As with all the best traditions, the annual Alsea Bay Bridge Walk started on a whim. In December 1987, two Waldport residents decided to walk across the bridge with their dog. And that pooch just happened to have a holiday outfit with battery-powered Christmas lights, and there just happened to be a photographer from the Eugene Register Guard in town. The photo of the lighted dog made the front, and a ritual was born.

This Saturday, Dec. 12, people from all over south Lincoln County will be gathering at the Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center for the 23rd annual bridge walk. The Lions will be serving hot dogs at 4:30 p.m., just before Santa arrives at 5 p.m. The Lighted Dog Contest and Parade – which is now open to all animals and usually attracts a few llamas — starts at 6 p.m. When it gets good and dark, the able-bodied turn on their flashlights and start north across the bridge. It’s two miles, over and back, so when they return they’re ready for hot chocolate, cider and coffee at the interpretive center. The whole event is sponsored by the Waldport Chamber of Commerce, which shares the center with Oregon State Parks.

They won’t be walking the same bridge as the first group in 1987. In 1992, the corroding Conde B. McCullough bridge from the 1930s was replaced by a stronger, modern concrete version. The “new bridge” isn’t as lovely as the old one, but it is much, much safer for pedestrians — a fact for which all will be grateful on Dec. 12. Over the years, walkers have endured their share of rain, snow and blustery winds. But still the Alsea Bay Bridge Walk lives on.
“It is crazy, but I think that Waldport is still crazy in love with their bridge here,” said OSP ranger Mike Rivers. “Of all the things that make Waldport special, this is one of the signature items of Waldport. We have the bay and the mountains, wildlife, river and our community, but there’s so much focus on the bridge. It has become an icon of Waldport.”

For details, call the Waldport Chamber at 541-563-2133. For a list of holiday events on the central coast, head to http://www.oregoncoasttoday.com/coastchristmas

Niki Price is the editor and co-owner of Oregon Coast Today, a weekly newspaper covering arts, entertainment and the environment on the central Oregon coast. She roams the shores from Yachats north to Rockaway, covering everything from pelican proliferation to proffered profiteroles, with two underage editorial assistants often in tow. To follow them, and the TODAY, check out their Twitter feed and Facebook fan site.

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  1. Max E. Glenn says…

    I love the way traditions get started and continued here on the Central Oregon Coast!

    There is a rhythm unique to this area which gives energizes those who take the time to observe and enjoy…….

    Written on December 8th, 2009 / Flag this Comment
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