Forget sounding the trumpets. Instead, honk your ah-oogah horns. Our new king is a real clown.
Redmond resident John Griffin, a.k.a. John the Clown, claims he’ll be a benevolent ruler as King of Saddle Rock. “I’ll certainly be one of the people,” he chuckled. “But I’ll also keep my cudgel close at hand in case I need to use it.”
On Oct. 4, Griffin was handed an official proclamation signed by Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz that declared Griffin as king of the iconic mountain-top landmark. He then promptly hiked to the top to survey his new realm.
Saddle Rock isn’t exactly unfamiliar to Griffin. He grew up in Wenatchee, graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1964 and spent four years in the Wenatchee Youth Circus. He’s a retired Seattle beer truck driver.
Griffin has returned annually to Wenatchee to participate as John the Clown in the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival’s Grand Parade. He’s done it for 48 years.
Griffin won the royal title — his reign runs one year from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 — in an online auction held by the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust as a fundraiser for its Wenatchee Foothills Campaign. The organization has raised $7.2 million of the $8.1 million needed to expand public access to lands around Saddle Rock and provide stewardship for area trails.
Along with his new top-dog title and mayoral proclamation, Griffin also received a cape and cudgel, $100 worth of gift cards from McGlinn’s Public House, an official portrait shot by photographer Frank Cone and a gift basket and a beer a week from Saddle Rock Pub & Brewery. That’s because a monarch can work up a mighty thirst when making decrees and holding sway.
On his hike up Saddle Rock two weeks ago, Griffin posed for photos with fellow hikers, declared a mud puddle as “the Royal Spa” and graciously allowed two dogs on leashes to proceed ahead of him on the trail.
His immediate gift to his subjects? The new king looked up at the sky. “More sunshine.”
Long live the king!
A wild time in tourism
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has joined the Washington Tourism Alliance, but that doesn’t mean salmon will migrate to swanky hotel rooms or deer will bed down in 300 thread-count sheets.
“Joining the alliance will help us build new partnerships to encourage tourists to fish, hunt, watch wildlife and enjoy our beautiful natural environment,” said Fish and Wildlife director Phil Anderson. Folks who fish and hunt generate more than $4.5 billion annually for the state’s economy and supports about 60,000 jobs, say recent figures by Fish and Wildlife. “There’s a clear connection between WTA’s efforts to promote travel and our work to provide sustainable fishing, hunting and other recreational opportunities,” said Anderson.
Fish and Wildlife is one of the first state agencies to join the WTA, which was created in 2011 when budget cutbacks forced the state tourism office to close. The alliance has about 400 members, including many of the state’s chambers of commerce and hotel companies.
Picked, washed, sliced — now what?
Plucking and munching a Golden Delicious from the backyard tree is old-style apple eating. Modern-day fruit fans have flowcharts to guide their apple objectives and superheroes touting healthy snacking. Consider:Cashmere-based Crunch Pak has enlisted the aid of Marvel’s Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, the Hulk and Captain America to help promote their Snackers trays of sliced apples, cheese, pretzels and other treats. “The new relationship,” says a Crunch Pak press release, “enables the companies to reach boys ages 6 to 10 who need better product choices in the healthy snacks category.” The first superheroes packaging arrives in early 2014, so there’s no rush to finish off that 20-pound bag of Gummy Bears and the freezer stash of Hot Pockets. See more info at crunchpak.com.
Online magazine Slate.com called on Andrew Mikolajski, gardening expert and author of “The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Apples,” to help design a slick flow chart that answers the pressing question: “What do you want to do with your apple?” Follow the chart to find out which apple variety works best for a bunch of activities. Eat it? Try Jonathan (tart) or Fuji (sweet). Cook it? Try Spitzenberg (for pies) and Granny Smith (for baking). Throw it? Try the Ingol (disc-shaped). Feed a horse? Red Delicious (horses don’t care about taste).
This week’s Worm was compiled by World reporter Mike Irwin. Have a tip? Send it to email@example.com.