The Lane County Fair, first run in 1859, fills the August air with live music, enticing aromas, and the twinkling lights of carnival rides. Gain inspiration for future shower concertos with performances by Tommy Tutone, Nashville's Eric Church, and Creedence Clearwater Revisited, formed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rhythm section of Creedence Clearwater Revival, all of whom headline the lengthy list of mainstage performers. Biwheeled vehicles reach new heights in the Boost Mobile Freestyle Motocross Tour, and the eight All-Alaskan Racing Pigs trot merrily around their sawdust-covered track as bystanders watch. The fair's many carnival rides, including the new ground-dwarfing Vertigo, a brightly-colored adrenaline enhancer that cradles heights seekers in swings and whisks them up 100 feet high for a towering view of the lights below, attract revelers and seatbelt fanatics alike ($0.50/ticket, rides take multiple tickets). Local farmers and craftspeople await the bestowment of ribbons as they display their skill and handiwork in numerous exhibitions.
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.
West Fest 2011, an outdoor music festival nestled in Wallace Marine Park, entertains concertgoers with a brimming lineup of classic and contemporary rock performers. Headlining musician Chuck Prophet—known for recording alongside Warren Zevon, sharing stage space with Lucinda Williams, and living up to his last name by predicting future events—takes the stage at 8 p.m. with his band The Mission Express. Session guitarist Jeff Pevar from David Crosby side-project CPR opens the night at 6:30 p.m. with a solo performance and three-handed ventriloquist-dummy quartet.
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.
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.