Celebrating Oregon’s Big Day

By Erika Weisensee

Valentine’s Day should be extra special for Oregonians this year. In case you haven’t heard, our beloved state is turning the big 1-5-0. Now, that’s what I call a milestone birthday. In a state that’s known for its scenic beauty, natural resources and independent spirit, we have a lot to celebrate. And, in a time when it seems there is little to celebrate, we should celebrate the state we love.

Here are a few reasons why I love this state: 1) Polar fleece is acceptable dress almost anywhere; 2) Beavers and Ducks inter-mingle peacefully, except on Civil War weekend; 3) The coast, the mountains, the valleys, the Gorge………need I say more?

On February 14th, take a moment to appreciate this quirky and beautiful place we call home.  If you’re looking for a birthday party, you won’t have trouble finding one. Museums and organizations throughout the state will be hosting events in honor of the sesquicentennial  (try saying that three times fast). Here’s a list of some of the larger events planned:

– Oregon Historical Society, Feb. 14th and 15th The Oregon Historical Society (www.ohs.org) will celebrate with free admission on Saturday, from 10 to 5 p.m., and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. In addition to the regular exhibits, families can enjoy fun activities, guest speakers, music, cake and more.

– Statehood Celebration in Salem, Feb. 14th From 11 to 4 p.m. on Saturday the 14th, visitors to the capital in Salem will enjoy exhibits in the capital mall, children’s activities, a free hot dog lunch, commemorative postmarks, and cake for 3,000. At noon, a ceremony will feature a Color Guard and remarks from state officials.

– End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Feb. 14th Along with numerous museums throughout the state, museums in historic Oregon City will observe Museum Free Day on February 14th. The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and Museum of the Oregon Territory will be open from 11 to 4 p.m. Learn more at www.historicoregoncity.org.

For a more complete list of sesquicentennial events, visit www.oregon150.org.

###  Erika Weisensee is a writing mom and a native Oregonian. She lives in Milwaukie and teaches journalism at the University of Portland.