See a beach sunset from a Ferris wheel or learn about fascinating fungi at one of Curry County’s many festivals.

With built-in entertainment, local eats, and a unique link to the area, a local festival can be the perfect centerpiece for your next getaway. In Curry County on Oregon’s South Coast, you’ll find festivals celebrating everything from pirates to fungi, plus colorful displays of floral bloom or literally millions of holiday lights. Here’s a rundown of the best festivals on the Southern Oregon Coast to add to your calendar.

2024TSOC April Brookings Azalea

Azalea Festival and Parade

Memorial Day Weekend

With more than 30 acres of native azaleas, including some that are more than 200 years old, Azalea Park is one of Brookings’ most popular attractions. It’s also the inspiration behind Brookings’ annual Azalea Festival and Parade, designated an Oregon Heritage Tradition and held every Memorial Day weekend since 1939. The timing coincides with bloom time for the azaleas, and many of the events take place in the park, including live music, a DJ’d Friday night dance party, and a barbecue. 

The town bustles with events all weekend, including a festive street market with more than 80 vendors offering everything from vintage treasures to locally handmade goods, an old-fashioned quilt show, a pie sale, art exhibits, and a plant and flower sale. You’ll also find kid’s activities, a classic car show, and a parade with floats and marching bands introducing the Azalea Festival Queen and her court.

2024TSOC April Brookings Fair

Curry County Fair

July 24-27, 2024

Billed as “cowbells and seashells,” the Curry County Fair at the Event Center on the Beach in Gold Beach is also the only place on the West Coast where you can experience old-fashioned county fair fun on the shore.

Watch the sunset over the ocean from the top of the Ferris wheel, then experience fair favorites like funnel cakes, corn dogs, and cotton candy. Young ones will enjoy kid-centric performers and activities, including juggling shows and a circus tent with live acts and a chance to give it a whirl themselves. Be sure to look for the popular reptile display and all-ages comedy acts. Traditional livestock shows, auctions, and bull riding are also on the list, as well as a full schedule of live music.

2024TSOC April Brookings Pirates

Pirates of the Pacific Festival

August 9-11, 2024

Ahoy there, pirates, lads, lasses, and scallywags — get thee to Brookings Harbor during the second weekend of August for the Pirates of the Pacific Festival. Pack your best pirate and pirate-adjacent costumes to step back in time and enjoy blacksmith demos, cannon shows, and live music. Entertainment also includes belly dancing, a photo booth where you can dress up like a mermaid, and dozens of vendor booths. Shiver me timbers — this quirky festival guarantees a weekend of good fun!

2024TSOC April Brookings Mushroom

Wild Rivers Mushroom Festival

November 9-10, 2024

The Oregon coast’s mild temperatures, abundant moisture, and lush forests provide the perfect environment for mushrooms to thrive. Celebrate local fungi in all their fabulous forms at the Wild Rivers Mushroom Festival in Brookings the first weekend of November. 

During this two-day mushroom extravaganza, browse vendors and peruse displays of more than 200 mushroom varieties identified by experts. Then experience workshops and presentations with regional and national mushroom experts on topics like mushroom harvesting and identification as well as uses for wild mushrooms, from cooking and medicinal tinctures to preservation. And you can even sign up to go on a mushroom hike led by an expert. This year’s location is to be announced in May. See the website for more info.

2024TSOC April Brookings Lights

Nature’s Coastal Holiday — Festival of Lights

November 28-December 29, 2024

Brookings’ Festival of Lights is a holiday tradition that has captivated visitors and locals for more than 25 years. Each year, three million lights — the most of all the holiday light displays on the Oregon coast — are strung to illuminate fanciful sculptures in every square inch of Azalea Park. Last year, the dazzling show attracted 30,000 holiday visitors. 

Unique coastal displays include a lighted jellyfish, crab, fish, and octopus, beach scenes, and a fishing boat floating on a sea of blue lights. Be sure to stroll along Candy Cane Lane to the gazebo for a panoramic view of the display. This family-friendly event is low-cost (kids 12 and under are free) and offers seasonal cheer galore. Volunteers offer cookies, cocoa, and cider, and kids delight in special appearances from Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Elsa from “Frozen.”

Header photo: Pirates of the Pacific Festival