written by Bronte Dod | photo courtesy of Waterfront Blues Festival
The Waterfront Blues Festival has raised more than $10 million for the Oregon Food Bank. Now, with a national reputation, the festival brings in blues acts from around the country for four days of music. The festival is held at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Downtown Portland, but the best seats may actually be on the water—boats line up on the Willamette River during the shows.
The Wheeler County Bluegrass Festival stands out as a top summer find. This small-town festival has a friendly vibe, and the entire weekend is free. Listen to live, local music and national bluegrass bands, and attend art exhibits and a parade. Festival highlight: the “Fossil Song Contest,” a song competition of original songs about Fossil.
The Northwest Tandem Bike Rally started in Corvallis in 1986. The annual family-oriented event attracts hundreds of tandem bike riders from around the Pacific Northwest each year. This year’s festival will be held in Klamath Falls. Routes range from 21 to 100 miles and travel through the Klamath River Basin, as well as other Southern Oregon sites including Crater Lake. Camp and bike for the whole weekend.
The Elgin Stampede started in 1946 and has grown into a four-day event. The Stampede features classic rodeo shows as well as dances and parades throughout the weekend. Find Elgin at the base of the Blue Mountains.
For one day each year, quilts cover the storefronts, lawns and doorways in downtown Sisters. Textile enthusiasts from around the world descend onto Central Oregon to partake in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show—part street festival, part textile artwork display. In the week leading up to the show, master quilt makers host workshops and classes.
The Southern Oregon Kite Festival features fantastic flying creations from across the country. The two-day festival is free to attend and offers free kite-making classes for kids. The event is held in Brookings, known for warmer-than-average temperatures throughout the year.
One of the country’s largest and longest running craft beer festivals, the Oregon Brewers Festival draws tens of thousands to the Portland waterfront to taste a variety of Oregon-made beer. The festival hosts eighty independent breweries with hundreds of brews on tap.