By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: Locals enjoying event-rich August

August … What a month!

Like June and July, August is fulfilling promises made when The Oregonian compiled a statewide calendar of summer events with this introduction:

“Summer events have come roaring back after two years of pandemic-related shutdowns. Plenty of your longtime favorites are here, and there’s a sprinkling of newcomers as well … If you’re ready for summer, the summer of 2022 is ready for you.”

That nonstop event-fest has featured music festivals and parades; county fairs and horse shows; kites and volleyball on the beach; river floats, fireworks and auto shows; stylized community festivals; vineyards and breweries; art fairs and theater; open-air markets and winemakers’ dinners.

Locally, August continues to be the most event-rich time in memory.

August arrived one day after conclusion of the International Pinot Noir Celebration and the Newberg Old Fashioned Festival, ushered in by the Yamhill County Fair and the Rock of Ages Fun Festival.

The most successful new activity (since 2020) is downtown McMinnville’s pandemic-inspired Dine Out(Side), now in its third year. The three-day foodie happening every weekend started June 24 and ends on Oct. 2.

August is far from over: Bounty of Yamhill County activities run tonight through Sunday, the Oregon International Air Show roars into town this weekend, and Harvest Fest is tomorrow. You can experience Cruising McMinnville a week from Saturday, listen to Sounds of Summer a week from Sunday, and skip over to Salem that week for an early run of the Oregon State Fair.

And just when you might think it’s over, just three days into September, the Walnut City Music Festival opens at a new venue on the Evergreen Museum campus.

As people from all walks of live are drawn together, these events deserve a warning: Despite relaxation of most masking, social-distancing and quarantine requirements, the COVID virus continues to lurk among us.

This week, Oregon reported about 1,000 new cases, 14 new deaths and 328 people hospitalized with COVID. The state’s total case count is approaching 900,000, but actually is much higher with so many milder cases unreported. Many vaccinated/boosted people still get punishing COVID symptoms, and many people remain at-risk for more serious illness.

So, by all means, enjoy this year’s expansive calendar of summer events — we’ve all earned a break from more than two years of COVID lockdowns and ordeals. But relaxed rules don’t mean the pandemic is over, and having fun doesn’t have to preclude need to preclude common sense precautions.

Meanwhile, Party-on!

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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