Entertainment and Events
The majority of Oregon’s large crowd-drawing events take place June–September, but there are plenty of cool-weather and ongoing activities to keep you entertained throughout the year. The free local weekly magazines are a great source for listings of events and entertainment and can be found in most of the larger burgs and college towns.
Oregon loves to celebrate its heritage, as well as its artistic and gastronomic bounty. The following seasonal sampler highlights some of the festivals and celebrations throughout the state.
In spring, two coastal gourmet affairs of note are the Newport Seafood and Wine Festival and the Astoria Crab Feed and Seafood Festival. Also around this time, Florence’s Rhododendron Festival and Brookings’s Azalea Festival, both on the coast, attract blossom connoisseurs.
If you have kids in tow, in June take advantage of the parades, carnival rides, air shows, and floral splendor of Portland’s Rose Festival or the Cannon Beach Sandcastle Festival. You could fill up July and August with such varied musical talents as the new vaudeville acts of the Oregon Country Fair and the gold-record performers at Jacksonville’s Peter Britt Music Festival, not to mention the blues icons who appear at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, the West Coast’s largest.
During August, festivalgoers can toast their appreciation of Oregon at Portland’s Oregon Brewers Festival, where more than 60 microbreweries are showcased, and the Annual International Pinot Noir Festival in McMinnville, attracting master vintners from around the world. Summer festival-hoppers might also want to take in Da Vinci Days in Corvallis, uniting the community’s scientific and artistic elements, and Portland’s Bite, featuring the best in food.
In the fall and winter, the leading events west of the Cascades include Mount Angel’s Oktoberfest, the Eugene Celebration, the Corvallis Fall Festival, and Thanksgiving open houses in the wine country. At Christmastime the leading events are Albany’s Victorian Parlor tours, Portland’s Christmas Ships, and light displays all over the state.
While most of Oregon’s celebrations take place west of the Cascades, there are notable exceptions to the rule. Bird-watchers relish the Klamath Basin Bald Eagle Conference (www.eaglecon.org) in February and the springtime John Scharff Migratory Waterfowl Conference (www.migratorybirdfestival.com) in Burns.
Highbrows can take in the summertime literary festival at Fishtrap (www.fishtrap.org) in the Wallowas or rock out at the Bend Summer Fest in central Oregon. Rock hounds flock to summer mineral shows in the central Oregon hamlets of Madras and Prineville. Rodeo fans can whoop and holler at the venerable Pendleton Roundup (http://pendletonroundup.com) in September.
Such celebrations of ethnicity as Portland’s Cinco de Mayo (one of the largest celebrations of this kind in the nation) and Scandinavian festivals in Astoria and Junction City express the state’s diversity.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel