Wallowa County is lucky to have many residents who like to have fun - and they don't mind volunteering countless hours of their time to organize events that visitors can enjoy year-round.
Plowing BeeThere's nothing more picturesque than teams of horses and mules plowing a field with the snow-capped Wallowa Mountains in the background.
Every year, those who love old-time farming gather at Larry and Juanita Waters' ranch east of Joseph for the Lee Scott Memorial Plowing Bee.
This year, it is scheduled for Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3. There will be plowing events both days, with a potluck dinner at nearby Liberty Grange Hall on Saturday at 6:30 p.m
The Liberty Grange members will serve an early, hearty country breakfast at the Grange Hall on Sunday morning starting at 7 to 9:30 a.m., before the plowing events begin. For information, call Larry or Juanita Waters at (541) 432-7055.
Courthouse concerts Every Thursday during the summer months, locals grab their lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets to head to the lawn of the historic Wallowa County Courthouse to listen to music after work - and out-of-county visitors are welcome to join them.
The Courthouse Concert Series will start its fourth season of Thursdays June 4, and will end with a final performance Aug. 27. The event features a variety of music every week, drawing from local and regional talent. Musical styles typically range from bluegrass to the blues to folk and classic rock.
For a line-up of musicians visit (www.wvmusicalliance.org) or call (541) 426-3390 to get the whole, late-breaking scoop.
The Juniper JamA new musical event, billed as "The sweetest little music festival in Eastern Oregon," opens Sept. 5 at 11 a.m. and runs until 10 p.m. The festival will feature regional and local music from folk, jazz, Americana, blues, featuring Bryan Bowers, Simon Tucker Group, Carolyn Lochert Jazz Combo, The Wasteland Kings, Cris Kokesh & Lincon Crockett and much more.
You'll find music, food, beverages, kids activities all day at the Enterprise Fairgrounds. Tickets are $10. For more information visit (www.juniperjam.com) or call WVMA at 541-426-3390.
Old-time fiddle showFor a chance to hear tunes like the early settlers used to play - in the days when neighbors would travel miles in buggies and on horseback to make their own entertainment - the Wallowa County Old-Time Fiddlers Show is the place to be. It's a bit of a misnomer, since guitars, mandolins, banjos, pianos and some singers accompany the fiddles - but whatever you call it, it's a good time. Scheduled for Saturday, June 6 at Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise, the show is a bona-fide family affair. Dancing is positively encouraged. If you can't manage that then join the toe-tappers, knee-slappers and head bobbers. The show usually attracts 20 or more fiddlers from around the Northwest, with a hot dinner ($6 per person) and pies sweetening the trip to Enterprise. Dinner will be served at 5 p.m. and the music starts at 6 p.m. Admission is $5, with children under 12 free. Have questions? Call Nancy Trump at (541) 886-7885.
Antique tractor showErl McLaughlin may be a wheat farmer by occupation, but his passion is collecting and restoring antique tractors, especially those so old they have steel wheels.
Once a year he throws open the huge storage building/showroom he made for his truly awe-inspiring collection, and proudly hosts the Annual Sunrise Iron Antique Tractor Show at 65708 Sunrise Road on Alder Slope in rural Enterprise. This year, the tractor show is set for Saturday, Aug. 1, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but McLaughlin doesn't mind folks coming early or staying late.
In fact, anyone who can't make the show is invited to contact him at (541) 426-4407 to arrange a special showing. In his showroom alone, McLaughlin has over 50 tractors, plows and cultivators, many from his collecting target range of 1915 to 1930.
Wallowa County Ranch Rodeo Last year the local ranchers decided to challenge one another on their cowboying skills in a day of rip-snorting rodeo and inadvertently kicked off a new tradition in the county. This year the event, which is sponsored by the Joseph Chamber of Commerce, goes by the moniker "Second Annual Countdown to Chief Joseph Days." Even with the big name, the event promises to be just as much neighborly fun as the first. It is limited to Wallowa County Cowboys and Cowgirls and will include team roping, team branding, ribbon-roping, and ranch-style saddle bronc riding. The event will begin with a trail ride beginning at 3 p.m. at the rodeo grounds on June 26. Later that evening, beginning with cocktail hour at 5 p.m., there will be a dinner, live and silent auctions, cowboy poetry and a Calcutta. The ranch teams will meet for their rodeo events the morning of June 27 in the Harley Tucker Memorial Arena in Joseph. Visit (www.chiefjosephdays.com) for more details.
WinterfestJoseph's biggest winter blowout, the 2010 Winterfest, is scheduled for Jan. 5-8.
The event includes a snowmobile poker run with a guaranteed $2,200 purse, an all-you-can-eat breakfast, a slow-smoked prime rib dinner with King Crab legs, chili cooking contest, snow sculpture contest, tub races, polar bear run, scavenger hunt and a dance. Here is the schedule:
Jan. 5-8: Snow Sculpture Contest- build your best snow sculpture to be judged on the 8th. Winners will be announced at the prime ribfeast Jan 9.
Jan. 8: Loomix Tub Races- entries are $25 per team of two girls and two boys. The race will be held on Main Street at 6 p.m. Then at 8 p.m. will be our 2nd Annual Polar Bear Run. The Adult Winter Games at the Stubborn Mule will be at 10 p.m.
Jan. 9: Poker Run, all-U-can-eat breakfast starting at 7 a.m., an in-town Poker Walk for those without sleds, a chili cooking contest at 10 a.m., and an all ages scavenger hunt. The evening festivities include a slow smoked prime rib dinner along with all the beer you can drink from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Joseph Rodeo grounds (King Crab Legs can be added to your dinner for an extra charge). Raffles and auction items during the dinner, and a dance to live music from 9 p.m. to 2 .am. For more information visit (www.snowmobilewallowacounty.com).
Wallowa Valley Lanes BowlingIt's true this is a regular business on Main Street in Joseph, but we feel lucky to have a bowling alley in this small rural community - and a lot of fun can be had there.
Our little alley features eight lanes, an automatic scoring system, and open bowling seven days a week. Before 6 p.m. games are $3 per person per game or $10 per hour. Evening games will cost $3.50 per person per game or $14 per hour.
You'll get hungry and thirsty and when you do you can can get hamburgers and fries, burritos, hot dogs or a big plate of chicken or beef nachos. Chase that with a soda, beer, wine or mixed drink. For more information call (541) 432-2695.