Five Ways to Have a Fabulous Fall in RealOregon

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Contrary to what the rest of the country may think, it doesn’t rain year-round in Oregon. In fact, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. For many of us Oregonians (or, born-again Oregonians such as myself), fall is our favorite season of the year. The warm days often continue through mid-October. The current forecast calls for high 70s for the weekend, making this the perfect time to discover new trails, flavors on local menus, and experience wineries at their busiest time of the year.

Here are our five best ways to have an awesome autumn:

  1. Fall Foliage Hikes, Bikes and Drives
    Sweet Creek Falls by David Putzier

    Sweet Creek Falls by David Putzier

    Sorry New England, but you aren’t the only ones with wicked cool fall color. Our seasonal foliage is AMAZING! Plus, whether you are a hiker, cyclist or just like going for scenic drives, you can see the cornucopia of colors right before your eyes. Hike to Sweet Creek Falls near Florence for a fabulously, fall (and family-friendly) hike. Pedal through a tunnel of color on the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway. For an outstanding drive, head to the Aufderheide Scenic Drive that connects Highways 58 and 126. Be sure to have a full tank of gas before you go. Follow the Oregon Fall Foliage Blog for weekly leaf updates from around the state.

  2. Florence Oktoberfest
    Gemütlichkeit! Munich is moving to the central Oregon Coast on October 4, 2014, for the Florence Oktoberfest. Dig out your lederhosen for authentic German food, bier, wiener dog races, and music.
    Continue reading
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Top Things for Spartan Fans to Do in Eugene

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Welcome to Eugene, Spartan fans! This is the perfect weekend to enjoy the sunshine and explore the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region while you’re here for the highly anticipated University of Oregon / Michigan State University game. If you’re looking for things to do in Eugene and the surrounding areas, here are a few to get you going:

Sweet Cheeks Winery by Paul Rentz

Sweet Cheeks Winery by Paul Rentz

Oregon Wine Country
Less than thirty minutes from the Eugene metro area, you’ll find 17 award-winning wineries. The south Willamette Valley is known of its pinot noir and pinot gris. King Estate, Oregon’s largest winery, overlooks more than 1,000 acres of vineyards, orchards and gardens. The onsite restaurant serves a mouth-watering menu made from estate-grown produce and locally-sourced meats and cheeses. Taste rare vintages not sold in stores at Pfeiffer Winery, a boutique winery whose wine was selected for President Obama’s pre-inaugural dinner. If you’re lucky, winemaker and owner Robin Pfeiffer will be onsite conducting his sought-after,  informal and informational “pinot clinic.”

Have a few hours to spare? The Oregon Coast is worth every minute of the short drive (photo by Gregory Burns)

Have a few hours to spare? The Oregon Coast is worth every minute of the short drive (photo by Gregory Burns)

Cascades and Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is only about an hour west of Eugene, where you can taste the freshest Dungeness crab, gawk at sea lions in America’s biggest sea cave, and take a thrilling dune buggy ride over some of the largest sand dunes in the world. Or, head east to the pristine McKenzie River, offering top-notch fishing and thrilling whitewater rafting excursions. We are also home to numerous waterfalls that are not only breathtaking but easily accessible. Continue reading

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Top Labor Day weekend events

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PrintThis weekend brings two holidays to the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. While Labor Day may be the only official one, many University of Oregon fans deem the first football game of the season as an unofficial holiday. So why not get the celebration started a day early?

With this weekend’s game also comes the first ever Duck Downtown – a Friday night of pre-game parties in downtown Eugene and downtown Springfield. Fans are invited to flock to the downtowns for family-friendly events at stores and restaurants. Special Duck-themed games, prizes and discounts will be offered. Duck Downtown will continue every Friday before home football games throughout the season.

Fans coming from out of town can hop on a special Game Train. Amtrak Cascades is offering a 25 percent discount on round-trip tickets from Seattle and Portland. Game Train ticket holders can ride Lane Transit District’s (LTD) bus system free all weekend. All fans can ride to and from Duck Downtown events on Fridays after 5 p.m.

For more information on Duck Downtown events and the Game Train, visit www.DuckDowntown.com.

The Duck game isn’t the only show in town. Here’s a list of our top things to do this Labor Day weekend.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Wine tasting on the Territorial Wine Trail at Sweet Cheeks Winery

Wine tasting on the Territorial Wine Trail at Sweet Cheeks Winery

Labor Day Weekend on the Territorial Wine Trail
Friday – Monday, South Willamette Valley Wineries
Enjoy beautiful venues, specials on wine, live music and wonderful food throughout the south Willamette wine country all weekend long.

ART

Last Friday ArtWalk in the Whiteaker Neighborhood
Friday, Whiteaker Arts District (Eugene)
Stroll through “The Whit” to see 20 public works of art ranging from wall murals to sculptures. Neighborhood galleries, artist studios, eateries, live music venues and tasting rooms will open their doors to share local exhibits and promote local art. Continue reading

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Welcome home, Bart, Lisa, Marge, Maggie and Homer!

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The Simpsons’ mural was officially unveiled on Monday at the Emerald Art Center in Springfield, Oregon. Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, was on hand for the dedication.

“We have always said that Springfield is every town in America,” Smith told the crowd. “But that’s a dirty lie. Springfield is obviously in Oregon.”

The Simpsons’ creator, Matt Groening, is an Oregon native and has long hinted that the Oregon city was the “real” Springfield.

Take The Unofficial Simpsons Tour.

Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, helps dedicate The Simpsons' mural at Emerald Arts Center

Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson, helps dedicate The Simpsons’ mural at Emerald Art Center in Springfield, Oregon

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Top Things to Do This Weekend: August 22 – 24

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Eugene Celebration Parade by Beau Owens

Eugene Celebration Parade by Beau Owens

Not even the one year hiatus of the Eugene Celebration can rain on the 2014 Eugene Celebration Parade. Queen Bulbus Slimbledore, the newly crowned SLUG Queen, will lead dancers, floats, bands and pets through the streets of Eugene for Saturday’s beloved event. And that’s not the only show in town. Check out the rest of our Top Things to Do This Weekend. Continue reading

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Painting begins on The Simpsons mural in the “real” Springfield

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Small piece of The Simpsons' mural

Small piece of The Simpsons’ mural

Work began today on a mural featuring characters from The Simpsons. The colorful creation will grace the west wall of the Emerald Art Center in Springfield, Oregon, which Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening has alluded IS the “real” Springfield.

The mural is a collaboration by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation print artist Julius Preite and Groening. It is being installed by the Old City Artists, which is led by former University of Oregon football player, Erik Nicolaisen. The design is still a secret, but we are allowed to show you this portion of it with Lisa on a bike and Maggie in a basket.

The mural will be unveiled on Monday, August 25 at 11: 30 a.m. Special guest Yeardley Smith (voice of Lisa Simpson) will be there to celebrate the dedication.

Simpsons Mural Day One by Molly (1)

Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening declares Springfield, Oregon, the REAL Springfield

Simpsons Mural Dedication and Community Party
Monday, August 25, 11:30 a.m.

Emerald Art Center
500 Main St
Springfield, Oregon

Artists begin working on The Simpsons' mural at Emerald Art Center in Springfield, OR

Artists begin working on The Simpsons’ mural at Emerald Art Center in Springfield, OR

Mixing paints for The Simpsons' mural

Mixing paints for The Simpsons’ mural

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Top Things to Do This Weekend: August 14 – 17, 2014

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Creativity reigns supreme this weekend in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. Art shows, demonstrations, tours and classes are available at a variety of locations and events. Enjoy!

SPECIAL EVENTS

McKenzie River Chainsaw Art Festival

McKenzie River Chainsaw Art Festival

McKenzie River Chainsaw Art Festival
Thursday – Sunday, McKenzie Community Track and Field (Vida)
A unique three day event merging a passion for Northwest forestry with art. Using chainsaws, master wood carvers create memorable wood sculptures celebrating McKenzie River heritage. Partake in gold panning, nail driving and a youth track meet.

Xwest Huck Fest
Saturday, Sand Master Park (Florence)
The pros take center stage (or should we say, center dunes) at Sand Master Park and Xwest Clothing Company’s annual pro/am sandboard jump competition sanctioned by Dune Riders International in beautiful Florence on the Oregon Coast.  Admission is free to watch or compete.

Kids Create! Eugene
Saturday, Hilton Eugene and the Hult Center for the Performing Arts (Eugene)
If you have kids, this is the place to be on Saturday. Kids Create! Eugene is an all new youth arts event held in conjunction with the Create! Eugene festival. Come and sing, drum, draw, paint – create! Artists and youth arts groups will lead hands-on workshops. Youth performing arts groups will perform every half hour featuring theater, dance, music and circus arts. The entire event is absolutely free! Continue reading

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International Geocaching Day

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Saturday, August 16 might as well be a holiday in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. It’s the day that the whole world celebrates one of our favorite ways to explore our area – geocaching.

Cape Perpetua (aka cache #36 on the Florence Edition) by Mike Shaw

Cape Perpetua (cache #36 on the Florence Edition) by Mike Shaw

Geocaching uses global positioning systems (GPS) units or a smartphone app to guide you to cool places where you’ll find hidden treasures with trinkets inside. Take a trinket and leave one behind for the next geocacher. It’s that easy!

We launched the Eugene, Cascades & Coast GeoTour in October of 2012 with the hopes of leading visitors to our very favorite and sometimes lesser-known places from the west crest of the Cascade Mountains to Florence on the Oregon Coast. Continue reading

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Top Things to Do This Weekend: August 7 – 11, 2014

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This weekend is all about major concerts at the region’s best indoor and outdoor venues. Tom Petty, ZZ Top and Bruno Mars will all headline shows. Junction City celebrates the 54th Annual Scandinavian Festival starting Thursday.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
Thursday, Matthew Knight Arena (Eugene)
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers take center stage at Matthew Knight Arena with special guest Steve Winwood. Tickets are still available for the show. Buy tickets before it’s too late.

SLUG Queen Competition and Coronation of 2014
Friday, Downtown Eugene
Join the crowd in this long-standing local tradition, the crowning our 32nd SLUG Queen! Come meet the Old Queens, Raining Queen Professor Doctor Mildred Slugwak Dresselhaus, Emcee Queen Bananita Sluginsky and Celebrity Judges Laura Lee Laroux from Silver Lining Productions and KEZI’s Sean Cuellar! Bring your own chair and find the best spot to enjoy this family friendly evening event.

Junction City Scandinavian Festival

Junction City Scandinavian Festival

Junction City Scandinavian Festival
Thursday – Sunday, Junction City
Downtown Junction City transforms into Scandinavia for this four-day event. Watch folk dancing and demos, shop for Scandinavian handcrafts such as hardanger embroidery, bobbin lace, and rosemaling and try traditional delicacies like aebleskivers and Swedish meatballs. Each day celebrates a different Scandinavian country. Admission and entertainment are free.

Eugene/Springfield Pride Festival
Saturday, Alton Baker Park (Eugene)

Join in the fun and enjoy live music, vendors, craft beer and lots of activities to engage, enlighten and celebrate local diversity.

ART

Christy Wyckoff: Pictures
Thursday – Saturday, The Gallery at the Watershed (Eugene)
Christy Wyckoff has been a working artist for over 40 years. Wyckoff’s images for this exhibit feature themes on the exploration of landscape, focused on the intersection between abstraction and representation. Wyckoff has had solo exhibitions at various galleries in Portland, Oregon; Gravura Brasileira in São Paulo, Brazil and the Museu da Gravura Cidade de Curitiba in Curitiba, Brazil.

Create! Eugene
All August, Various locations around Eugene and Springfield 
During the month of August, Create! Eugene will feature a variety of artists’ workshops and exhibitions in a variety of locations throughout the City of Eugene. Local residents and visitors are encouraged to attend these informative and exciting arts workshops. Highlighting Eugene’s vibrant and celebrated cultural scene, this month-long festival presents an opportunity to engage and enhance awareness and support for all creative endeavors.

CONCERTS

Mohawk Valley Music Festival
Friday – Sunday, Springfield
The inaugural Mohawk Valley Music Festival will present a multi-media, funky, digital, earthy, family friendly three day music festival in Marcola, twenty-five minutes east of Springfield. Weekend camping passes or single day passes for Saturday or Sunday are available. Featured artists will include Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and Nahko and Medicine for the People.

ZZ Top & Jeff Beck
Sunday, Cuthbert Amphitheater (Eugene)
Rock legends ZZ Top and Jeff Beck co-headline this amazing concert at the Cuthbert Amphitheater in Eugene. ZZ Top hold the undisputed title of being the longest running major rock band with the founding members intact and in 2004 the Texas trio was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jeff Beck was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 as a solo artist and performer.

Bruno Mars – Moonshine Jungle World Tour
Monday, Matthew Knight Arena (Eugene)
Renowned singer/songwriter/producer/musician Bruno Mars brings his blockbuster “Moonshine Jungle World Tour” to Eugene on Monday.

SPORTS

Scandia Run 10K, 5K and Scandia Junior 1K
Saturday, Junction City
The 40th Annual Scandia Run in beautiful Junction City presents a challenging course for adult and junior teams. The 10K starts at 8 a.m. and is run on a USATF certified course. The 5K starts at 8:15 a.m., and the Scandia Junior 1K starts at 7:45 a.m. This competitive race is open to teams only, but all are encouraged to watch and cheer!

For even more events and things to do, visit our event calendar.

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Top Things to Do This Weekend: July 31 – August 3, 2014

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Art aficionados, craft beer lovers, rock ‘n’ rollers, sports fans and cyclists – there’s something for each of you on this weekend’s calendar of events. Check it out!

SPECIAL EVENTS

Downtown Eugene’s First Friday ArtWalk
Friday, Downtown (Eugene)
Visit various art galleries and venues at the August First Friday ArtWalk. Meet at 5:30 p.m. at Harlequin Beads and Jewelry for a guided tour. Stops also include a pop-up stop in Kesey Square for Create! Eugene, featuring live music and plein air painting demos.

Oakridge Keg & Cask Festival

Oakridge Keg & Cask Festival

Additional stops include a live spray paint demos at The Octagon. And, Urban Waxx will be projecting “Light on Life,” a photographic exploration by Portland artist Mark Sacks.

Oakridge Ukulele Festival
Friday – Sunday, Oakridge Lodge & Guest House (Oakridge)
The Fourth Annual Oakridge Ukulele Festival features ukulele classes, jam sessions, instructor performances, an open mic and a vendors marketplace. In the uptown neighborhood of Oakridge, a group of nationally acclaimed instructors will teach 22 workshops over the course of the weekend. The schedule includes a free beginner’s class on Friday afternoon plus workshop choices for the intermediate and experienced player.

Oakridge Keg & Cask Festival
Saturday, Brewers Union Local 180 (Oakridge)
Join the festivities in Oakridge as you enjoy a Victorian pint of refreshing, handcrafted beer. Bask in the amber glory of a cool pint of ale as you take in the scenery at the forest foothills of the central Cascades. Don’t forget to stamp your Eugene Ale Trail passport for the bonus prize!

Sand Sculpting Demonstration at Sand Master Park

Sand Sculpting Demonstration at Sand Master Park

Sand Sculpting Demonstration
Saturday, Sand Master Park (Florence)
Learn how to sand sculpt from the pros. Expert sculptor Jesse Austen will share techniques for creating epic sand-castles in this hands-on demonstration. While you’re there, take a sandboarding lesson at the world’s first sandboard park.

ART

Create! Eugene
Starts Friday – and continues through August 31 (Eugene)
Create! Eugene kicks off on Friday and continues through the entire month of August. It includes more than 100 hands-on workshops at various locations throughout Eugene and Springfield, including painting, dance, photography, cartooning, hip hop and poetry. Highlighting Eugene’s vibrant and celebrated cultural scene, the festival presents an opportunity to engage and enhance awareness and support for all creative endeavors.

CONCERTS

Rod Stewart + Santana Summer Tour
Thursday, Matthew Knight Arena (Eugene)
Rod Stewart and Santana, two of music’s most influential hit makers and dynamic live performers, joined forces to embark on an 18-concert North American tour this summer. These legendary musical trailblazers have helped define the sound of popular music for the last five decades through their combined love of rock, soul, world rhythms, funk, jazz and blues.

Oregon Festival of American Music (OFAM) – Son of Hollywood: The Songbook at the Movies, 1940 – 1959
Friday – and continuing through Sunday, August 10, John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts (Eugene)
The Oregon Festival of American Music’s summer series will focus on the 1940s and 1950s, as the Hollywood film industry developed its relationships with music in the face of changing tastes and popular culture.

SPORTS

Eugene Emeralds

Eugene Emeralds

Eugene Emeralds vs. Everett Aquasox
Thursday – Sunday, P.K. Park (Eugene)
Thursday is Animal House Night, so wear your toga to the ballpark. Saturday is Levi’s mystery giveaway night. Watch the game for hints! Sunday is Baseball Card Giveway. The deck features players from the 2014 season.

Tour de Lane Bike Rally
Friday – Sunday, Richardson Park Campground (Junction City)
This fun and exciting three day, non-competitive bike rally offers three supported rides daily that will take riders to the foothills of the Cascades, through Oregon Wine Country, and by lakes and rivers. Included in one of the rides is the Bike Builders’ Tour, where riders will tour the facilities of local bike manufacturers throughout the area.

For even more events and things to do, visit our event calendar.

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