As with any place, living in the rural mountains of Oregon brings with it amazing opportunities and some interesting challenges. Today, though, I want to focus on those things that bind us together and make living in Baker County just as good as living in any urban area.
Have you ever seen the movie, Doc Hollywood? It is one of many movies that portrays small town living as, shall we say, quirky? As with any art form, there is always a glimmer of truth in the fiction; that’s part of what makes it so funny.
In our small town, we have the local diner, the city officials who know many of the residents, local parades, and the quaint annual festivals.
Sure, you could come in the winter time and ski our local ski resort that has been the home and training ground of future Olympians, or in the fall and spring to explore the mountain trails and see the incredible wildlife, but the summer is one of the times we shine most brightly. In July, we bring out our banners and the town is a bustling center of activity.
Here are four events that demonstrate the diversity of interest our town brings:
- The beginning of July brings one of the premier competitive cycling events in the Pacific Northwest, the Baker City Cycling Classic. This three-day celebration of disciplined cycling brings competitors from all over. They compete in various levels of difficulty from a basic flat-road course to a grueling mountain climb.
- Fourth of July brings the Haines Stampede. This is a coveted rodeo full of excitement and pageantry. As one would expect, there are also local parades with the fire trucks decorated and flatbed floats, and fireworks. Lots of fireworks!
- In mid-July, motorcycles roar into town for the annual Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally. Bikers from near and far come to experience vendor booths, bands, and some of the best motorcycle roads and the beautiful geography that is all around Eastern Oregon.
- The end of July brings our annual festival celebrating our town’s heritage, Miner’s Jubilee. There are booths in the city park, fun and games, a carnival, mining displays and competitions, world-class bronc and bull competitions, and a parade down Main Street.
We haven’t even gotten to August with the annual East/West Shriner’s All-Star Football game. Now we’re kicking off Friday night lights season which is its own tradition.
Small town living isn’t always ideal, but it can be idyllic.