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Crazy Days on the Palouse

A version of this article originally appeared in the July 21, 2018 issue of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. By Dulce Kersting-Lark, LCHS Executive Director

2nd Annual KRPL vs Police Department volleyball game at Crazy Days, July 1977. LCHS Photo: 01-02-296

Those who have lived in Moscow for many decades will remember a fun and funny summer tradition that occurred about this time of year throughout the 1960s and '70s.

Crazy Days was a delightful spectacle that took over downtown for several days each summer. It was part sidewalk sale, part parade and part block party. Retailers used the opportunity to put past-seasons' wares on clearance and boost sales numbers during the long, hot days when folks might otherwise be inclined to lounge by the pool.

Shoppers at David's Department Store at Main and 3rd Streets during Crazy Days, 1960s. LCHS Photo: 01-08-254

To add to the fun, shop keepers dressed in costumes and even paraded down Main Street. Various other activities were added to attract shoppers to the commerce district, such as a volleyball game between the police department and KRPL Radio.

One long-time resident recalled most items were sold for a nickel or a penny, and others were grouped into 25 cent grab bags. She worked at Creighton's department store as a high school and college student, and was grateful the shop front was on the west side of the street, therefore shaded in the afternoons. That was especially important if she and her fellow clerks were dressed in 1890s costumes.

Crazy Days costumes in Fonk's Dime Store, ca. 1960. LCHS Photo: 01-03-442

Another person shared this reflection on Crazy Days: "At some stores I swear that for two or three years running the same old merchandise would show up. I often wondered how they decided what to save until next year's sale, and what to donate to charity! Occasionally I would find something of use. It was a business owners' flea market of new, but a lot of times not necessarily needed items."

He went on to speculate that, "With more small shops and department stores concentrated downtown it was better attended. Now with regional or national chains and not as many private businesses, I'm not sure the sale would be as inviting to customers. The farmers market has picked up on the more social aspect of the sale."

Main Street during Crazy Days, 1960s. LCHS Photo: 01-08-252

Whatever fun you might be up to this summer, remember to think about your locally-owned businesses for your shopping needs.

The shopkeepers might not be dressed in costume, but they are surely just as eager to help you find a great deal.

Dog Show Parade at 2nd and Main Streets during Crazy Days. 1960s. LCHS Photo: 01-08-255

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