Small Town Serves up Summer Fun on the Central Coast

By Gretchen Ammerman | Tuesday, July 16, 2019

It's hard to describe how hilarious it is to watch your boss and your husband furiously attempt to paddle a boat – made from cardboard – back to shore as it slowly disintegrates. The boys were piloting the boat during a cardboard boat race in the charming town of Toledo, OR, a welcome alternative summer destination to the crowded coast and it’s only 6 miles east of Newport. The town comes alive in the summer, giving people many reasons to visit, including a summer festival that’s a nod to the forestry background of the area and a wooden boat show (that hosts the aforementioned cardboard boat race) as part of a full list of events. 

The Port of Toledo and the waterfront are important parts of the town's past and present.

Toledo Summerfest, July 18-21

The highlight of this small town old-school festival is the local logging contest which features competition categories such as axe throwing, obstacle pole, choker setting, hook tender race, double buck, modified stock-saw steeple chase, four-man relay, wrapper throw, block toss and Jack and Jill. If even a few of these last phrases mean anything to you at all, it should be a good time. If not, you can also enjoy the carnival, food vendors, crafts booths, beer garden, live band and fireworks display. 

Kids up to 12-years old have a parade on Friday evening that starts at the Toledo Library (under 7 need to be accompanied by an adult). Kids will ride bikes, walk with their favorite toy or walk with the family dog from the library to the end of Main St. 

Entry buttons are available for sale at many local businesses in town, and you can choose between one that's $8 for three days or $7 for one day.

Wooden Boat Show, August 17-18

This is a free, family-friendly weekend event to celebrate Toledo’s boat building heritage. Wooden boats from throughout the Northwest are on display, the selection ranging from kayaks and canoes to work boats and pleasure crafts. Featured events include family boat building, the cardboard boat contest, poker paddle and boat rides, kids activities including a toy boat building booth, live music, food vendors and other booths and historical exhibits. The event is located at the Port’s Marina and Waterfront Park at the end of Toledo’s historic Main St.

The cardboard boat contest is a popular summer activity for families.

Every Thursday in the summer through August, the same waterfront park hosts the Thursday Waterfront Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A recent grant from the Oregon Coast Visitors Association has helped build the market, which includes artisan vendors, locally grown produce and hot food.

Your trip to Toledo can come to a final rest at the Toledo Cemetery, located at 2150 Arcadia Dr., where the first burials date back to the 1880s. My favorite headstone, so to speak, is actually a welded metal sign that marks the burial place of a wagon train pilot.


We love getting your comments and stories, so feel free to write something in the comments section. For other things to do before or after enjoying the coast's small towns, check out our Central Oregon Coast Daytime Events calendar. For evening entertainment our Nightlife page steers you to the top happenings on the Central Coast.

About the Author Gretchen Ammerman
Gretchen Ammerman received an Environmental Science degree from Humboldt State University and was soon running a state environmental agency in Hawaii. She gave it up for the glamorous life of the freelance writer. This led to steady employment as a newspaper editor in Lincoln City, OR, where she knew she was doing well when the paper was threatened with a lawsuit within a week. Though the work was rewarding, she returned to freelance writing to have more freedom to explore the beautiful state of Oregon with her adopted dog, Scout.