Our County Through Time: Festivals, Fairs, and Fun!

By Amy Hughes, PSU Student Volunteer

IMG_0760Festivals are a relaxing and informative way to spend time with your family and friends! They offer so many fun activities like themed races, live music, food booths, and so much more. Luckily Washington County is home to a variety of festivals that you should definitely check out! Pumpkin racing, garlic breakfasts, and hot air balloons — what more could you ask for?

The most well-known and popular event in the area is the Washington County Fair. It’s been around since 1854! It is held every July at the Fair Complex across from the Hillsboro Airport. There is plenty to do with a multitude of concerts, rodeo, and carnival rides! They also hold livestock and agricultural competitions, so dust off your shelf for that brand new fair ribbon!

Another wonderful summer festival to visit is the Festival of Balloons in Tigard every June. The event raises funds for local non-profit groups. It has something for everyone with its Festival of Cars, Night Glow, live music, beer garden, and carnival. The absolute best part: all those beautiful colorful balloons rising into the sky over Tigard. The event is definitely a photographer’s dream!

If you’re a lover of seafood, check out the Crawfish Festival in Tualatin. It is always located on the beautiful little lakefront in Tualatin this weekend, August 4th and 5th!!
It will be located behind Century Hotel, which is owned by OSU star and former NBA Maverick’s player, Charlie Sitten. The festival runs each August and has live music, eating contests, and even pickle ball! Also, the Crawfish Crawl Relay is a great way to kick it off! It takes place as part of the Hood to Coast series and brings lots of great folks out to support the community.

What’s that strong scent in the air? It must be the Elephant Garlic Festival in North Plains! This festival has been going on for twenty years and will take place again this month, August 11th through 13th at the Jessie Mays Community Park in north Plains. There will be live music, a beer and wine garden, and plenty of food and art vendors. And what better way to start the day than with a garlic-themed breakfast?

Moving on from one scrumptiously stinky food to another, make sure to go to the Great Onion Festival in Sherwood. It takes place every October and has been going on for several decades now as well. They have many onion-themed contests including the Stinky Breath Contest and the Best Dang Onion Dish. So bust out your recipe books and prepare for free smells!

Also in Tualatin, make sure to check out the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta. You can have some pre-Halloween fun since it happens near the end of October. Take a photo sitting inside a giant pumpkin and play some pumpkin golf or bowling. If you plan to visit, prepare to see a unique race — people in costume paddling in 1,000 pound pumpkins!

Washington County is a wonderful area rich with diverse history. Go out and enjoy some of these fun festivals with your families and friends! It is super important to support them, first so they can stay running every year, but also to support local history and your own community. Take advantage of your own county events and learn a little about it while you’re at it!

Want to learn more about Washington County History? Return to our History Page