Shows & Special Events 2021
April 10: Oregon Camellia Society Show and Plant Sale, Newberg Camellia Festival, Chehalem Cultural Center, 415 E. Sheridan St., Newberg, Oregon.
Plant Sale: 8:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m., Camellia Show and Festival: 10:00 a.m.—4:00 p.m.
10K/5K Run and Walk: 9:00 a.m.—10:30 a.m.
The Newberg Camellia Festival celebrates its city's flower with a fun-filled day that showcases the camellia's pan-Asian roots. A highlight is Oregon Camellia Society's juried show which showcases the beauty of camellia blooms. Ooh and aah, exclaiming each flower is more beautiful than the next.
How did the camellia captivate Newberg residents? It took one man, Russell Gainer, to start the ball rolling when he became "infected with camelliaitis" after his marriage in 1938. The red camellia, 'Cheerful,' at a neighbor's house caught his eye, leading him to add one camellia after another, first to his own yard, then to an adjacent lot and a large greenhouse—190 camellias in all!
Mr. Gainer, a member of Oregon Camellia Society and American Camellia Society, was also a part of Newberg Men's Garden Club. By 1949, the camellia was in its heyday, and the Garden Club adopted the camellia as the city's official flower. On April 23 of that year, "a new type of show"—an official camellia show took place for the first time. But the annual camellia show didn't gain a foothold, and years passed.
In 1997, Mayor Donna Proctor unveiled an official "Camellia Flag" for the city. Then, in 2009, sixty years after Russell Gainer and his Garden Club inaugurated that Newberg camellia show, new plans sprang to life. Denis Dooley, then President of OCS, and Bryan Stewart, Head Groundskeeper for the City of Newberg at the time, worked together with many in Newberg to enthusiastically promote the city's camellia heritage through the Newberg Camellia Festival. Today, the celebration even includes a 5k/10k race, with each contestant awarded a camellia plant at the finish. More than 5,500 attended the festival in 2019.