at Berkeley, developed the technology that allowed them to conquer Half Dome. The technology and tools are used today around the world to climb without damaging the rocks. The first ever climbers festival. Not a bad footnote in history for our foothill city.
It is difficult to understand the criticism of Ramona Howard who has been organizing events and volunteers to help Oakdale recover from the spending sins of the past. Her efforts have brought a crowd downtown to see the National Christmas Tree, first ever car show to honor a local racer, a historic climbers get together to celebrate their place in history, not to mention taking to the streets every Saturday to sweep and clean city streets. Her efforts are not new. A small but determined army of volunteers have been the back bone of selfless activity in Oakdale for well over a hundred years. Oakdale is a better place because of the work of the many service and community groups.