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Ukeleles and Beer Fest in Oregon

Craft beer and ukuleles converge in the small town of Oakridge, Ore.

man playing a ukulele, image
Photo caption
Ukuleles sing in a Willamette Valley festival.

Until recently, Oakridge, Ore., population 3,200, was a hardluck Cascades timber town with silent mills and little allure for visitors. Then the mountain bikers and craft-beer drinkers arrived.

The town, off Highway 58 southeast of Eugene, claims 350 miles of hiking and biking trails that wend past waterfalls to airy views of Diamond Peak. And at its heart is a British-style public house—Brewers Union Local 180—that serves tall pours of real cask-conditioned ales.

It’s no wonder that an annual Keg and Cask Festival sprang up. This year the August 2 event takes place down the block from the Ukulele Festival (Aug. 1–3) on East First Street.

You can leave your hula moves at home. “This is not Hawaiian music,” says organizer Gary Carl. “It’s beers and ukuleles and more fun than you can imagine.” Performers include blues wizard James Clem and singer-songwriter Danielle Ate the Sandwich (aka Danielle Anderson), who has opened for Mumford & Sons. And the tunes? Expect Johnny Cash covers, doo-wop remakes, and swing. (541) 782-4000,

Photography by Photo Resource Hawaii/Alamy

This article was first published in July 2014. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.