Many of us were not around at the time of this incident, so you may be hearing of the 1970 riot in Pasco for the first time just like I am. This riot was so bad, Water Follies Weekend was almost postponed.

What caused the 1970 Pasco riot?

Pasco Police had been investigating reports of illegal activities being orchestrated at Volunteer Park for two weeks before they moved in to make arrests. Twenty uniformed officers made the arrests of 12 people during a surprise raid. This was just the beginning.

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The next day, as officers made their routine patrols, they were swarmed by 100 young people, most of them teenagers. The rioters began to attack the officers, throwing things at them including bottles and rocks. Insanely enough, someone threw a loaded gun. Most of the officers who were at Volunteer Park were injured. Fires were started, trees were burnt down and a jewelry store was robbed. It was a bad, bad ordeal.

Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash
Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash

The 1970 Tri-Cities Water Follies were almost postponed

In response to the carnage, the mayor called for an emergency curfew to curb the chaos. This curfew not only meant that everyone had to be home by 9:00 at night but Pasco stores and businesses would have to close for curfew as well. It was feared that the Water Follies event that was supposed to take place that weekend would be a casualty. Thankfully, it was smooth sailing after the curfew and all events were able to be held on time.

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