Take a step back in time and experience a slice of country life that is fading quickly. Dufur, a tiny town perched on the edge of the Columbia River Gorge, is a center of dryland wheat farming that began just after settlers arrived on the Oregon Trail, 175 years ago.
On August 10 and 11, the quaint town just 13 miles south of The Dalles, celebrates its roots in Oregon agriculture with Vintage Dufur Days: a weekend of old-time activities. With so much of life and work busily focused on electronic media and on-line communication, this event is a hands-on opportunity to reconnect with a slower, easier pace.
“We’re keeping the old farming traditions and history alive before we forget and lose them,” said Dufur Historical Society President and Director, Nancy Gibson. “Regardless of where they come from, folks who come here feel a connection to their roots and the beauty of the land here.”
On Saturday, August 10, the day starts early with a country breakfast served at long picnic tables at the city park. Then local farmers and ranchers bring out their antique farm equipment to demonstrate harvesting, threshing and more, with locally grown wheat. Visitors can also see steam engines, horse drawn farm equipment and a tractor pull competition at the threshing field.
The town turns out with artisan craft booths, quilt show and yard sales. There’s even a petting zoo and tractor parade. Travelers can wander over to the Dufur Historical Society Museum to tour the old one room schoolhouse, log cabin, cookhouse and blacksmith shop.
Later that evening, as the day cools down, families gather on the shady grounds of the historic Balch Hotel for a rustic barbeque dinner and music.
“Driving past the fields it looks beautiful, like ‘amber waves of grain’. But I had no idea what it actually took to harvest wheat. We got to see the whole process done the old-fashioned way. And everyone is so friendly and welcoming.” said Josiah Dean, local resident.
On Sunday, August 11, the event shifts gears as Dufur hosts an annual classic car show. Visitors and locals enjoy wandering the City Park, looking at antique refurbished cars from the 30-70’s.
“After 40 years as the Threshing Bee, we revamped 3 years ago as Vintage Dufur Days. We’ve made it more family-friendly with things for the kids to do, like the petting zoo,” added Ms. Gibson.
Vintage Dufur Days is sponsored by the Dufur Historical Society and Dufur Chamber of Commerce. Located in Wasco County, Dufur, Oregon offers the visitor grand vistas, great outdoor recreation, and a glimpse into another era. Wheat fields and cherry orchards dot the hills that surround the town and provide the largest sweet cherry crop in the world. Visitors enjoy the beauty and bounty of the land, the friendliness of its people, and the sunny, clear skies. For more information: visit Dufur.org or call Nancy Gibson at the Museum 541-993-3429.
Tentative schedule of events:
6 a.m. Ramsey Park Grange Country Breakfast Dufur City Park
9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dufur Historical Society will be open with tours:
- Schreiber Cabin
- Endersby One Room Schoolhouse
- Metzentine Building Exhibits
- Quilt Show
- Horse Drawn Equipment on display w/narration
- Blacksmith Shop – w/narration
9 a.m. Main Street and Festival Grounds Open
- Petting Zoo
- Artists Booths
- Food Booths
- Steam Engine Display
10 a.m. Tractor Parade
- Mainstreet Dufur
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Field Demonstrations
- Harvesting, threshing, binding and grinding on the Threshing Bee Grounds
2 p.m. Tractor Pull
6 p.m. Home town dinner that night at the Balch Hotel. Menu TBD. Music by DJ David Brown.
8 a.m.- 3 p.m. Vintage car show at the Dufur City Park