The fifth-annual Oregon Brews and BBQs festival floods McMinnville’s Granary District with frothy craft beers and the smoky scent of barbecue. With a souvenir beer glass and beer tokens in hand, guests can sample 50 craft beers from 22 breweries, including Block 15, Golden Valley Brewery, and Raccoon Lodge. 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 the Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation and the GhanaHope Foundation.
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.
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.
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.
"Look deep into nature," Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, "and then you will understand everything better." His words perfectly encapsulate the philosophy behind the Wild Arts Festival, which has spotlighted nature-focused art and literature for more than 30 years. The festival is an annual gathering place for regional artists and authors, whose work encompasses everything from woodworking and glassblowing to novels and poems. Besides buying works directly from those creators, festival attendees can bid on other nature-related goodies, such as birdhouses and kayaking trips, at a silent auction. Proceeds from the fest benefit the Audubon Society of Portland, which maintains a 150-acre wildlife sanctuary and cares for more than 3,000 injured and orphaned birds.