What to Do in Oregon in July

A country fair, a county fair, an Eastern Oregon rodeo, birds and boats and concerts at the coast, and more

By Michelle Harris and Margaret Seiler

Newberg might be famous for wine, but it's another purple item that takes center stage in July with the Newberg Lavender Trail.

Between the fireworks at the Waterfront Blues Concert over Fourth of July weekend and the Oregon Brewers Festival at the end of the month, a Portlander might find it hard to justify being more than a TriMet ride away from downtown's riverfront. But there are lures pulling us to other corners of the state, too, from a chance to learn about (and maybe help protect) seabirds or hear a beloved Portland pianist play at the coast to rodeos and county fairs.   

Great Cannon Beach Puffin Watch

July 1–4, Cannon Beach 
The Friends of Haystack Rock set up birding scopes on the beach near their favorite sea stack from 8 to 11 a.m. each day of the long holiday weekend to give beachgoers a closer look at the breeding colony of birds who make Haystack Rock their home for the spring and summer. The group also hopes to raise awareness of threats to the species, who have been returning to Haystack Rock in smaller and smaller numbers in recent years—MS

Newberg Lavender Trail

July 1–31, Newberg 
Experience all that is lavender—from ice cream and cocktails to scented soap and spa candles—the whole month of July when the Newberg Lavender Trail welcomes visitors to explore the area’s U-pick farms and local food and retail businesses. And if you're looking to take it up a notch, head over to Newberg’s Chehalem Cultural Center July 9–10 for the annual (and free)  Willamette Valley Lavender Festival & Plein Air Art Show, which features arts and craft booths, food trucks, and paintings by artists that were created “en plein air” during the Oregon Lavender Paint Out. Check the event website for a map and information on participating farms and businesses. —MH

Oregon Country Fair

July 8–10, Veneta 
A little hippie, a little woodsy, a little witchy, when a dash of Renaissance fair, this very only-in-Oregon weekend campout/concert/party/consciousness-raising circle is now in its sixth decade. —MS

Jackson County Fair

July 13–17, Central Point 
Friends, we have lived long enough to see Nelly join the state and county fair circuit. Portlanders could wait till September to catch a live performance of "Ride wit Me," off 2000's Country Grammar, in Salem at the Oregon State Fair, or they can zip down to Southern Oregon to hear "Hot in Herre" on the opening night of the Jackson County Fair in Central Point. It's a dilemma. The fair also has a full slate of carnival rides, 4H and FFA events, and fried eats. —MS

Dory Days

July 16–17, Pacific City 
A celebration of the flat-bottomed beach-launched fishing boats that have been a staple of the fishery around Pacific City, Dory Days features a parade, a fish fry, live music, and kids activities. —MS

Oregon Coast Music Festival

July 16–31, Coos Bay & Charleston 
Beloved longtime Portland pianist, composer, and educator Darrell Grant is among many artists making music in stunning locations including Mingus Park, the Oregon Institute for Marine Biology, and Shore Acres State Park. —MS

Tamkaliks Celebration

July 22–24, Wallowa 
Descendants of the area's first inhabitants gather in the Nez Perce Wallowa Homeland the third weekend in July, with camping, social dance, a horse procession, and a potluck. At one event people are encouraged to wear orange in memory of the missing children of residential boarding schools. —MS

Chief Joseph Days

July 26–31, Joseph 
The rodeo is the main event in this annual small-town fest near Wallowa Lake in Eastern Oregon, but there's also a parade, a junior parade, live music, a 5k, and a Nez Perce gathering with a Friendship Feast and traditional dance contest. —MS