Woodburn and Mount Angel will each experience their own festival of cultures this weekend.

Both the Mexican Independence Day celebration Sunday in Woodburn and four-day Oktoberfest festival in Mount Angel will shine a spotlight on this area’s past and common elements of our region.

In Woodburn, the Independence Day celebration marks the freedom that was fought for and won by the Mexican people in 1821.

The event will highlight what is unique and common about Mexican culture, which is thriving in Woodburn and surrounding communities today.

Mayor Kathy Figley and a representative from the Mexican consulate will speak to the local Hispanic community and other curious onlookers.

Without volunteer efforts, these festivals would not be possible.

Local businesses have pitched in, donating prizes that make the event family-friendly and memorable for everyone.

Other organizations such as the Downtown Association, La Pantera 940 AM radio and the city of Woodburn, along with many dedicated individuals, have pitched in to make this event a success year after year.

In Mount Angel, a similar sense of community spirit pervades each year in September with the annual Oktoberfest.

The event started 48 years ago when a group of local residents, many who had served in Europe during World War II, decided to bring back German culture to Mount Angel.

That tradition survives today with not only a Bavarian-themed downtown, but a year-round effort to promote, organize and celebrate Oktoberfest.

Roughly $650,000 is raised by nonprofit food vendors at the festival, which pays for itself and donates up to $125,000 to local causes annually.

There are an estimated 7,500 volunteers contributing their efforts, including the 19-person board of directors.

Their efforts help old-world traditions come to life for an estimated 350,000 people over four days in September.

We encourage everyone to attend both Mexican Independence Day and Oktoberfest. The sun will be shining and where else can you get a real sense of the diverse communities living in our midst?

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