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Painted Hills

Umatilla County: Experience the West

Written by Oregon Media

Umatilla County: Experience the West

Though Umatilla County may be known as the home of the century-old Pendleton Round-Up, the region has plenty more to explore year-round. It even has another favorite rodeo: the Farm City Pro Rodeo in Hermiston. With historic and cultural centers, wineries and breweries, farmers’ markets, a scenic bikeway route and a regional airport, Umatilla County is a growing community that hasn’t lost its Old West charm.

Pendleton round-up

110 years of tradition

What began in 1910 as a small gathering of local cowboys has grown into one of the largest and most revered rodeos in the country. Each year, the Pendleton Round-Up brings thousands of people to Oregon’s Rugged Country. The week kicks off with the Dress-Up Parade and ends with crowning rodeo champions. One of the specialty events is the Happy Canyon Indian Pageant, a nightly theater production about Native Americans with roots in the region and the formation of Pendleton. Year-round, visit the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame, a museum devoted to the rodeo and its legacy.

a famous melon

Watermelon from Umatilla County and it tastes good, too

The city of Hermiston is beloved for many reasons, but the most well-known is a very large fruit. The watermelon grows to perfection here each summer, with many purveyors selling the sweet treats locally and far afield. Hermiston celebrates all things melon with a festival each summer, with face-painting, games, a waterslide and a watermelon seed spitting contest.

Pendleton woolen mills

Pendleton’s Pacific Northwest woolen mills are a testament to the quest for quality established by the company’s founder in 1863. The intricate jacquard blankets and array of wool fabrics have earned a reputation on par with the greatest mills around the world. For more than 150 years, Pendleton has achieved beautiful color and original patterns that are the hallmarks of this family enterprise. The Woolen Mill Store offers the largest selection of Pendleton fabric, remnants and mill ends—unique and high-quality materials for artists and craftspeople alike. Tours are free Monday through Friday.