Thursday, July 25, 2019

Summer Fun in Benton County, Oregon

Summer weekends in Benton County are filled with activities.  “Making Waves” was the theme of this year's da Vinci Days celebration, held last weekend (July 19-21).  This festival began in 1989 and has been a feature of local summers for most years since.  The Benton County Historical Museum has a number of artifacts associated with the festival, including advertising posters.
da Vinci Days 2012 poster
For many years the festival was held on OSU's lower campus-- between Jefferson and Monroe Streets, west of 9th Street.  Some exhibits and talks were held on campus and the community art projects were displayed along Madison Street.  Before 2014, admission was not free as it is today.  Those who paid got a button that granted admission to all events. The museum has 12 of these, including those from 1991, 1996, and 2000.

Budget problems led the board to suspend the 2014 and 2015 celebrations. Now most of the summer events are held at the Benton County Fairgrounds and they are free. But some features of the original festival such as exhibits, activities for children, music, and food are still part of da Vinci Days.

The Maharimbas perform at the 1990 da Vinci Days
Food Court at the 1990 da Vinci Days
The ever-popular kinetic sculpture race has been a feature of da Vinci Days from the start, and continued even during the years when the festival itself was suspended.  
 The 2019 da Vinci Days may be over but there's more fun to come!  This coming Saturday (July 27) is Family Day at the Benton County Historical Museum.  The theme this year is “From the Ground up:  Archaeology to Architecture.” Learn more at

The following weekend is the Benton County Fair and the Clothesline Sale of Art on the grounds of the Benton County Courthouse.  Have fun!

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon 

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