Our Charming Annual Small-Town Events and Festivals

Mar 4, 2024 | Family Fun, Uncategorized

Our quaint coastal towns are home to some of the region’s most unique and charming annual small-town events. From hosting headliners, saluting our whimsical museums, and celebrating our diverse wildlife, our yearly affairs commemorate a few of the things that make our area spectacular. While capturing them all is impossible, we’ve compiled a short list of experiences you should put on your calendar.

Sou’Wester Arts Week – March

With over thirty performances, installations, and studio tours, the Sou’Wester Arts Week brings together talented artists and musicians for a week-long creative extravaganza: live music, multidisciplinary art exhibits, dance, comedy, and more take over the eclectic grounds.

2. Annual Small-Town Events - Museum - credit Jeremiah Rounds

Image Courtesy of: Jeremiah Rounds

Museum Month – May

As Spring warms into Summer, we prepare for one of our favorite small-town events during May. Museum Month in Pacific County is a month-long celebration that spotlights some of our one-of-a-kind Pacific Northwest museums. Whether you’re fascinated by history, carriages, art, or kites, the museums in our towns offer a little something for everyone.

3. Annual Small-Town Events - Razor Clam

Long Beach Razor Clam and Shellfish Festival – May

The beloved Long Beach Razor Clam and Shellfish Festival is one of our most popular annual small-town events. Since 1940, this event has been a cornerstone celebration of our celebrated shellfish. Visitors have come for four days of bargain-hunting good times for over twenty years. Live music, vendors, food trucks, beer gardens, and razor clam digging lessons fill the weekend. The centerpiece of the event is the early anticipated clam chowder contest. Restaurants and amateurs prepare all year to vie for the coveted Best Chowder trophy and bragging rights. Stop for a selfie at one of the world’s largest frying pans and our famous giant razor clam.

World’s Longest Garage Sale – May

Bargain and treasure hunters swarm the region for a shopper’s paradise! The World’s Longest Garage Sale is one of the coveted annual small-town events for all its prized pickings! For over twenty years, visitors have come for four days of bargain-hunting good times. Garage sales will pepper the peninsula from Long Beach to Oysterville. The event is organic, so careful spotters must keep their eyes peeled for the telltale signs and good deals.

4. Annual Small-Town Events - PCRF

Pacific Coast Running Festival – May

Health and wellness meet the ultimate weekend at the shore in the yearly Pacific Coast Running Festival. The schedule includes six events, including the Sand Marathon, where you’ll run on the beach with the ocean cheering you on. Feel the spray of the Pacific Ocean on your face as your sneakers dig into the sand. You’ll run along the sea’s edge toward Beard’s Hollow, taking in the glorious views.

5. Annual Small-Town Events - Pride Festival

Pacific County Pride – June

In our towns, everyone is welcome. We celebrate Pacific County Pride all year long, but especially in June. Joyful, multi-day events will be held in both Long Beach and Raymond. Follow the rainbow to our parades, live music, and local vendors. Drag Brunch will be held at the Chinook Roadhouse. Enjoy a family-friendly Drag Show at the historic Raymond Theatre. Bring your loved ones, your kids, and even your pooch for the most colorful event of the year.

Saturday Markets – Summer

Summertime sunshine in Pacific County signals the return of our adored markets around our coastal cities. Every Saturday from May to September, catch the Ilwaco Saturday Market, where local vendors, artists, and farmers set up shop on the charming waterfront walk. The pop-up vendors join the galleries, restaurants, and quaint shops that comprise the working Port of Ilwaco. Roam the sidewalks to find artisan crafts, trinkets, and fine art.

In Raymond, you can enjoy the Market at the Riverfront Park from June through September. Local artisans, baked goods, fresh produce, and local flowers are set up steps from the Willapa River.

Waikiki Beach Concert Series in Cape Disappointment State Park – Summer

Our Waikiki Beach Concert Series is one of the coolest annual small-town events we host. During the Summer, over six nights, regional musicians take to the outdoor amphitheater stage in Cape Disappointment State Park. Live music delights guests, as a backdrop of surging waves keeps time to the harmonies. Performances are family-friendly and free, provided you have a Washington State Parks Discovery Pass.

6. Annual Small-Town Events - Fireworks

Fourth of July Festivals – July

What’s more quintessential than traditional Fourth of July annual small-town events? Picturesque main streets are awash with red, white, and blue. Parades, picnics, and fireworks bring the community and visitors together to celebrate the birth of a nation. With celebrations spanning the region, you will have your patriotic pick of places to go.

Old Fashioned Tokeland 4th of July Parade & Picnic

The hometown vibe of this annual event is charming. Since 1976, it has been a community celebration. Water balloon tosses, sack races, family picnics, and field games combine with an old-fashioned city parade full of colorful floats, cars, and marchers. Throw down your picnic blanket and enjoy live music. Bring the whole family to experience the nostalgic fun.

Fireworks at the Port of Ilwaco

The beautiful waterfront at the Port of Ilwaco is home to the annual fireworks show. As the sun sinks and dusk settles in, you’ll experience spectacular illumination over the boat slips.

12th Annual Firecracker 5k Run/Walk in Ilwaco

Sprint into July with the 12th Annual Ilwaco Firecracker Run. Held on the first Saturday of July at the Port of Ilwaco, this event is multi-species! The most patriotic person and four-legged friend compete for prizes and bragging rights, including best dressed.

Ocean Park Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade

Celebrate the return of the Ocean Park Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade. Each year comes with a new theme, and this year is no exception. “Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow – Creating Memories for a Lifetime” honors the area’s history and the love of community. Floats, decorated cars, bands, and more will entertain spectators on the 1.9-mile route. Bring a picnic and your family for charming memory-making.

Long Beach Fireworks Display

We must include our Fourth of July beach-side fireworks display in this list. There’s something special about sitting on our famous 28-mile beach, next to neighbors and friends, and watching the night sky come to life with sparkles. We tell our guests to make a wish on the fizzling embers as they twinkle out over the sea.

Music in the Gardens – July

Our Music in the Gardens tour is one of our most enchanting annual small-town events. On one day in July, private gardens open their gates for intimate, live music performances. As the music plays, attendees can roam the stunning backyards in our coastal communities. This exclusive garden party is a fundraiser for the Water Music Society. Music lovers of all ages are welcome.

7. Annual Small-Town Events - Sandsations_3

Sandsations – July

Grab your shovels and head to the annual Sandsations event for four days of seashore good times. The festival draws sand sculptors from around the world. Since 1982, these beachy artisans have amazed guests with their intricate sculptures. This photo-worthy event has towering creations that can topple over 15 feet. Bring your sunblock and inspiration. The event is open to builders of all ages and skill levels.

8. Annual Small-Town Events - Rodeo - credit Mike Penney

Image Courtesy of: Mike Penney

77th Annual Long Beach Rodeo – July

Saddle up for one of our hootin’ and hollerin’ annual small-town events. Summertime in Pacific County means the return of the annual Long Beach Rodeo. Prepare for two days of barrel races, bull riding, roping, wrastlin’, and rip-roaring festivities. Enjoy a Cowboy Breakfast and a downtown parade. Vendors, food stands, and a beer garden will accompany the high-energy performances.

Willapa Harbor Festival – August

The Willapa Harbor Festival returns to River Front Park in Raymond for another summertime soiree. The multi-day event will feature a roving line-up of regional talent that can carry significant names. Past performers have included bands with former members of Nirvana. Events will spill over throughout the city, including parades, pop-up performances, a beer garden, flea markets, a fireman’s breakfast, and a bounce house for the kids. If you’re a music lover, this annual small-town event will be your jam.

9. Annual Small-Town Events - Woodfest

Tokeland Woodfest – August

What do chainsaws, a beer garden, and live music have in common? They’re all part of the Tokeland Woodfest. One of our annual small-town art events, Woodfest, is a party centered around the incredible talents of local wood carvers and artists. Watch live chainsaw carvings, stroll through vendor booths, and enjoy beautiful Pacific Northwest summer days.

10. Unique Festivals - WSIKF - credit Nellie Hux

Image Courtesy of: Nellie Hux

Washington State International Kite Festival – August

Imagine the sky of one of the world’s longest beaches fluttering with hundreds of colorful kites as far as the eye can see. Picture seven days of wild kiting competitions, live music, fabulous vendors, daily workshops, and featured fliers. The Washington State International Kite Festival (WSIKF) has whipped the heavens with fierce Rokkaku battles, performed aerial pirouettes of synchronized kite ballets, covered the sky with mass ascensions, and made it glow with lighted night flights. As one of the most popular annual small-town events, WSIKF draws hundreds of thousands of attendees annually.

Jazz and Oysters Festival – August

What is more quintessential Pacific Northwest than the combination of live music and the celebration of oysters? The annual Jazz and Oysters Festival returns to the Port of Peninsula for a day of fun and food. Enjoy culinary delights, including our famous grilled oysters. Wet your whistle in the beer garden. Bring your leashed pup and lawn chair to enjoy smooth local jazz surrounded by friends.

Come and Play on Labor Day – September

For over six decades, the Come and Play on Labor Day event has been one of the most cherished annual small-town events in our region. As one of the few activities that can shut down a highway, this event’s parade takes place on the famous US-101. Enjoy duck races, multiple concerts, a baseball tournament, a pole walk, a poker festival, and a salmon derby. Past events have been topped off with a laser light show or fireworks display.

11. Annual Small-Town Events - Rod Run

Beach Barons 40th Annual Rod Run – September

Rev your engines for one of the most classic annual small-town events you’ve ever seen! The Beach Barons Car Club’s Annual Rod Run is celebrating its 40th year! They have been cruising the peninsula for four decades and show no signs of slowing down. With thousands of cars and more than 7,000 spectators, this classic car cruise is a showstopper. This event is a must if you’re a classic car owner or simply an enthusiast!

Wings Over Willapa Festival – September

The beloved, multi-day birding festival is one of our nature-loving favorite annual small-town events. Wings Over Willapa happens in the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and throughout the Long Beach Peninsula. Wildlife and birding enthusiasts of all ages flock to the event for days filled with tours, workshops, and citywide activities.

Annual Northwest Garlic Festival – September

Celebrate sea, sun, and garlic at the 42nd Northwest Garlic Festival! Ocean Park welcomes garlic fans from miles around. Vendors, live music, entertainment, kids’ activities, and garlic galore come together for two days of fun. Keep your eyes peeled for the festival’s unofficial mascots, Mr. and Mrs. Garlic! And grab yourself a scoop of garlic ice cream or a Maple Garlic Sticky Bun.

Hispanic Heritage Celebration – September and October

Visit downtown Raymond during several weekends in September and October to enjoy the Hispanic Heritage Celebration. The towns of South Bend and Raymond have one of the largest Hispanic populations in the county. The events celebrate their contributions to the communities and offer an invitation for neighbors to join in the fun. Music, parades, and vendors add to a calendar of events, including a bi-lingual movie festival and “mi Abuela’s” 5-course meal.

The Great Columbia Crossing – October

The Great Columbia Crossing is a majestic 10k that takes you over the stunning Astoria-Megler Bridge. Travel above the glorious Columbia River as you walk or run from Dismal Nitch to Astoria. You’ll pass from Washington into Oregon, suspended on North America’s longest continuous truss bridge. The event is ideal for family fun and experienced runners.

12. Annual Small-Town Events - Haunt-tober

Haunt-tober – October

October is ripe for a multitude of annual small-town events in Pacific County. The history and lore of the area give way to spooky fun around every corner. Enjoy Spirited Spirits in haunted hotels. Visit some of the haunted spots in the county. Enjoy a ghost-story trolley ride through downtown Long Beach. Visit the Harvest Festival at the Pacific County Festival Grounds. Haunted happenings are around every bend and in every small town in our region.

13. Annual Small-Town Events - Winterfest

Winterfest – Winter

Offseason is one of the best times to enjoy some of our annual small-town events. Festive occasions fill November and December, and activities are held across the region. From the darling Crab Pot Christmas Tree Lighting in Ilwaco to the Lighted Christmas Parade in Raymond, our towns sparkle with cheer. Spending winter at the beach is a beautiful way to make memories.

Stay Updated About Our Annual Small-Town Events

Our annual small-town festivals know how to pack in the charm. Each experience offers a new opportunity to enjoy our beautiful coastal cities, warm communities, and incredible local vibe. Follow the event’s social pages to stay updated on their latest details, and tag us in your adventures.

Feature Image Courtesy of: Washington State International Kite Festival/Jocelyn Darland

 

Our Charming Annual Small-Town Events and Festivals

By: Danelle Dodds

Danelle is an international traveler, road tripper, writer, and artist. She firmly believes in testing the limits of word count, mileage, and AYCE sushi.

 

 

 

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