Oh boy oh boy, its freakin’ summer. Oregon is a paradise this time of year, or any time really, and we have our fair share of summer festivals: the collective celebration of Oregony sunshine and good times. There’s many great opportunities to gather with your fellow Oregonians and celebrate one obscure thing or another, and we’ve compiled a few of these nearby events right here, and the majority of them can be enjoyed by the whole family. Break out the suntan lotion and your wallet.
Funk in the Forest, Corvallis, June 9
This fun thing is happening TODAY. If you’re reading this on June 9, of course. If so, get the funk out to Avery Park! Five Alarm Funk is headlining with support from Swatkins & The Positive Agenda along with local favs Space Neighbors, and several other possibly heavily funky bands, in sound, not smell, ok. Smartass. Tickets are $15, kids are allowed. Smoking pot is also maybe probably don’t quote us allowed so do try not to blow that stuff in those kids’ faces you jerks.
Make Music Day, Salem, June 21
This all day, Summer Solstice, live music event is celebrated by hundreds of cities across the world, and originated with the French Fete de la Musique in 1982. I assume the next time the French oppose one of our many wars, we’ll change the name to “Freedom Fest” or something. Various bars, venues, and alleyways feature close to 100 bands from the area, and everyone drinks a bunch of beer and dances. In runs from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. and all the shows are free.
The Toyota of Corvallis Red White and Blue Riverfront Festival, Corvallis, July 3-4
Come celebrate our nation’s birthday with Corvallis and Toyota of Corvallis in Corvallis! This thing will have everything: local food, drinks, music, and Toyotas. It all goes down on the riverfront between Van Buren and Monroe, so get ready for some star-spangled fun. There’s a parade, too, and anyone can participate. Just show up in Central Park on July 4 at 9:30 a.m. Toyota: we said Toyota several times so you owe us money which we will gladly collect in Prius-dollars that we will use to fund our post-apocalyptic journalism Prius armada. Thanks.
Oregon Country Fair, Veneta,
This one is an Oregon classic. This hippy-tacular festival features tons of music as well as food, art, and a bunch of booths full of people hawking their handmade crafts. There are several categories into which these artisans are placed, and one of them is “whimsy.” You probably can’t get the psychedelic mushrooms at one of these booths, but I swear to god that you can find them here. Oh wait, the website says this is a drug and alcohol free event. OKAY *laugh with tears emoji.*
Da Vinci Days, Corvallis, July 20-22
So we all agree that Leonardo Da Vinci was probably an alien, how else would he be so much smarter than the rest of us? In this spirit, the Benton County Fairgrounds holds a Da Vinci themed festival, only I’m not sure that they think he was actually an alien, but he totally was. This festival is a showcase of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics, featuring creations from students and other community members, and it’s free. It also includes food, music, and the Grand Kinetic Challenge, the winner of which will be crowned alien king of all aliens.
Salem Art Fair & Festival, Salem, July 20-22
This family friendly event goes down in Bush’s Pasture Park near downtown Salem, and it’s just $10 for three days. Tons of local artists will be exhibited, as well as live music and Children’s Educational Theatre. We’re really hoping for a graphic and informative production on why one should look both ways before crossing the street. This thing is actually a fundraiser for the Salem Art Association, and people on food stamps get in free, so I’m having a tough time figuring out a way to make fun of it. Just go and give them ten dollars, please.
Junction City Scandinavian Festival, Junction City, Aug. 9-12
To attend this festival, close one’s eyes, and imagine a land where quality healthcare and education are accessible, and kids aren’t gun-murdering each other in school…it is a joyous thing. Also: wooden shoes and that big Dutch fan-house-thing. This event features folk dancing, authentic, better than IKEA Scandinavian food, booths chock full of handmade wares, and even a couple of fun runs. The only thing missing is some Norwegian Black Metal; maybe they’ll incorporate a Darkthrone cover band in the future.
Bi-Mart Country Music Festival, Brownsville, Aug. 16-19
Get ready to hoot, holler, and absolutely not punch anyone in the face or use homophobic slurs! This festival is a somewhat raucous, yet popular event with country music fans across the state. This is the priciest thing on this list at $180 for a four-day, general admission ticket, but the big names on the lineup must be paid and I’m sure you understand. These names include Alabama, Eric Church, Kid Rock, and a bunch of other acts that say “truck” a lot and pretend to give a sh*t about veterans, so it should be loads of fun.
Northwest Art and Air Festival, Albany, Aug. 24-26
This Albany fun-o-thon happens in Timber-Linn Park, and it’s a huge hit. The premise is pretty simple: a bunch of folks congregate to watch a fleet of hot air balloons float over Albany while they eat and drink and watch a band that was popular 20 years ago. This year’s headliner is THE FRIGGIN GOO GOO DOLLS and I assure you that I will be there screaming “SONG FROM TWISTER” over and over and over. That song does kinda rip, though, it tricked me into buying “A Boy Named Goo” back in 1998. Judge me all you want. Also featured: an Aerosmith cover band entitled “Aerosmith Rocks.” Cool.
By Jay Sharpe