Eugene and Springfield have a lot to offer in terms of activities — one look at our weekly events calendar will tell you that. But since this is the travel issue, we’re encouraging you to take a step outside Lane County and check out what the rest of Oregon has going on this fall. From storytelling festivals to boat parades, hop on a bus or carpool to these autumn escapades.
Fun fact: The “only Swiss-Bavarian festival in the West” takes place in Oregon. Out in the far reaches of the state, Oregon’s Alpenfest celebrates Swiss and Bavarian culture. Split between three Eastern Oregon towns, the festival provides visitors with polka music, folk dancing, traditional Swiss foods, alphorn blowing and, of course, yodeling galore. Expect crafts, bratwurst and plenty of beer. Learn more at oregonalpenfest.blogspot.com.
Vegan Beer & Food Festival
A bevy of vegan delights will grace Portland at the Vegan Beer and Food Festival this September. Hit up Zedell Yards (3121 S.W. Moody Ave.) for tasty fare from 50 Portland vegan restaurants, food carts and other food-dispensing entities. Ticket prices range from $25-$75, and with the higher-end tickets, you get a tasting glass with unlimited sips of vegan Oregon brews. Ninkasi and Rogue will be there, as well as other breweries and cideries from around the state. See more at veganbeerfest.com.
|Portland fashion week|
Portland Fashion Week
Although many would scoff at using Project Runway as any sort of high-fashion metric, it can’t be ignored. Portland has sent more designers to compete on the reality show than any other city (and has brought more winners home, too). It does have the best-dressed baristas of any city we’ve been to lately. Jokes aside, Portland Fashion Week will be divine. TIME magazine has named it “The Best Indie Fashion Week in the U.S.” Even sweeter this year: Eugene designer Vanessa Froehling will be showing her couture designs.
Oregon Coast Jazz Party
Ahoy all you hepcats! Get your bebop fix at the 12th annual Oregon Coast Jazz Party. For the first time ever, the fest of jazz and jazz education will expand from one day to three, featuring nine sessions with 23 musicians (that’s not including the special seven-member Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Ensemble) and the new “Jazz in the Morning” breakfast. In addition to past favorites like pianist Mike Wofford and trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, the Jazz Party will host renowned American jazz pianist Bill Charlap. Events are divided between the Newport Performing Arts Center and the Shilo Inn Suites Hotel. See oregoncoastjazzparty.org.
The BendFilm Festival, now in its 12th year, may be poised to be the next Sundance. Think about it. Both reside in affluent resort towns surrounded by mountains, and BendFilm, for a smaller film festival, is getting buzz. MovieMaker Magazine put it on the 2014 and 2015 “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” list, hailing the town for its vistas and craft beer scene and the fest for its cash prizes, filmmaker residency program and the loads of feedback filmmakers get from industry professionals. While the fest hasn’t released its schedule yet, expect documentaries, shorts and, of course, indie films. Visit bendfilm.org.
Sisters Harvest Faire
A visit to Sisters is a joy in and of itself with its Old West motifs and mountainous landscape. The Sisters Harvest Faire adds even more charm to the scene. Traipse along the streets of downtown Sisters and revel in more than 175 vendors with handcrafted wares to sell. Admission is free, but make sure to partake in Central Oregon’s local food and craft beer scene. Learn more at sisterscountry.com.
Umpqua Brew Fest
The sparkling clean water of the Umpqua River is perfect for brewing beer, and Roseburg-area brewers will convene in October to show off their very best concoctions at the Umpqua Brew Fest. Beer aficionados familiar with the Willamette Valley and Portland brewing scene may be surprised to find out that southern Oregon is bubbling an active beer culture. Activities include a homebrew contest, live music and beer tastings from Roseburg breweries: Old 99 Brewing Co., Two Shy Brewing Co., Draper Brewing and more. Admission is free, and a glass plus four tasting tickets is $10. See umpquabrewfest.info.
Northwest Indian Storytelling Festival
Traditional Native American stories reel the listener in with vivid personifications of nature, and the Northwest Indian Storytelling Festival offers an entire weekend of listening to and telling stories. In its tenth year, the festival features some of the best storytellers of the Northwest as they share cultural narratives passed down through generations. The first day takes place at Portland Community College (705 N. Killingsworth Street), then moves to the Portland Art Museum (1119 S.W. Park Ave.) on the second day. Go to wisdomoftheelders.org for more.
Ashland Culinary Festival
Though Ashland is best known for its Shakespeare and theatrics, it hosts a smashing foodie fest called the Ashland Culinary Festival, which is entering its ninth year. Hosted at the Ashland Hills Hotel and Suites (2525 Ashland St.), the festival is headed by James Beard Best Chef Award winner Cory Schreiber, with judges including this year’s Iron Chef Oregon winner, James Williams of Omar’s Fresh Fish and Steaks. Take in chef competitions, food demos, live entertainment, sampling and more. Tickets max out at $70. Check it out at ashlandchamber.com.
|Lighted boat parade in newport. Photo courtesy Fran Mathews
Lighted Boat Parade
Glittery lights reflect against ocean waters at Newport’s Lighted Boat Parade, an early December event at the Newport Bayfront. Breathe in the cool, salty air and bask in the barking of sea lions to kick off the holiday season while watching a procession of boats decorated with shining lights. And although we’re hesitant to endorse the capitalist madness of the holidays, Newport’s cute shops are a great place to look for gifts. Check it out at discovernewport.com.