Summer Fun (on a Budget) in the Willamette Valley from Lebanon to Philomath!
by Hannah Darling & Sarah Nieminski
-The Strawberry Festival in Lebanon is a local, longstanding favorite. In fact, this will be their 108th year. It all started in 1909 as a celebration of and draws crowds from all over. Entry is always free to this festival and there are many aspects to enjoy— a firework show, a complimentary piece the World’s Largest Strawberry Shortcake, parades, and just relaxing on the lawn and enjoying the entertainment on the main stage. The Strawberry Festival is held during the first full weekend in June every year at Cheadle Lake Park in Lebanon and is a great family event.
-If you enjoy hot air balloons, planes, and local vendors selling handmade items, then you won’t want to miss out on bringing the whole family to the Northwest Art and Air Festival. in Timber Linn Park in Albany. This year it will be held August 25th-27th. You can come watch balloons lift off at 6:45am each morning, enjoy walking through the booths later on in the day, or come for a concert in the evening. Night Glow on Friday evening is a favorite among NW Art and Air goers. Hot air balloons are fired up in patterns and sequences around you as you sit in the grass.
–Movies at Monteith begins July 21st! Bring your blankets or lawn chairs to Monteith Park in Albany and enjoy a free family friendly movie on the giant inflatable screen. If you want snack, there are vendors available with affordable food options, or you can pick up something on your way or pack something from home.
-Head out to Willamette Speedway on Saturday nights for an exciting family evening! There are over a hundred cars every Saturday night from April to September and kids 5 and under are always free and family pricing is available. Willamette Speedway is located just off of exit 228 on I-5.
–River Rhythms is a summer must-attend in Albany. Come out for a free concert in Monteith Park on Thursday nights and see big names and a great show! Past entertainers include Andy Grammar, Uncle Kracker, and Three Dog Night. This year the lineup will feature Pablo Cruise, John Michael Montgomery, Matt Nathanson, the Young Dubliners, MJ Love, and Tracy Lawrence. Concerts begin July 6th, and shows start at 7pm.
-Since 2013, Midsummer Arts has provided a place for families to come out and see a showcase of the best performers in theater, dance, and vocal talent in the Linn/Benton area. This festival of the performing arts is free to anyone who wants come and is always on the first Saturday in August in Monteith Park. Come out on August 5th from 10am-7pm this year and enjoy the show!
-Come celebrate the summer at the 5th annual SAGE Concert Series at the Starker Arts Park Amphitheater in Corvallis. Supported exclusively by local businesses with all proceeds benefitting the educational community SAGE garden, this event is open to all ages. The first concert of the 2017 series is scheduled for Thursday July 13th at 6pm. Bring a chair or blanket and relax (with a great local food and drink selection!) as local musicians put on a show the whole family will enjoy.
-For a fun family evening out this summer bring a picnic blanket down to Philomath’s Music in the Park in Philomath City Park every third Thursday evening. This family friendly event is free and food and refreshments are available. June 15th features the Hill Top Big Band from 6-8pm. For more information and to view the complete schedule visit their website.
-For only $6 a ticket, you can’t go wrong taking the family to a Corvallis Knights game. Each game has a fun special theme such as Country Cowbell, Father’s Day, Star Wars Night and even “Halfway to Christmas” featuring Santa! With home games several times a week throughout the summer, they provide a great opportunity to show some local pride and spend quality family time out of the house.
-Every Wednesday morning July through September bring the whole family to the SAGE garden in Corvallis for Family Mornings in the Garden. From 10am-noon there are unique garden-themed craft projects and activities, as well as fresh snacks straight from the garden. These events are welcome to all ages and no registration is required. $10 a family.
-What is more fun than reading aloud? Reading to a dog! The R.E.A.D Dogs program is an opportunity for beginning and intermediate readers to practice reading aloud to friendly therapy dogs and their handlers. A great way to make summer reading more exciting. Join them 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month at the Corvallis Library. This program is free for kids ages 4-10. For more information contact Youth Reference at 541-766-6794.
-For those looking for fun, challenging family athletic opportunities around town this summer check out Family Climb Time at Dixon Recreation Center on OSU’s campus. Parents pay an affordable community rate and then $3 a child ages 0-15. With parent supervision and belay, kids can take advantage of this one-of-a-kind indoor rock climbing facility. Visit their website for more information and complete climbing schedule.
-On those hot sticky summer days the Osborne Aquatic Center is the place to be. With Toddler Time (for children 6 and under) on weekdays from 11:30 to 1 and Open Recreation for
all ages through the afternoon, the pool is a great place to cool down, get exercise and have fun. Osborne also offers swimming lessons and specialty classes.
-Downtown Corvallis’ annual Red White and Blue Riverfront Festival takes place on July 3rd and 4th along the riverfront between Van Buren and Monroe Avenue in Corvallis. The event includes live music, local food and drink vendors, kids activities (including a live magic show!), craft booths and an after-dusk firework display. There is also an Anyone Can Join 4th of July parade starting at Central Park and ending at the festival. For more details and to check out the 2017 musical line up visit.
-To experience the unique, vibrant local art scene this summer, try the Corvallis Arts Walk in downtown Corvallis. The event takes place on the third Thursday of each month and is welcome to all ages. Corvallis galleries, studios and art-related businesses host exhibits, events and craft demonstrations throughout the evening. Participating locations include The Arts Center, the OSU Fairbanks Gallery and Cyrano’s Bookbinding and Art Supplies. To pick up a walking map of the event, visit one of these locations or visit their website.
-The Whiteside Theatre in Corvallis hosts a family movie night most Wednesday nights throughout the summer at 7pm. Support this local historic theater while enjoying a classic film experience on the big screen. May’s films included The Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music. For a list of upcoming events and to see the schedule for June visit their website.