By Sayde Moser-Walker
For the last several weeks, Chella Herder’s living room has been taken over by neatly stacked boxes – all the same size, all painted bright colors.
“I’m assembling a giant rubix cube,” she explains. Just one of the life-sized games that was popular in the ‘80s that she’s making by hand as part of this year’s Moonlight Madness.
“Some nights I’m up until 3 a.m. painting and working on crafts.”
Herder is co-owner of the Phoenix Exchange in downtown Tillamook, a used clothing and exchange store. This is her second year coordinating Moonlight Madness – a Tillamook tradition that was all but extinct before she took over.
The goal, she says, is to bring back the original splendor of Moonlight Madness with a few fun twists.
“We have more kids activities than before,” Herder said, “and everything is on theme with the1980s.”
Along with the giant rubix cube, Herder has recreated life-sized versions of Trouble, Battle Ship, Yahtzee and Pac Man – where players literally dress up in a Pac Man poncho and try to retrieve real coins before the other players dressed as ghosts get to them. “It’s so much fun,” Herder beamed.
There will also be a Ghostbusters-themed haunted house, complete with live-action characters (think the marshmallow man from the first movie) and slime.
Herder is planning a beer garden, a mini car show, giant card games, bouncy houses for kids and toddlers, and live music from the Associates. All 80s music of course.
The Local Dog House will be selling kettle corn and Tillamook Ice Cream, and the Dairy Women will be serving old-fashioned rootbeer floats. The Tillamook Coast Derby Dames will be skating around and doing live demonstrations explaining roller derby, and there will be a Star Search Talent Show. Food vendors and other vendors will be lining the downtown area so there is plenty to walk around and see.
After dusk, a glow-in-the-dark dance party will commence with glow-in-the-dark games, such as “water pong,” tic tac toe, ring toss, bean bag toss and bowling.
And that’s not even mentioning the store’s sales.
“Each store gets to pick their sale and how they want to participate,” Herder said. “I’m just making sure there are enough fun activities to get people downtown and show them a good time. The goal is that they’ll do some shopping while they’re here.”
Herder said she recalls growing up in Tillamook when Moonlight Madness was something everyone looked forward to and participated in.
“Everyone came out for it,” she said. “It was a huge event. All your friends would be there, and there was dancing and live music and you stayed out late and everyone was having fun.
“That’s what I want to bring back,” she said. “I want to create those memories again for my kids and for my community.”
Moonlight Madness will commence on Aug. 4 from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.