What to Do in Oregon in September

The Oregon State Fair, Pendleton Round-Up, yoga among the dahlias, and other fun around the state.

By Portland Monthly Staff September 3, 2021

Fall brings all the best things: corndogs at the annual state fair, street art celebrations in Corvallis and all manner of pumpkin-flavored items. Here are the fall events on our not-to-be-missed list.

Oregon State Fair

Through September 6, 2330 17th St Ne, Salem, OR, $8 adults, $6 children, $1 (seniors 65 and older) 

The Oregon State Fair—and all of us, for what it’s worth—really wants you to get a vaccine, so much so that, in partnership with Salem Health, it is hosting a vaccine clinic. Fairgoers who receive a vaccine at the fair will receive a free ticket to return to this year’s festival another day, or even in 2022. Expect traditional fair activities, as well as a few special events, such as Dia de la Familia, Oregon Harvest, a Canyon Rising Benefit Concert, and more. Masks are required.

Pendleton Round-Up

September 11—18; 1205 SW Court Ave, Pendleton; price varies on event, see website for more information

Dress-up parades, pageants, rodeos, concerts, performances. For 101 years the Pendleton Round-Up has been the festival for celebrating western heritage. This year, expect roping, barrel racing, Happy Canyon night shows, a Junior American Indian beauty contest, outdoor cowboy breakfasts, and more. Strap on your boots, fix your bolo tie, and dust off that ten-gallon hat, pilgrim. We’re headin’ to the rodeo.

Mid-Autumn Lantern Viewing Evenings

7—9 p.m., September 17—19, Lan Su Chinese Garden, $45 general, $35 members, $15 children (3-11)

The gardens of Lan Su in Old Town are adorned with colorful hanging lanterns during this annual Mid-Autumn festival, considered one of the most important Chinese holidays for family reunions. As such, Lan Su offers family friendly activities during the evening lantern viewings, including paper lantern making and Mid-Autumn story time, plus an illuminated lion dance performance by the Portland Lee’s Association Lion Dance Team. The events will be operated with limited capacity, and masks are required.

Dragonslayer Walk

9 a.m., September 18, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, $40 adults, $20 children (5-12)

Hosted by the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation, the 5K Dragonslayer Walk is non-competitive and non-timed, created to honor sarcoma patients, survivors and those who have passed away from the rare bone and soft tissue cancer. The walk raises funds for programs supported by the Northwest Sarcoma Foundation, and walkers are invited to create a team or walk individually. Rain or shine, the walk will happen. 

Corvallis Art Festival

Sept 25 & 26, Central Park, 650 NW Monroe Ave, free

What’s the old saying? Ask and ye shall receive. It’s kind of what happened here back in the ‘70s. Corvallis residents pestered the city with questions about why the city didn’t have its own art festival. Well, persistence was key, and in 1973 they got the very first Corvallis Art Festival. Now it’s one of the state’s premiere festivals, featuring 175 arts and crafts booths, 25 Benton County nonprofit food booths, concerts, arts, street dances, and more. For the runners: Don’t miss out on the Fall Festival Run.

Swan Island Dahlias

Through September 30, 995 NW 22nd Ave, Canby, OR, price varies 

Sadly, the 2021 Indoor Display during the annual Dahlia Festival at Swan Island Dahlias has been canceled yet again. BUT! They are still host a non-traditional version of the festival throughout the months of August and September. This month, expect events such as a dahlia care lecture (September 25), farmers markets (every Friday), art events with Board & Brush (September 18 & 19), yoga (September 11 & 19), and much more. The dahlia fields feature almost 40 acres of more than 370 variations, and are open for strolling through September.

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