|Yakima River Walkway - Yakima|
Wine grape vineyards that have put the Yakima Valley on the map were still in the infancy stages. That ‘Washington Wine Road’ that now brings thousands to the area these days was just a plain old highway.
There was no reason to go to Toppenish unless you were employed at the huge U and I Sugar processing plant located just outside town – sugar beets were a big crop around the area back then.
|U and I Sugar Plant remains - 2010|
Then the sugar plant closed in the late 70’s. The town’s crime rate was high, its mid-century buildings run-down and graffiti-covered. And then a group of enterprising folks had an idea. . . fast forward. . .
Toppenish 2014: "Where the West Still Lives"
Toppenish, now with a population of some 9,000, says it is the place "Where the West Still Lives". It does - in the old west murals - some 75 of them on buildings in its revitalized downtown – so many, that the tourism folks have created a map to help visitors find them all (a link is provided below).
The first weekend in June each year a new mural is created during the town’s Mural-In-A-Day celebration. A 5k fund-raiser run kicks off the event, and then spectators watch from bleachers as a new mural is created. This is the Mural Weekend in that small town and the newest creation, number 76, will be installed at the U and I sugar plant – it will greet visitors arriving in town from the exit off Interstate 82.
And these days, I’d be the first to tell you that a stop in this town is a must when traveling the Washington Wine Road through Central Washington. In addition to the murals, you’ll find close by:
|Yakama Nation Cultural Heritage Center - Toppenish|
* The Yakama Nation’s Legends Casino
*A Hop Museum (which is well worth a visit whether you are a fan of brewskies or not).
If You Go:
Tourist Information: www.visityakima.com
Follow this handy map of murals: http://www.visityakima.com/newSite/travel-maps/muralMapFrBk-web.pdf
Linking up with:
Weekend Travel Inspirations