The news of Beverly Cleary’s passing deeply saddens all who loved her books, but Yamhill continues to promote her legacy and contribution to children, writers and literacy. The Yamhill Downtown Association is in their third year of planning and promoting a dedication to the beloved author. The YDA committee secured a grant the past two years through the Yamhill County Cultural Coalition. After the first year of community funding and donations with a successful event they started to broaden their ideas and seek possibilities with grants to further community action. The YCCC has helped inspire, motivate and not let it disappear in the wake of Covid 19. They challenged funded community programs to think creatively and to use grant money toward the objectives in new ways.
With another interrupted Covid year the planning shifted once again from an in-person community event to allow for social distancing. The second year was only weeks away from a community gathering and celebration. The committee improvised with going virtual and continuing the art and story contests online for youth with lots of prizes. This year since the committee was once again inspired to think creatively about the grant funded celebration, they decided to walk outdoors! Sharing community history with a walking tour and Beverly Cleary characters to inspire literacy, sounded just like a Beverly Cleary thing to do.
It is the hope to open the new self-guided historic literary walking tour, A Walk with Beverly Cleary in Yamhill, by the end of April! This interactive, child friendly walking tour is aimed for children, families and enthusiasts to learn about the history of Yamhill community with the admiration of Beverly Cleary story characters. Walk through historic Yamhill's "Firsts" from the early logging industry, a first stagecoach stop, and where Beverly Cleary first began to read and create stories from childhood. The historic Bunn family home and farm where Beverly grew up in Yamhill is still a fine home in Yamhill today with much appeal. The YDA community group is also connecting the Yamhill Creek trail to the walking tour. The plan is to make it a local dog park and nature trail.
The community outreach and literacy funded opportunity begins with an annual story and art contest for children, open to the public on April 12th, Beverly Cleary’s birthday. Coming soon! The website where it can be found is www.amylamae.com Please also see further details and upcoming efforts of the new historic walking tour.
Photos are from the first Beverly Cleary community celebration. The first Community Beverly Cleary event in 2019 was funded through donations and community support. It was a great event with about a 150 people attending, a representative from a Model A car club, a story and art contest for local students, the McMinnville Library Bookmobile, and a Mayor’s luncheon with Junior High students who wanted to learn about improving community. Last, a short walking tour of Yamhill and Beverly Cleary history.