Travel Lane County
541.484.5307 · 800.547.5445 ·
Adventure Center/Visitor Information: 3312 Gateway St · Springfield OR (Open daily 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.)
Downtown Eugene Visitor Center: 754 Olive St · Eugene OR (Open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Mailing Address: PO Box 10286 · Eugene OR 97440 s

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About Veneta, Oregon

Birders at Fern Ridge

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 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 ReservoirFern Ridge Reservoir is a major attraction in Veneta. It was formed when the Long Tom River was dammed in 1941. At summer capacity, the reservoir covers approximately 9,000 acres (3,642 ha) and is about 5 miles (8 km) wide and 5.5 miles (8.6 km) long.

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 is home to the Eugene Yacht Club and host to regattas, triathlons and other sporting events.

Every winter the reservoir is drained, creating seasonal marshes and mud flats that are home to an abundance of wildlife. Over 250 species of birds have been noted in the area. In 1979, the southeast shore of the reservoir was declared a wildlife refuge. It is closed January - March for the protection of wintering birds. Seasonal hunting is permitted in some sections. Game includes pheasants, quail, dove, duck, snipe, goose and deer.


OCF by Meg Trendler

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.

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.