River Day was held late that year, on June 14, at a cost of 25 cents per person, with festivities on campus during the day followed by a cruise on the Willamette. A good time was apparently had by all, because River Day returned the next year, and the next, and the next.

But nothing remains the same. The River Day of 1940 was held at Blue Lake Park near Troutdale and featured afternoon games and swimming followed by an evening dance to the strains of Wes Lang's Orchestra. Could anyone have known that this was to be the last River Day?


River Day 1914, abord the Bailey Gatzert
The following year, the commencement week calendar included a picnic supper for seniors at Blue Lake Park. No River Day. By 1943, River Day was so completely erased from the institutional memory that it didn't even make a list of "happenings and institutions lost."

That same year, a Quest editorial lamented that "when we are at war, each hour wasted seems an unnecessary loss." River Day may simply have been a victim of World War II. Its bucolic frivolity was somehow inappropriate during those difficult years, and certainly rationing would have severely limited off-campus excursions. After the war, organized events became more and more infrequent, a deliberate manifestation of a trend toward individual expression and spontaneity. The kind of communitywide merriment that the River Day tradition embodied was absent at Reed for nearly 30 years, resurfacing one spring day in 1968 in the form of a little event called the Renaissance Fair. But that's another story.



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