Veneta - Fern Ridge

At the crossroads of Willamette Valley's beloved Territorial Highway and Highway 126 to the Oregon Coast, is the country town of Veneta. A natural stopping place on any excursion, Veneta offers several restaurants, stores and even an electric vehicle charging station.

But a quick pit stop doesn't reveal Veneta's real beauty — that requires settling in and lingering at a wildlife watching wayside, on the water off Perkins Peninsula or at a boutique winery with Oregon's best Pinot swirling in your glass. Watch the mist rise from the marshes, a Great Blue Heron take flight and the sunset tint sailboats red, orange and purple as they scurry across the rippling reservoir.

Birding around Veneta is extremely rewarding with its many accessible wildlife areas and parks. Rent a stand up paddleboard (SUP) or kayak and paddle the reservoir and marshy creeks. Spot Osprey, Bald Eagles, Herons and Belted Kingfishers. Hike along the shoreline trails and watch for beavers, coyote and deer.

Follow Territorial Highway into Oregon Wine Country on the South Willamette Wine Trail. Cycle the back country roads past wildflowers and farm stands.

All around Fern Ridge Reservoir, you can enjoy day-use parks and overnight campgrounds. Access the region's largest lake through marinas and boat ramps, and enjoy fishing, sailing and water skiing.

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Veneta Lodging & Camping

Retreat to the quiet countryside in Veneta. Pitch a tent or pull up your RV into a waterfront site at Fern Ridge Reservoir, such as Richardson Park or camp by Fern Ridge Reservoir and enjoy all the windsurfing, sailing, water skiing, flat water kayaking, stand up paddling, swimming and fishing of your dreams. You'll also be in a perfect jumping off spot to start exploring the South Willamette Wine Trail. Lodging options may also include yurts right in town, vacation rentals or nearby farm stays. 

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Veneta Food & Drink

Centrally located between the south and north segments of the Territorial Wine Trail, Veneta is the perfect place to lunch when exploring wine country. Bring a picnic to the wineries or visit a restaurant in town.

Along with its wineries, Veneta is known for the popular Our Daily Bread Restaurant. On weekends, don't be surprised if there are wait times for their popular breakfast menu, so plan ahead. The community is also a convenient stop on the way to the Oregon Coast from Eugene, or before heading out to the nearby campgrounds and recreation around Fern Ridge Reservoir. There's also a grocery store and wine shop right off Highway 126 where you can stock up picnic supplies or grab a meal to go.

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Events & Festivals

Veneta's landmark event is the Oregon Country Fair held annually on private country acreage and attracting free spirits from across the region. Explore living artfully and authentically in joyous and healthy ways. Immerse yourself in a wonderland of entertainment, beautiful crafts, wholesome foods, and magical surprises.

Seasonally, browse the downtown Farmers' Market on Saturdays. Enjoy live music offerings at Our Daily Bread Restaurant or at the nearby vineyards. 

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Top Attractions in Veneta

About Veneta

Explore the rural ambiance of the Veneta area, where the foothills of the Coast Range meet the South Willamette Valley. Located just west of Eugene - Springfield, minutes from the Eugene Airport, and only an hour from the Pacific Coast, Veneta - Fern Ridge comprises the smaller communities of Alvadore, Crow, Elmira, Lorane, Noti, Triangle Lake, Veneta and Walton.

Veneta Countryside by Traci Williamson

Veneta was established in 1912 by Edmund Eugene Hunter who named the town after his daughter. It's post office opened just a few years later. Present day Veneta is best recognized for its prime birding and natural offerings.

FERN RIDGE RESERVOIR 

Fern Ridge Reservoir is a major attraction in Veneta. It was formed when the Long Tom River was dammed in 1941. It is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers for flood control encompassing an area of 12,000 acres (4856 ha). It is 5 miles (8km) wide and 5.5 miles (8.6 km) long with tributary streams including Amazon Creek and Coyote Creek.

There are multiple waterfront parks suited for barbecues and picnicking, sunbathing, swimming, volleyball, sailing, kayaking, water-skiing and fishing. There is also hiking, cycling and birding trails; and RV and tent camping. Fern Ridge Reservoir hosts many regattas, triathlons and other special events.

A pink and orange sunset over a lake with mountains in the background

SUNSHINE DAYDREAM

Veneta is also known for its iconic counter culture celebration, the Oregon Country Fair (OCF). It began in 1970 as a costume and craft fair to raise funds for a local school. The private wooded acreage where the event was held was originally dubbed the Oregon Renaissance Faire Grounds. It quickly metamorphosed.

In 1972, the Grateful Dead performed a memorable, all-day concert in record-breaking August heat on the fair grounds. The concert's purpose was to benefit the Kesey family's Springfield Creamery (Nancy's Yogurt), which need a financial boost. The event was emceed by "Merry Pranksters" Ken Kesey and Ken Babbs and was documented with a live recording and film footage dubbed "Sunshine Daydream." It is estimated that 30,000 people attended, and the show has become legendary - referred to as both "the first field trip" and "the last acid test." The Grateful Dead played here again in 1982.

Oregon Country Fair Sunflower by Brittney Reynolds

Today, the OCF's annual three-day July event attracts approximately 45,000 people in a colorful array of self-expression. There are craft booths, food vendors and 18 stages featuring all types of entertainment from music to dance. The OCF operates its own village-like systems from communications to safety. It's self-sufficiency and sustainability measures are implemented by a large volunteer crew. The OCF is truly a unique experience.

POPULATION

Veneta - Fern Ridge - 5,271

Source: 2021 Population Research Center, Portland State University

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Veneta - Fern Ridge Chamber of Commerce

  • 24949 Hwy 126, Veneta OR 97487
  • P: 541.935.8443
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City of Veneta

  • 88184 8th St, Veneta OR 97487
  • P: 541.935.2191