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Pacific City Dory Days Celebrates Zippy Little Boat Tradition on N. Oregon Coast

Published 06/28/23 at 7:31 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

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(Pacific City, Oregon) – For over 100 years now, the dory boats of Pacific City have been a spunky even startling tradition on the north Oregon coast. That inimitable and always memorable sight of seeing one of those little boats at Pacific City come barreling in at a crazy speed, then seemingly crash-land on the beach, and yet all is well. You never forget your first time catching that wild visage on the Oregon coast, where what seems absolutely insane turns out to be tradition. And a long one at that.

Indeed, their launches are almost as dramatic.

The little town at the edge of Tillamook County regular celebrates these stalwart vessels, whooping it up with a festival that's as much a tradition as the boats are now.

Pacific City's Dory Days is just about here, with the latest incarnation happening July 14 and 15 in a few places around town. There's a weekend-long display of dory vessels, a parade, various kids activities, a live band, face painting, a famed crafts fair and a delicious fish fry featuring actual catches from these legendary boats.

The future site of the Dory History Museum will be where you can look back into the past of the north Oregon coast tradition. Some of these unique vessels will be on display, showing the evolution of this singular kind of boat. You'll see examples from the '50s forward, learn how they were built, and what the difference is between a commercial vessel and a recreational one. You'll find it next to Lori's Ocean Clippers on Brooten Road, where some of the weekend's action takes place. The display will be there Friday and Saturday.

Dig into the parade at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and this year's theme is Legends of the Deep. It's open to interpretation on the part of participants, so it will be interesting to see what everyone comes up with.

First on the menu of fun for Saturday – quite literally – is the Dory Days Fish Fry, happening on Saturday. Chow down on the real thing: freshly-caught fish from some of the Dory boats. This is a true, archetypal Oregon coast experience. The heady aroma of sizzling fish and other goodies may lead you right off the bat, but if you can't tell where it's coming from it will be the Kiawanda Community Center, right on the main thoroughfare, running from noon to 6 p.m.

It's led by locally-renowned chef Ben Johnson from the Sportsman Pub and Grub. $18 for adults and $12 for kids.

The Local Artisan Craft Fair is another favorite of this festival, allowing the chance to support artisans and artists from this part of the Oregon coast. It's a treasure hunt full of distinctive and all handcrafted goods. Pottery, woodworks, jewelry, textiles and all kinds of arty to folksy delights are found.

The craft fair at the Dory Days is known for showing off the passions of these individuals and for discovering some very unique items. It also serves a greater purpose of furthering the local talents and the artistic community in general. You'll find it at the grass lot next to Lori's Ocean Clippers on Brooten Road. On Friday it goes from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, it runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

After the parade, bundles of fun begins for the little ones, with a variety of kids' activities. It goes until 4 p.m. at the Kiawanda Community Center.

Face painting is one of the highlights, turning kids' faces into whimsical animals or their favorite characters. There's also colorful temporary tattoos where they add an extra burst of visual fun.

Kidlets get to participate in arts and crafts and various stations in the center, using various materials to create something truly all their own.

Then there's interactive games going on, where the wee ones are supervised as they run and around and take part in engaging new paths for their imaginations.

At night, the country rock band Countryfied hits the on June 14, starting at 7 p.m. They kick off the festival for the weekend with some heavy doses of favorite tunes from a variety of eras. See

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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