Visit this small town, agricultural region for u-picks, farm stands, birding, cycling, golfing, archery and wine tasting. Junction City is best known for its annual Scandinavian Festival in the summer, but you can delve into their Scandinavian culture year-round at the local museums, holiday parades and community dances.
Conveniently located between Eugene and Corvallis with Highway 99 as its main thoroughfare, and only minutes from the Eugene Airport, this semi-rural community is the perfect place to start leisure road trips. Ringed by wine country and wildflowers, Junction City merges farm life with recreational pursuits. Junction City is an RVing destination with a high concentration of RV service providers and products. Buy, rent or service your RV in town, then head out on Territorial Highway to explore local wineries and farms.
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Junction City Events
Junction City's most popular event is the Scandinavian Festival which draws thousands of visitors throughout the region every August. Celebrating the town's strong Scandinavian heritage, Junction City is transformed into a charming old-world town complete with windmills, traditional dress, dancing and Scandinavian food.
In the winter, the Parade of Lights livens up the city streets as families line the sidewalks to see lighted floats.
Lodging in Wine Country
Junction City offers convenient airport lodging just nine miles (14 km) north, surrounded by the peaceful atmosphere of farm country. Enjoy the mix of city amenities with rural charm. In town there are a few motels, or you can find a vacation rental or bed and breakfast in the valley. Bring your RV or rent one for a stress-free trip through Oregon.
About Junction City
Junction City received its name in the 1800s based on plans for a future railroad junction that never manifested. (Now its remaining nod to the railroad industry is the historic steam locomotive on 5th and Holly, presented to the city of Portland by the Finnish government and re-housed in Junction City in the 1980s.)
With its big railroad dreams, Junction City hummed, and in 1891 James A. Bushnell built an entire hotel "block" on Front and Seventh Streets. The huge building even included an opera house, the grandest opera house to be found between San Francisco and Seattle. In 1915 it burned down. Many of Junction City's remaining historical buildings can be viewed on the Junction City Historical Society's walking tour (PDF).
In 1902, real estate developer A.C. Nielsen founded a Danish settlement in Junction City. He divided a 1,600-acre ranch into smaller parcels and advertised in a Danish newspaper circulating in Iowa. Many families with direct lineage from Denmark arrived in Junction City to set up small farms. Lutheran church services were conducted in Danish up until 1951. Today, as much as twenty percent of Junction City's residents are believed to have Danish roots.
In the 1960s with the construction of Interstate 5, traffic on Highway 99 diminished. Junction City struggled. Suddenly, motorists were whizzing by the community on the far side of Eugene — thus Junction City's hotels, restaurants and shops were left empty. In 1961, Dr. Gale Fletchall organized a community-wide four-day festival honoring the town's Danish ancestry. They hoped to draw 4,000 visitors to Junction City but instead 10,000 people showed up. Attendance has continued to grow ever since. In 2014, the event was named an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Heritage Commission. Today, as many as 100,000 people visit Junction City each August for traditional dancing, crafts and food.
Motorhomes & RVs
Despite being bypassed by rail and road, Junction City continued to chase the transportation dream. And by the 1970s it was home to the largest recreational vehicle industry in the nation. Country Coach, Monaco Coach Corporation and Marathon all opened divisions here, earning Junction City the moniker "The RV Manufacturing Capital of the World." Guaranty RV Super Centers, a family-owned dealership and service center that had started in 1966, became Junction City's main RV hub. Founder Herb Nill began advertising with his famous "Eggs are cheaper in the country, and so are cars and trucks" pitch which capitulated him from his small Chevrolet-Oldsmobile dealership on up into "Motorhomes, motorhomes, motorhomes...and trailers too" as his business expanded. Eventually, the Nill family operated the largest RV dealership in the nation.
But in the late 2000s, the RV industry declined and the local plants were closed. In 2021, Bish's RV, another family-owned RV company with dealerships across the nation, acquired Guaranty from Shannon Nill, Herb's son. Today, Junction City is still a popular destination to repair, buy and sell RVs due to the legacy of the highly skilled RV workforce in the region.
Lower Long Tom AVA
Junction City has been predominately a farming community, and along with grains, vegetables and live stock; there are many vineyards now sprawling across the valley floor. As area wines, particularly Pinots, started garnering international attention in the 70s, vintners from California and Europe started speculating on property in the region. Some local farmers took note and converted their lands into vineyards. In 2021, the Lower Long Tom watershed in Junction City was officially recognized as the Lower Long Tom AVA with a dozen boutique wineries and many more vineyards. Wine tasting tourism is growing as visitors discover the beautiful countryside and award-wining wines are accompanied by farm-to-table foods, miles of quiet country roads for cycling and horseback riding, and pristine golf courses.
Just a short drive from Junction City, discover the tiny town of Coburg, full of antique stores. To the south of Junction City is Fern Ridge Reservoir, perfect for boating and birding. And of course, just twenty minutes away is Eugene with its abundant shopping and activities.