COTTAGE GROVE – Hints of fall foliage are peeking through the tips of trees now, and soon the winter sweaters will need unpacking from storage. Fall has arrived in the Southern Willamette Valley, and Cottage Grove is ready to celebrate.
The second annual Fall Festival will be held on Friday, Sept. 22 and Saturday, Sept. 23.
This is a free street celebration on South 7th Street and East Washington Avenue. No tickets are required, and there are activities for all ages.
“We had so much fun last year with a group of businesses and economic development organizations …. that we wanted to expand the celebration of the harvest season to include more live music, local beers and wine, and to highlight the variety of local growers, crafters, businesses, entrepreneurs, and artists this area has to offer,” wrote Ruth Linoz, who is the event coordinator.
The festival will include:
• Specials and discounts at downtown businesses
• Music on both days
• Octoberfest Biergarten
• Fine art show in the armory building
• Street vendors with merchandise, craft items, and food
• Extended farmers market with kid activities on Saturday
Dale Smith, co-owner of Coast Fork Brewing, said that although this is just the second annual Fall Festival, this is the ninth annual Octoberfest. Coast Fork Brewing and The Axe and Fiddle partnered last year, with help from Linoz and Downtown Cottage Grove, to put on the first Fall Festival in conjunction with their Octoberfest celebration.
“‘Octoberfest’ means ‘harvest festival’ which is where the group came up with ‘Fall Festival,’” Smith said. “This is a celebration of the harvest before the dark months hit and all the hard work and all the energy and really reaping some of those rewards, and of course fabulous beer and food.”
Smith called Fall Festival a “locally-grown, locally-sourced festival” which she hopes continues as a yearly event, and she also said this event is a “positive step toward building community.”
“There’s actually deep roots here, but in our community last year, there wasn’t enough time to get out and go to all the downtown businesses and really have that engagement,” Smith said. “While this year with the Downtown association and Ruth really stepping in and organizing and coordinating, there are 22 businesses that are offering specials. We have vendors. The engagement is just off the charts.”
Maranda Taylor, owner of Maranda’s Hometown Candles, will be one of the street vendors at this year’s Fall Festival, showcasing her affordable products like lotion bars and candles. Taylor said she is eager to be involved this year because she loves meeting customers face to face and getting to connect with them.
“I’m looking forward to being there and just seeing lots of smiling faces – and being part of a community event because I really appreciate the community and how much they love to support local and shop small,” Taylor said.