The Friends of Elk Falls Association coordinates the annual Fall Open House celebration in Elk Falls. Always the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving, various businesses, individuals and organizations sponsor an open house, concession or event as part of the community wide festivities. In 1996, at one of the brainstorming meetings, there was a discussion about things we might add to the event. Historic home tours, garden tours and such were not a possibility in this tiny rural community. Someone jokingly said “Well, we have a lot of outhouses in town.” Everyone got a good laugh and then thought, well, why not? No one has ever done THAT before! Thus, the Outhouse Tour and Contest was born. The decision was hesitantly made to try it once. The event was a thundering success! People absolutely loved it!
So just what is an outhouse tour? Each year, about a dozen brave individuals and local businesses spruce up (or build or relocate) an outhouse for a contest where the visitors are the judges. Cash prizes are awarded to the top three as well as the coveted Outhouse Throne Award, a custom made stoneware trophy chamber pot. Visitors who choose to take the self-guided tour pick up a ballot and a map at the Outhouse Headquarters downtown and vote for their favorite privy! Cost is $1 for a commemorative Outhouse Button.
It’s a living history lesson for the younger generations, a moving experience for the nostalgics, and definitely fun for all. Just follow the laughter!