Each year since 1973, on the weekend after Labor Day, engines rumble the very foundation of Sublimity. The Harvest Festival began as a simple tractor pull, and while that event remains a highlight, some of its wheels have gotten considerably bigger and more monstery. And that's not the only thing about the festival that's grown. Now a three-day affair, the schedule bursts at the mid-section with events such as a Fun Run, a parade, a KidZone with bounce houses and rides, and bands and magicians on the Coors Light stage. Yet all the fun and engine flexing is for a good cause. More than 25 community organizations, including the Sublimity Fire Department and Relay for Life, benefit from the festival's proceeds.
For nearly two decades, three-day festival The Bite & Brew of Salem has celebrated Northwest American summer through beers, food, and outdoor entertainment. Held on the grassy lawns of Riverfront Park, the annual event combines family-friendly entertainment with performances by 15 local and national bands on two outdoor stages. Meanwhile, local breweries such as Salem Ale Works, Hop Valley Brewing Co., and Gilgamesh Brewing pour more than 60 draft beers, including a few hard-to-find concoctions. To complement the suds, a plethora of Oregon food carts and restaurants serve sweet and savory fare under the blazing July sun.
Formerly the Oregon Wine, Food & Brew Fest, 2014's First Taste Oregon will showcase the same types of Oregon talent: winemakers, brewers, distillers, and chefs. On Friday, January 24, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday, January 25, from noon to 10 p.m., a fresh lineup of vendors will flood the Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center's Columbia Hall with their pours, suds, and cuisine. Though the final list of exhibitors remains a mystery, last year's bunch included Eastside Distilling—which led a special tasting of its bourbon, vodka, and coffee rum, among others—and demos by several Oregon chefs. Visitors can park in the free lot, and grab some taste tickets to enjoy similar activities this year.
The River Rock Summer Concert Series spreads out along the bank of the Willamette River, drawing crowds to watch legends and rising stars of rock, blues, and soul strut their stuff. Local Northwest wine and beer offerings are available and food vendors dish up everything from pulled pork and mac and cheese to jambalaya and oyster shooters. Families can enjoy the children’s area presented by Discovery Village with hands on activities such as blowing bubbles or constructing a functional recording booth from giant blocks.
Originally established and overseen by a committee of parents, Sip! McMinnville Wine & Food Classic began in 1994 as a small community fundraiser for St. James Catholic School. Today, the annual festival draws nearly 10,000 people to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, requiring more than 300 volunteers to assemble regional winemakers, culinary masters, and artists. Vintners disclose trade tips as they peddle their ambrosial libations, all of which are ultimately ranked by a panel of professional judges into bronze, silver, gold, and best-of-show tiers. Guests can take wine-tasting classes, which teach sippers how distinguish fruity undertones from a banana hiding in their glass, or glean cooking tips from kitchen demonstrations and food booths. Throughout the weekend-long gathering, artists display their opuses in the form of tangible wares or live music.
The sixth-annual Oregon Brews and BBQ's festival floods McMinnville?s Granary District with frothy craft beers and the smoky scent of barbecue. With a souvenir beer glass and tasting tickets in hand, guests can sample more than 50 craft beers from more than 35 breweries, including Grain Station Brew Works, Golden Valley Restaurant & Brewery, and Hopworks Urban Brewery, an organic brewery whose director of sustainability chatted with the Groupon Guide about keeping its environmental footprint as small as possible. The hoppy flavors complement tender barbecued meats, many of which grill masters have slow cooked throughout the night by using low heat and a boogie-man-repellent seasoning.
Live musicians punctuate the air with such acts as The Jake Blair Band, which blends wailing slide guitar with gravely vocals and harmonica for a blues buffet. Audiences can dance along, check out the jewelry and art from local vendors, or explore the kids' zone. This year, proceeds from the festival will benefit St. James Catholic School and the GhanaHope Foundation.