Longtime Summit resident Ed Rettig was among those that helped establish the festival, which was held for the 44th time Saturday. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

SUMMIT — Ed Rettig was part of the first wave of “hippies” to settle in Summit, and he and other residents in the unincorporated Coast Range community lived in the moment.

“I don’t think we ever thought about tomorrow,” he said.

Time adds perspective.

The 44th annual Summit Summer Festival, which Rettig helped create, was held on Saturday, and featured music, arts and crafts booths, a mellow vibe and a family-friendly feel.

Years ago, Rettig took his daughter, Jenny Braxton, to the festival.

On Saturday, Rettig received a hearty high-five from his grandson, Xavier Braxton of Summit, who finished first in the watermelon eating contest.

Xavier Braxton, 6, winner of the watermelon-eating competition in the 6-and-under division, gets watermelon juice cleaned off his arms by his mother, Jenny Braxton, at Saturday’s Summit Summer Festival. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

“I won, grandpa,” the 6-year-old exclaimed.

There aren’t many old-timers left in Summit, Rettig said. “Now, I’m watching the transition from one generation to another,” he added.

And a third generation of Summit residents were enjoying the gathering.

The Summit Summer Festival is the major fundraiser for the Summit Community Center, which supports scholarships, community projects and local volunteer groups.

“We give a $1,000 scholarship to every graduating senior here in the community,” said Barbara Sobo Gast, the festival’s community publicity coordinator.

Each year, the Summit Star Quilters create a quilt to raffle for the event. Other quilts and art also were on display at the center.

There’s also a cake and pie auction.

Carol Anderson of Eddyville wanted to help local students by participating. “I brought a key lime pie because I’m from Florida,” she said. She had relatives from the sunshine state ship her fruit.

The Carl Headley Memorial Magic Cookie Bars, made by Becky Miller Headley, included the disclaimer, “No psychedelics were used in the making of these cookies — well, not in the ingredients, anyway.” (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

One entry, “Carl’s Favorite Magic Cookie Bars,” included a Grateful Dead skull on the packaging and a disclaimer the treats included no psychedelics.

The booth for Rough Craft Collective, which makes art from repurposed wood, had a cardboard sign with an unusual invitation — “Haggle me.”

Owner Condrew Allen of Portland said the sign spurred interaction and helped business. “I want to sell all these pieces by the end of the day,” he said.

Stella Neville, from left, Kamilla Grimmer and Abby Workman wear matching hats at the Summit Summer Festival on Saturday. Neville, who lives in Summit, graduated Philomath High this year and is headed to the University of Oregon. Grimmer and Workman will be seniors at PHS. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

Recent Philomath High School graduate Stella Neville of Summit flipped through prints at artist Earl Newman’s booth with friends Abby Workman and Kamilla Grimmer. Workman and Grimmer came to the festival for the first time because of Neville’s descriptions.

“She always made it sound really cool, because everybody knew everybody,” Workman said. “It also sounded pretty kooky. I wanted to see what it was like. It’s really cool.”

Grimmer had never been to a similar event. “It’s like a whole different culture,” she added.

The teens were familiar with Newman’s work because a PHS teacher had prints up in the classroom.

Artist Earl Newman, 93, visits with folks during Saturday’s Summit Summer Festival. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

Newman, a Summit resident since the early 1970s, is prominent thanks to art for the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Country Fair, the Oregon Coast Museum and more.

He’s also the visual face of Summit, making a poster for nearly every happening here, including the festival, Gast said.

“We call him the mayor of Summit,” she added.

When Newman moved to town, he bought a house that came with a vacant lot. Later, he purchased a nearby abandoned church building for $20 — with the deal being that it needed to be moved quickly.

Earl Newman’s design for this year’s event on display at the festival. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

So about 45 years ago, on April 11, 1978, Newman, Rettig, local loggers and other residents transported the structure to the vacant lot about a quarter-mile away — without permits or insurance — using heavy machinery and log rollers.

Newman received a ticket from police and the old church became the Summit Community Center and the heart of the community.

On Saturday, many attendees made sure to check in with the 93-year-old Newman.

“You get to know everyone here,” he said.  

Kyle Odegard, who graduated from Lebanon High School and earned a degree from Portland State University, has been covering covering news as a reporter and editor in Oregon for a quarter of a century.