What to Do in Oregon in September
While September might be the most packed month for things to do in Portland, from Labor Day events to the TBA Festival and start of the fall arts season, these last weeks of summer are also a prime time to get out and explore Oregon, from blooming flower fields to coastal car shows to multiple Oktoberfests. Prost!
Swan Island Dahlias
Through Sept 30, 995 NW 22nd Ave, Canby
The dahlia fields at this Canby farm (the family-owned flower business was originally located on Swan Island, long before it was covered with warehouses and truck routes) are open in the months of August and September, with regular lectures, classes, food cart visits, and other ways to make a day of it. The dahlia fields feature almost 40 acres, with more than 370 variations.
Oregon State Fair
Through Sept 5, 2330 17th St NE, Salem
The food! The rides! The concerts with aging stars from the 20th century! Say goodbye to summer with this annual tradition, or just use the fair as an excuse to hit the Keizer In-N-Out Burger since the long-hoped-for Beaverton location just had its application denied by Washington County due to land-use rules and regulations.
Sept 12–17, 1205 SW Court Ave, Pendleton
Dress-up parades, pageants, rodeos, concerts, performances. For 102 years the Pendleton Round-Up has been the festival for celebrating western heritage. 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 10-gallon hat, pilgrim. We’re headin’ to the rodeo.
Mt Angel Oktoberfest
Sept 15–18, downtown Mt Angel
Whip out that lederhosen, grab your dirndl, and definitely take a designated driver to this annual beer fest in the otherwise sleepy town. Some of the harder-partying tents have an admission fee, but you can also just stroll around and pay only for your beer, pretzels, and sausages. A free kindergarten hosts pony rides and face-painting for the very-under-21 crowd.
Bay Area Fun Festival
Sept 16–18, various locations around Coos Bay
No, not the San Francisco Bay Area. This fun fest is in Oregon's version, and it includes a Cruz the Coos car show, the Prefontaine Memorial Run (the legendary distance runner was born in Coos Bay in 1951), a parade, live music, and more.
Corvallis Art Festival
Sept 24–25, Central Park, 650 NW Monroe Ave, Corvallis
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 off the ground. Now the mostly free event is one of the state’s premier festivals, featuring 175 arts and crafts booths, 25 Benton County nonprofit food booths, concerts, arts, street dances, a Fall Festival Run ($20–40, with a free 1K for kids), and more.
Sept 29–Oct 2, various locations in Enterprise and Joseph
Another Oktoberfest, but this Wallowa County event bills itself as Swiss-Bavarian, with more yodeling and alphorn playing than you'll find in Mt Angel, not to mention more mountain views of the area known as Oregon's Alps. It's a much longer drive than Mt Angel, too, so you might want to stay awhile—there's dry camping off the fairgrounds for $20 a night, cash or check.