Pioneer Fall Festival set in Waitsburg

Jane Butler will be honored as Pioneer of the Year at the celebration Sunday.


WAITSBURG -- Longtime Waitsburg resident Jane Butler will be honored as Pioneer of the Year at the Pioneer Fall Festival on Sunday at the Bruce House Museum at Fourth and Main streets.

Butler, who will celebrate her 91st birthday in December, was born in Cashmere, and moved to Kettle Falls, before the town was flooded behind Grand Coulee Dam. Although she moved to Kennewick in 1934, her Kettle Falls class was the last to graduate from the high school before the town was moved to make way for the rising Lake Roosevelt.

Butler is a fixture at the Village Shoppes in Dayton, playing piano almost daily.

She continues to walk every morning in the Preston Hall gymnasium, although the group of about 10 people who walked four years ago has dwindled to two.

Pioneer of the Year is the latest of several honors the community has bestowed on Butler. In May she and Betty Chase were grand marshals for the community parade. She was named the Commercial Club's Citizen of the Year in 2006.

Butler spent most of her married life in Waitsburg and Dayton, where her husband, Robert, worked in local banks.

During her life she was a secretary, including 25 years with the state.

Butler is the "Energizer Bunny" according to Jeff Groom, a member of the Waitsburg Historical Society.

Genes and walking are probably part of the reason she is so healthy and energetic, Butler said, citing an aunt who lived to be 110.

"The others probably only lived to 90 or so," she quipped.

Butler lost her job as flower and muffin delivery person for the Weinhard Hotel when her daughter-in-law Ginny Butler sold the hotel, but she's taken on some new pursuits, including writing a history column for The Times, Waitsburg's weekly newspaper.

Butler will be introduced at the noon opening of the Fall Festival. The opening follows a non-denominational church service on the museum grounds that begins at 11 a.m.

After opening ceremonies are over, the Bruce House Museum is open for tours, and the Lion's Club will begin serving a buffalo barbecue.

Activities include a style show called "Westward Ho!" coordinated by Linda Hermanns.

The afternoon includes music on the front lawn and in the Bruce House parlor, and 20 vendors offering old-time food, crafts and displays.

Among displays and demonstrations are antiques, watercolors, sack sewing with Bill Stonecipher and Bill Zuger, butter making with Doris Hulce, jelly making in the Bruce House kitchen with Sherri Jackson and candle making by Gary Lentz as well as woodcarving, jewelry and a book sale.

Food available for purchase on the grounds includes pies, ice cream, ice cream bars, root beer, nachos, popcorn, coffee, pop and lemonade.

Proceeds from the festival help support the museum, which is on the corner of Main and Fourth streets.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at or 522-5289.

Fall Festival Schedule of events

All events are on the grounds of the Bruce House Museum

11 a.m. -- Nondenominational Church Service, followed by recognition of Pioneer of the Year, Jane Butler

12 p.m. -- Bruce House opens. Piano music in the parlor throughout the afternoon. Farmer's Paradox barbershop quartet will also sing in the parlor.

12 p.m. -- Lion's Club Buffalo Barbecue. $10.

12:30 - 5 p.m. -- Crafts, demonstrations and food.

12:30- 1 p.m. -- Kids' Bluegrass Group.

1-1:30 p.m. -- Heather Stearns.

1:30-2:15 p.m. -- Vintage Fashion show, "Westward Ho!.)

2:15-2:30 p.m. -- Farmer's Paradox.

2:30-3 p.m. -- Turner Family.


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