Held the first full weekend in July, this little festival is the best kept secret in Oregon. Wheeler County, with three incorporated towns, is the only county in Oregon with more horses than people. Life marches to a different drummer here, a welcome relief from the hectic pace of the rest of the world!
The Festival takes place in the old pioneer town of Fossil, the county seat, in front of the beautiful historic courthouse, now over 100 years old. The town is nestled in a beautiful valley. Life here is peaceful, quiet, and the residents are full of small town hospitality.. Besides the Festival itself, there’s a variety of small but wonderful “museums” but you can also get modern coffee if that’s what turns your wheels.
There’s no admission charged for attending the Festival but you will need to bring your own chair and/or blanket. There’s dry camping and RV parking available at the fairgrounds, about a 5-minute walk from the courthouse, and at nearby parks. Local vendors sell a variety of food and treats.
A unique and popular part of this Festival is the “Fossil Song Contest.” As in traditional song contests, only original unpublished songs are allowed, but songs must be about some feature of the local area – the place, people, history, or even imagined events.
Fossil is about a 3-hour drive from Bend or Portland. Bring your instruments and your dancing shoes, stay a day or the whole weekend, and be a part of the greatest little festival in Eastern Oregon. And be sure to plan time to visit the amazing Painted Hills and world famous Fossil beds while you are here.
Wheeler County Bluegrass Festival