Some communities celebrate the start of the New Year with an official party or a parade.
Not here. On New Year’s Day, we gather in swimwear at the beach below Neahkahnie Mountain and, at the signal, make a mad dash into the Pacific Ocean. Afterward, we huddle around a bonfire and feel proud of ourselves for taking part in the annual Polar Plunge. Organized by locals, the first plunge, held in 2004, saw about a dozen participants. Today, hundreds of people join in.
Even more people show up each year for the Manzanita Fourth of July festivities. The day typically begins at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast fundraiser for local schools at the former fire hall, located at 5th and Laneda. The breakfast wraps up at 11 a.m., just in time for a hotdog and hamburger barbecue, hosted by the local Emergency Volunteer Corps, held across the street. The barbecue continues until 3 p.m. At 1 o’clock in the afternoon, the Manzanita Fourth of July Parade begins. Parade entry participants range from local organizations to marching bands and include floats and local families and friends. The annual fireworks display, which gives larger communities’ shows a run for their money, kicks off at dusk, usually about 10 p.m., at the beach.
If you need to burn some calories following your Fourth of July excesses, consider joining other runners and walkers in the annual Manzanita Beach Run & Walk, hosted by the North County Recreation District. Participants vie for first place by running or walking along the hard-packed sand from below Neahkahnie Mountain to Nehalem Bay. Race results are available as soon as you cross the finish line. Proceeds benefit the NCRD Fitness Center.
Later in the summer, you can visit Nehalem for its annual arts and crafts festival and Wheeler for its yearly crab festival. Both events feature food vendors and live music.
If you are a dog lover, you can bring your furry, four-legged companion to Muttzanita, an annual celebration of all things canine. Muttzanita takes place in downtown Manzanita. It is a day filled with doggy activities, including a fashion show and parade. Look for pet-oriented vendors, and be sure to visit the event sponsor, Four Paws on the Beach, Manzanita’s boutique pet store. Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of North Tillamook County and United Paws.
Finish the year by joining the Manzanita Tree Lighting event, where you can have your photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, sip a cup of hot cocoa and shop for gifts from local merchants.