Painted Hills Festival kicks off Labor Day Weekend in Mitchell

Contributed photoSiblings Merle Boehlke and Vernita Jordan are the grand marshals of the 2018 Painted Hills Festival Sept. 1 in Mitchell. Born to Clarence and Hattie Boehlke, they were raised in Paulina and moved to Mitchell in 1960, both graduating from Mitchell High School.

Now in it’s 23rd year, the annual Painted Hills Festival in Mitchell boasts two music and entertainment stages, a half marathon, 10K and 5K fun-runs, grand parade, quilt and art show, vendors, food, a bounce house with water slide and water trough races.

The festival, hosted in downtown Mitchell (48 miles east of Prineville on Highway 26), celebrates the majestic beauty of one of Oregon’s seven wonders, the Painted Hills National Monument.

The day begins at 7 a.m. with the Half Marathon, 10K and 5K run shuttle bus leaving Spoke’n Hostel on the west edge of town. Half Marathon runners begin their journey over rugged back country roads (with several water support stations) at 7:30 a.m. 10K and 5K runs stagger start as the shuttle bus moves closer to town. Registration for the run can be done online at

Festivities, music and fun start as runners make their way to the finish line in the heart of downtown Mitchell. Two performance stages in town — one at the City Park and one at Tiger Town Brewing Company — host entertainment including music, puppet shows, square dancers and the annual pie auction.

The Grand Parade begins at 11:30 a.m. with grand marshals Vernita Jordan and Merle Boehlke leading the way. The parade traditionally makes the best of the short route by passing through town twice for good measure.

A quilt and art show fill the upstairs of the Mitchell Community Center on Nelson Street.

At 3:30 p.m., the road will be cleared for the inaugural Water Trough Races, an unorthodox gravity powered race where contestants must create a rolling water trough with steering and brakes, for a low speed race down Main Street.

Parking is available at the Mitchell School Gymnasium parking lot on High Street with hourly shuttles to downtown.

Schedule of performances, events, and other details about the free, family friendly Painted Hills Festival can be found at


Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.