La Grande Various venues Late October www.eofilmfest.com
One of Eastern Oregon’s most intriguing communities, La Grande seamlessly melds what might seem disparate cultures—old-fashioned Western Americana, based on rural ranching, forestry, and mining, and the academia that comes with an institution of higher learning, in this case, Eastern Oregon University (EOU). The town captures the essence of both cultures, and sitting at dinner at 10 Depot Street, or sipping a drink in Benchwarmers, or enjoying breakfast at the Long
American Eastern Oregon Film Festival Photo Gallery
Branch, you’re likely to see timber workers sharing stories with students, ranchers conversing easily with academicians, farmers chatting with artists.
That community spirit, that melding of cultures, is what makes La Grande such an ideal host community for the Eastern Oregon Film Festival (EOFF), which annually screens a carefully selected eclectic mix of outstanding films at several different venues around town, including EOU, the Granada Theater (built in 1927), and the stately old Stage Door Theater, opened in 1910 as the Liberty Theater and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Each year EOFF presents more than thirty films, showcasing works produced by some of the best independent filmmakers in the business, and giving voice to both established veterans and innovative newcomers. Each year, the festival invites a number of the filmmakers to attend in person, providing film fans a chance to converse with them.
In addition to the films themselves, EOFF engenders a joyous, festive atmosphere with three evening after-party events held at the festival’s center of activities, HQ at 112 Depot Street, downtown. The after-parties feature outstanding, energetic live music performed by a cadre of local and regional bands, along with drinks and appetizers, and the town’s cozy downtown area transforms into a lively congenial scene. The festival officially opens Thursday morning when attendees can pick up movie passes at HQ, and screenings begin that evening and pick up again Friday morning; Friday and Saturday, films run all day, with HQ opening at 10 am and films running from late morning until the final show times around 7 pm.
Eastern Oregon Film Festival delivers a great lineup of carefully chosen films to audiences in La Grande.
A nonprofit enterprise, EOFF relies on support from the public, and one great way to help the effort and reap benefits is to become a member of the festival, which offers several different sponsorship buy-in levels. Members enjoy guaranteed admission to all screenings, music performances, and special events, and get priority seating for all the films, get their names in the official festival program, have access to the EOFF library of independent movies, and even get access to festival video equipment packages for use with independent movie making in Eastern Oregon. Members also receive various discounts and invites to events throughout the year.
In 2017, EOFF captured widespread acclaim when it was selected by Movie Maker magazine as one the “25 coolest film festivals in the world.” The editors noted that “.. .the tiny city of La Grande has quietly fostered a handcrafted festival that delivers quality and a wide-open sensibility without much hubbub.” Maybe not, but EOFF certainly exudes enough hubbub to make it well worth the drive to one of Eastern Oregon’s coolest little towns.
Oregon’s largest winter celebration, the Klamath Snowflake Festival kicks off the Christmas season as a sixteen-day multievent extravaganza with something for everyone. The most highly attended event is the Snowflake Parade on Main Street in downtown, held on the last Thursday of the festival after dark to fully bedazzle onlookers with colorfully lit floats, trucks, and other vehicles.
Kicking off the parade is the ever-popular Snowflake Mile, a fun run down Main Street for runners of all ability levels, many of whom dress up in holiday attire. Some years, parade onlookers enjoy pleasant weather with temperatures in the 40s, while other years, bitter cold sets in, and sometimes falling snow provides a wonderful wintery ambiance. Naturally, parade attendees should dress warmly, and when the festivities end, perhaps seek refuge from the cold in one of downtown’s fun restaurants or bars.