By editorial board • 

Set a summer goal to experience the variety of community events

This just in for the summer: Yamhill is expecting more hot July nights. Sheridan is a small town with big dreams. Carlton has a serious case of the blues on the horizon.

But don’t feel bad for Carlton. It’s good blues to have — those of the live music variety.

These are just a few themes associated with the local summer festival season which will soon be upon us.

We’re not talking about the events targeting specific audiences, the music festivals and food and drink celebrations. We mean the likes of Yamhill Derby Days, Carlton Fun Days, the Dayton Harvest Festival, Sheridan Days, Willamina’s Old-Fashioned Fourth of July, Newberg’s Old-Fashioned Days, McMinnville’s Turkey Rama and, the finale to the season, Oregon’s oldest county fair on the Yamhill County fairgrounds.

These celebrations honor the past as a foundation for the future. They help us reconnect with old friends and encounter new ones. They are driven by a community spirit that draws droves of willing volunteers. 

Festival flavors, sounds and sights can be enjoyed at every event: Families crowding along parade routes to cheer on participants. Shoppers perusing vendor stands for some summer goods. And, of course, the gastronomical pleasures — American classics topped with whatever one can dream up, alongside international fare like gyros, tacos and Chinese noodles. 

While our small town events share some basic similarities, the intricacies of each vary. And they have a way of evolving and expanding over the years.

Carlton’s mini-blues festival and Sheridan’s 3-on-3 basketball tournament are new additions to the festival calendar this year. Other traditions are too good to replace, including Yamhill’s soap box racing and frog jumping contests, Willamina’s logging show and McMinnville’s World’s Largest Turkey Barbecue in Wortman Park. 

We encourage all to participate in at least one community festival that’s new to you.

This may be a tight-knit county, compared to many, but attending various summer festivals can make you feel like a tourist, even though you’re just 20 minutes from home. These events serve as gathering grounds for town citizens young and old to meet, but can also create new cross-county connections. 

Summers are busy times. The events calendar in the Yamhill Valley becomes lengthier every year.

But make sure to spend some time this summer engaging with the roots of our local communities. Everyone is welcome.

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