Though attendance wasn't what it has been in the past, Milton-Freewater Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cheryl York declared the Muddy Frogwater festival a success.

She estimated about 7,000 to 8,000 people made their way to Milton-Freewater Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which is a little less than the 8-10,000 they usually get. But with other events going on around the region - like the Umatilla County Fair, the Farm-City Pro Rodeo, Pendleton skateboarding competition and Little McKay Creek Band playing at Wildhorse - people probably had many choices on where to go.

York said the slowest night was probably Saturday night - in addition to other events going on, it was breezy and cool that evening.

But even with the smaller attendance, York said she met people from far and wide - as far away as Portland and California.

"It's so family oriented," she said. "That's what people like. They like that element that is a family event."

A new success was the?Hip Hop Mania races, which replaced the frog jumping races this year.

The mania was York's brainchild, the competition featured the giant balls with handles, called hippity-hop balls. Racers of all ages were timed as they hopped from one station to another. At the first station bouncers had to throw a rubber ball into a bag, at the second they had to do a bean bag toss and at the third they sifted through a bunch of rubber frogs to find the one with the word "go!" on the bottom.

York said about 20 racers competed in age groups 4-6, 7-9 and 13 and over. Even a few adults joined in the fun.

But the Hip Hop Mania really took off after the races were done. York said the hop spot stayed open the rest of the day, so kids could hop as long as they wanted for a quarter. She guessed 200-250 kids came through to bounce on the balls.

"It was full of kids almost the entire time,"?she said.

It was a great way for kids to work off energy and parents to get a break. York said on Monday a woman came into the chamber's office saying her son loved it.

York said only a couple people asked her where the frogs were. She cancelled the frog jumping contest after repeated difficulties in getting frogs to Milton-Freewater for the competition.

York said she's deflated the hippity-hop balls to save them for next year. Hip Hop Mania will be back.

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