Following two years of pandemic related restrictions, the Camas Days Hometown Festival is roaring back to life on Friday and Saturday, July 23 and 24th. One of the highlights is the Camas Days Parade which attracts more than 10,000 spectators. This year, Marquita Call will serve as Grand Marshal. Marquita was named business person of the year by the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce in 2021.
Marquita Call was raised in Camas and has deep roots here. Her dad, Art Gaiani, built more than 50 homes in Camas. Her grandmother Marie Eymer played piano at the Liberty Theatre when it opened in 1927. Marquita graduated Camas High School in 1962. Her first job was at the Ideal Corner Cafe at the age of 15. She also worked at Dairy Queen with classmate Denis Hayes, the International Chairman of Earth Day. She and her friends started the first recycling center in Camas in the late 60s. She taught Sunday school at Zion Lutheran Church for 20 years, where her mother Lenora Gaiani served as superintendent.
Marquita has owned Camas Gallery for the past 12 years. Her gallery has been voted Best of Clark County for seven years in a row. In 2012, the Downtown Camas Association (DCA) honored Marquita with its “Something New” award and then in 2013, the DCA presented her with its “Spirit Award.”
Marquita is known for her infectious personality. She welcomes visitors to her gallery with warmth and enthusiasm and freely shares her historic knowledge of Camas. One visitor claimed Marquita is to Camas what Dolly Parton is to Pigeon Forge, TN.
“One thing that will never change about Camas is its sense of wellness,” says Marquita. “I love this very special town,” she said.
In addition to the popular Saturday Camas Days parade, a children’s parade is on Friday, July 22 at 12:15 pm. Most of the events continue over two days, Friday and Saturday, July 22 and 23. Two day events include a beer and wine garden with live music from 5 pm to 11 pm along with a street festival featuring more than 80 artisans and vendors, and family fun on Kids’ Street, open from 11 am to 8 pm. Visit CWChamber.com to download full schedule of events. For more information, contact Camas Washougal Chamber at 360-834-2472.