UNION COUNTY — Grande Ronde Valley residents will have a chance to do a summer fest double-dip in mid-August.
The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 led to the cancellation of La Grande’s Eastern Oregon Beer Festival and Union’s Grassroots Festival. This summer, the annual events are set to reemerge on the same day, Aug. 14.
Donna Beverage, Union County commissioner and director of the Grassroots Festival, said she believes the two Saturday events can complement each other.
“We are hoping to work together so that more people will be able to enjoy activities at both festivals that day,” Beverage said.
Beverage noted people could be encouraged to attend morning activities at the Grassroots Festival, which starts at 7 a.m., and then go to the beer festival later in the day.
The festivals are scheduled to return on the second Saturday of August because COVID-19 infection rates in Union County are declining.
The Grassroots Festival traditionally has been conducted the second Saturday of August and the Eastern Oregon Beer Festival has been held in late June. The beer festival, though, was moved to Aug. 14 this year in the hope the COVID-19 infection rate will be lower by mid-August, said Mary Ann Miesner, co-chair of the beer festival, who noted this would make it easier to meet social distancing standards.
The Eastern Oregon Beer Festival will start at noon at the Union County Fairgrounds, La Grande, when those who purchased VIP passes will be able to taste all beers. The event will open to the general public at 1 p.m. and continue to 9 p.m., said Miesner, who also is a La Grande city councilor.
A new twist this year will be an event for those with VIP passes on Aug. 13. The event and its location will be announced later.
Miesner said three to four breweries have already committed to coming and she is confident about nine breweries will be represented, the same number normally present at the festival. She also said the festival will have other beers in addition to those from breweries that participate.
“We want to select beers that are new to people and showcase them,” Miesner said.
La Grande Main Street Downtown once again is shepherding the Eastern Oregon Beer Festival. For additional information, call La Grande Main Street at 541-963-1223 or Miesner at 541-910-9725.
Features at the Grassroots Festival again will include a car show, a plastic duck race in Catherine Creek, vendors, live music, a street dance with a disc jockey, a library book and bake sale, and a citywide yard sale. Beverage said in past years there have been about 40 yard sales in Union running in conjunction with the Grassroots Festival.
All activities at the Union event will be outdoors, which Beverage said will make it much easier to meet COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
The annual Union event launched about 25 years ago as Main Street Madness. It was renamed the Grassroots Festival about 15 years ago. Beverage said she is delighted the event is returning after last year’s shutdown.
“We are excited to move forward,” she said.
Anyone who would like to assist with the event or serve as a vendor should email email@example.com or call 541-786-1492.