At this time of year, we’re usually gearing up for Oregon’s end-of-summer and early fall festivals — some of the state’s biggest annual events. We’d be dusting off lederhosen, practicing line dances and readying our palates for some fresh-hop beers.
Of course, that isn’t the case in 2020. Large in-person gatherings have been postponed until next year. It’s disappointing, to say the least, but thankfully there are still ways to support these Oregon festivals. Organizers are getting creative and bringing their celebrations online in fun, unexpected ways. Here are some of the virtual festivals to enjoy this season.
Oregon State Fair, Aug. 28-Sept. 7: All summer long, a Taste of Fair satisfied carnival food cravings with a drive-thru at the fairgrounds every weekend, featuring all the cinnamon-coated elephant ears your heart could desire. Now the Oregon State e-Fair will deliver festivities online, from August 28 through September 7, serving as a sneak preview to next year’s fun. You can even win tickets to the 2021 Oregon State Fair by submitting photos of your memories or nominating friends. Get the inside scoop now through September 7.
Art in the Pearl, Sept. 5-7: Since 1997, the Art in the Pearl Fine Arts & Crafts Festival has celebrated creatives in the North Park Blocks of Portland’s Pearl District. While you won’t be able to peruse artists’ booths in person, the festival will go virtual with artists from across the country putting on educational art demos and music performances. Check out the event’s Facebook page for profiles of the juried artists — freehand metal workers, calligraphers, potters, glassblowers, photographers and more. After all, your house could use some new artwork.
Bandon Cranberry Festival, Sept. 10-23: Did you know cranberries grown on the Southern Oregon Coast account for 99% of the state’s and 5% of the nation’s crop? Bandon is called the cranberry capital of Oregon, with its bogs painting farmlands red in early fall. The 74th annual Bandon Cranberry Festival will host online celebrations that include at-home recipe contests, virtual experiences of past festivals provided by the Bandon Historical Society Museum, and a digital Cranberry Trail listing businesses selling cranberry products. The festival’s Facebook page will host events September 10-23, 2020.
Boring Marathon, Sept. 13-26: Fret not, you can still earn a race shirt and medal for the Boring Marathon, Half-Boring Half-Marathon and Constantly Boring 8K. It’s quite possibly the most quirky race, with the possibility of goats making a virtual appearance. Participants have a week to complete a course in their locale before submitting race results and any photos to the event gallery. Residents of Boring’s sister city of Dull, Scotland, get free registration.
Portland Latin American Film Festival, Sept. 17-Nov. 12: Dive into stories of art, political movements and coming of age from the comforts of your home. While the Hollywood Theatre isn’t yet open for in-person gatherings, the Portland Latin American Film Festival offers digital experiences featuring six films from six countries celebrating the cultural diversity of Latin America. Films are available to purchase for two weeks after each premiere date, with 48 hours to watch after hitting “play.” Check out the lineup and get your tickets online.
Mt. Angel Oktoberfest, Oct. 3: Raise a stein to the Pacific Northwest’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, which ordinarily draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Bavarian-inspired town of Mt. Angel. This year the entertainment will all be streamed online, Saturday, September 19, with performances by brass and polka bands, plus board members competing in an Olympics-worthy competition. Locals can pick up sausage and other food booth offerings, plus imported German beers and wines, at designated locations from September 17-19. Purchase entertainment access and exclusive 2020 merchandise at the event website. Prost!
BendFilm Festival, Oct. 8-11: Dedicated fans of the BendFilm Festival won’t have to travel far for the 17th annual event. This year BendFilm is going digital, streaming 100 independent movies, filmmaker conversations and private mentor sessions all online. In the spirit of inclusion, the festival will also host the First Features program, showcasing new filmmaking talent, and a live pitch session for a BIPOC filmmaker grant. A collection of 11 drive-in screenings is the icing on the cake for locals. Wherever you watch, grab the popcorn from October 8-11, 2020.
Great Columbia Crossing, Oct. 11-17: Ordinarily, the iconic green Astoria-Megler Bridge, stretching from Oregon to Washington, closes to car traffic for the Great Columbia Crossing 10K and 5K run/walk. Though the bridge won’t host athletes this October, event organizers’ passion for running remains strong. That’s why the event is going virtual for 2020, with participants setting the course in their local neighborhoods. Registration includes all the swag you can expect mailed home, complete with a race bib and finisher medal. Start stretching for the virtual race, held October 11-17, 2020.
Reach the Beach, Oct. 11: Cyclists can unite for a good cause, the American Lung Association, with Reach the Beach’s virtual event. Using the event app, participants can choose a route of choice, either self-selected or a recommendation, while competing against friends. Riders gain also a month’s worth of interactive online activities that include trivia nights, DIY tutorials and cooking demonstrations from restaurants along the original route. Of course, the finisher’s medal and 30th anniversary shirt are just some more bragging rights. Gear up for the main event on October 11, 2020.
Eastern Oregon Film Festival, Oct. 22-24: La Grande’s prized cultural event plans to celebrate its 11th anniversary online. Expect yet another inspiring lineup of film and music, this year with interactive panels via video chat and streaming live music performances for the afterparty. Festival membership includes an all-access pass to all the programming, plus members-only events, funding the completion of the renovated Liberty Theatre. It all takes place October 22-24, 2020.
Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Festival: Oct. 25: No need to get into the dirt or rain, the Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Festival is going all online. For decades, the festival has forged community in the Springfield-Eugene area, and now with its first-ever virtual event, people around the world can join the fun. Celebrate the depth and diversity of Oregon mushrooms with livestream talks and demonstrations held on October 25, 2020.