By editorial board • 

Create community by showing up, or helping out

Creating community requires three main elements: time, space and people.

Summertime in Yamhill County is the perfect time to gather, and numerous events and locations stand ready. What they require, to be called “community events,” is community. Gatherings come, and gatherings go; for the most part, ones in Yamhill County either endure year after year (pandemic years notwithstanding) or return in revised or rebuilt fashion thanks to someone’s commitment to the idea, and others’ willingness to chip in.

The “festival season” started last week in Sheridan with Hometown Days, as that community put together a vibrant set of gatherings. Carlton with its Fun Days is next up, Friday and Saturday, June 23-24. Carlton is an excellent example of cross-over participation, as the Willamina Kustom group from the high school revs up the car show. The best part of any parade, car display or civic exhibition is when locals get involved; the next best thing is when folks come from neighboring towns to take part.

The News-Register’s annual compilation of summer activities can be found in this edition of the paper. McMinnville gets going with the fourth-annual Dine Out(side) program on Saturday, with expanded music on the street this year, and Willamina and Lafayette are poised to provide diversions on July 4. Fireworks in Willamina will be the only such show in the county on Independence Day this year. Along with Willamina’s pyrotechnics will be a parade, logging show and plenty more. Lafayette, after a year’s hiatus, returns with a variety of midday fun at Perkins Park, courtesy of the Lafayette Community Activities Team.

In McMinnville, summer events formally start on Saturday, June 24, with the city Parks and Recreation Summer Fun kickoff, open to all, at 10 a.m. at Discovery Meadows Park, the west McMinnville amenity that features picnic areas, basketball courts, a skate park, walking paths and plenty of green space. The annual Parks Concert series begins Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Upper City Park with music by Big Bad Beat, and art in the park goes from 6-7 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, at Wortman Park. These events showcase three of the city’s main open spaces.

The McMinnville festival landscape has seen some change with the departure of Turkey Rama, at least for now, and the addition of the Lions Club’s well-received Taste of Mac on June 10. Wine Country Pride events have gained a higher profile in recent years, and Pride Month features the Queer Wine Fest in Dayton on Sunday. (Notably, this month the McMinnville Police Department featured a brightly colored Pride display in its second-floor special events window overlooking Second Street.)

Yamhill hosts its annual Derby Days with a parade, park activities and derby races on Friday and Saturday, July 14-15. (A roadside sign on Highway 14 bills it as “July 15th – 14th” — truly an attention-getter) and Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde invites the community to the annual Veterans Powwow on July 7-9.

Recent cases of community events that came off well included the expanded Camas Festival at Linfield University in May when, for the second year, the university, Confederated Tribes and Greater Yamhill Watershed Council pooled their resources. Oregon Brews & BBQ at the Yamhill County Fairgrounds last week was a welcome revival of a tradition that had to go away for a few years. Looking ahead, Cruising McMinnville on Aug. 26 is all free. The Chamber of Commerce vaunts a local favorite, Lemonade Day on Aug. 19 for young entrepreneurs, and has also announced plans for a new attraction Sept. 8-10 — Brews, Bites and Bands.

In every case, it takes a dedicated group of individuals to put on these events. Veteran hands are always joined by new blood, people willing to step up and make things happen. Sometimes the events themselves are new, and succeed thanks to volunteers, as witnessed by the Lions event. And no, we are not forgetting the Yamhill County Fair & Rodeo, back with more energy than ever, Aug. 2-5.

Volunteers can be critical to an event’s success. Many organizations have had to either call things off or turn to paid help to continue events, and that is an understandable part of the cycle of things. Nothing ever stays the same, and those invested in an event must be willing to adapt and commit themselves in different ways.

But is also true that rare is the community gathering that does not depend, to some degree, on volunteers. An hour or two shift helping out at a fest can be a huge boost to organizers. This year, consider answering the call.