Newport Seafood and Wine Festival
The biggest bash (and one of the largest events of its kind in the country) is late February’s Newport Seafood and Wine Festival (541/265-8801 or 800/262-7844, www.seafoodandwine.com), which features dozens of food booths and scores of Oregon wineries serving up palate pleasers, along with music and crafts, at the South Beach Marina (across Yaquina Bay from the Bayfront).
A huge tent joins the exhibition hall, wherein festival-goers wash down delights from the deep with Oregon vintages. Admission runs $5–15, and the event is open only to the 21-and-over crowd.
Loyalty Days and Sea Fair
The second event of note is Loyalty Days and Sea Fair (541/265-8801 or 800/262-7844, www.loyaltydays.com) in early May, featuring sailboat races, a chicken feed, and a parade. What began during the Depression as the Crab Festival, intended to stimulate the market for Dungeness crab, was recast during the depths of the Red Scare of the 1950s as a public expression of patriotism.
Although that aspect still undergirds the events, as evidenced by visiting naval vessels, it’s really just a big community party stretching over four days, with carnival rides, boat tours, yacht races, bed races, a car show, and a parade.
Ernest Bloch Music Festival
Each summer, the lectures, recitals, and concerts of the Ernest Bloch Music Festival (541/574-0614 information, 541/265-ARTS—541/265-2787 tickets, www.ernestbloch.org) celebrate the life and work of this composer. The festival, which in 2009 appeared to be in transition, usually takes place late June–mid-July at various places around Oregon, including Newport.
Fourth of July
The Fourth of July fireworks display, shot off from the South Beach Marina, is a crowd-pleasing spectacle. Vantage points include Yaquina Bay State Park, the bridge, and the beach.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel