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Events worth putting on your travel calendar
Most of us live in places where it's not hard to find a special summer event as the Pacific Northwest celebrates our best weather of the year in a variety of different ways. It's easy and convenient -- you just drive to these events for the day and home again.

But there are some events that are really worth the extra effort of hitting the road and finding overnight lodgings. These events will bring extra-special memories and give you a chance to get out and explore our region of the country.

Here are five suggestions for just those kinds of events -- start making those hotel reservations now!

Solar Eclipse 2017

This event actually was planned by  1Mother Nature a long, long time ago -- it's a rare solar eclipse that will happen on August 21, 2017.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, the best place for you to see the eclipse will be in Oregon. Certain parts of Oregon will experience the full effects which include

the sun being completely blocked out by the moon for a few minutes. There will in fact be a 70-mile wide shadow across parts of the entire country. If you stand anywhere under that shadow, you'll see that everything goes pitch black. If you are under clear skies, you will see a hole in the sky. The event's duration will last a minute or two, perhaps more with the longest duration being along the center line of that 70-mile-wide path. The longest duration will be two minutes, 41 seconds.

With just about any binoculars you'll be able to see the Sun's corona and the plasma coming from the sun's surface. It's an amazing experience and, whenever a total eclipse occurs, hotel rooms sell out.

Since the event travels west to east, the eclipse will start on the coast where prime summer vacation destinations like Depoe Bay, Newport and Lincoln City will be near the center of the eclipse path. Along the I-5 corridor, the eclipse will pass over such popular destinations as Salem, Albany and Corvallis.

To view a map of the path of the eclipse, please go to www.eclipse2017.org/2017/maps.htm.

Festival of Sail

If you like historic ships, then the Festival of Sail is an event you'll definitely want to put on your calendar this year. It will be held in Tacoma from June 15th through the 18th.

It is a rare chance to catch a glimpse, step aboard, and even set sail on some of the grandest ships of yore. Tacoma is one of a very few ports selected for the event.The promoters are saying it will be the largest event ever held in Tacoma and will include ship tours, day sails, educational programming, food and beverage, entertainment and fun for the entire family.

One of the ships in the festival will be the Lady Washington. This historic replica was launched as part of the 1989 Washington State Centennial celebration. She's been featured in several famous motion pictures since then. The Festival of Sail will include many other tall ships and you'll be sure to get lost of great pictures to take back home.

For more information, please visit www.festofsailtacoma.com or call 877-4FLY-TIX.

Grand Coulee Dam

This next option celebrates some very important history here in the state of Washington -- the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. It's the 75th anniversary of Grand Coulee Dam and a great time to tour this impressive facility in North Central Washington.

Grand Coulee Dam is not just any dam -- it once was the world's biggest dam and remains among the few dams in the world that can produce enough electricity to power 11 western states. It's not as high as Hoover Dam, but it's wider and there's a definite rivalry between the two.

The dam is just a two-hour scenic drive from Wenatchee. The drive is a scenic passage through Central Washington's geologic history with rivers, lakes, wheat fields, rocks and interesting geological formations around every turn. Once you get to Grand Coulee, there's no mistaking just how important this piece of concrete is. It's the world's largest concrete structure.

Tours of the dam run hourly and check ahead on the dam website to see what special events are planned for the anniversary. We're told the Fourth of July may be one of the BEST times to go.

For more information, please visit www.grandcouleedam.org.

Canada's 150th birthday

Our Canadian neighbors are planning a big party this summer to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. Both Vancouver and Victoria have special events planned.

Vancouver is spending almost $8 million to host a massive festival at downtown Vancouver's Larwill Park. Scheduled for July 22nd to 30th the event will be called The Drum Is Calling Festival and will focus heavily on Indigenous themes to acknowledge the city's location on the traditional territories of various local tribal nations.

There will be carving and weaving exhibitions, dance, sports tournaments in adjacent streets, workshops, crafts, vendors and food, and live music performances on stages.

In Victoria, there's an 11-day event that starts June 21st that will be held in Victoria's Inner Harbour.

The Spirit of 150 Victoria will feature family-friendly activities, multicultural performances and local food vendors. This special 150th birthday event is sure to be especially exciting for visitors from the U.S.

For more information on the Vancouver event, please visit www.canada150plus.ca. The Victoria event is detailed at www.spirit150victoria.ca.

Leavenworth Oktoberfest

This event is a few months off but it's one of those you need to book well in advance. Leavenworth's Oktoberfest will run over three consecutive weekends this fall starting on Sept. 29th and 30th.

You need to book your hotel early. This Oktoberfest is billed as one of the best this side of Munich and, judging by the crowds each year, the word has gotten out.

If you can't find accommodations in Leavenworth, try hotels in Wenatchee -- there is a free shuttle service between Wenatchee and Leavenworth.

Tickets for the 2017 Leavenworth Oktoberfest will go on sale around the end of August. Altogether there are four venues at Oktoberfest, each with live entertainment, food and of course beer. You can stay in one venue or move around and try out all four.

At 1 p.m. every Saturday, they hold a Keg Tapping Ceremony in which Leavenworth's mayor honors the Bavarian tradition of tapping the keg.

For more information, please visit www.leavenworthoktoberfest.com or phone 509-548-5807.
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