March 23rd, 2020

McMinnville: A community that rises to any occasion

If you’ve visited McMinnville, you already know our little piece of Oregon’s wine country is awesome, perhaps more so than those of us who live here. We all sometimes take things for granted. Maybe we’re used to it. Maybe it takes a gentle reminder, like an out-of-town guest waxing poetic about McMinnville.

Or, a not-so-gentle reminder. A pandemic, for example.

Here in McMinnville, even though many are effectively sheltering in place, there’s no shortage of reminders why this is a special place to live. Here are a few:

Linfield Music Professor, Anton Belov. Photo credit: Linfield College

THE MUSIC COMES TO YOU: I recently found Aquilon Music Festival founder Anton Belov online — live, on his Facebook page — singing opera. Beautiful. Then, he took it one step further, starting a Facebook Karaoke page. Here in McMinnville, we’re giving each other the gift of music, even while we’re homebound.

BOOKS ON DEMAND: Third Street Books in downtown McMinnville is proving that not even COVID-19 can keep a good brick-and-mortar store down. The store remains open a few hours daily and delivers books you’ve purchased — if you’re lucky enough to live here

MORE BOOKS ON DEMAND: Our library may be closed, but the online doors remain open. McMinnville cardholders may borrow an eBook with Library2Go, or take an art/craft class with Creativebug. 

THE MERRI ARTIST: We have a fabulous art supply store downtown. The shop itself is closed, but you can order online. They offer shipping and curbside pickup. 

SPEAKING OF CURBSIDE SERVICE, many of McMinnville’s world-class restaurants know how to get you your favorite local dish even when you can’t visit. (Editor’s note: Restaurants are constantly adapting as the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to unfold. Give your favorite restaurants a call or follow them on social media to remain informed about the services that they are currently providing.)

ARTISTS WHO TEACH: Last week I found myself in a photography class with local artist and gallery owner Marilyn Affolter — on Facebook. Say what you will about Facebook, it’s enabled artists like Belov and Affolter to bring their stuff to the public, free of charge.  

REEL HOLLYWOOD VIDEO: McMinnville has a terrific, locally-owned video store. Owners Martin Solano and Jessi Adrian have kept the store open with extra safety precautions in place, and you can search their inventory using an app on their Facebook page.

I’ve visited other Oregon towns myself where I’ve thought, “Wow, it would be awesome to live here!” Do the people who live there know that? Hopefully.
If you live here, let this be your gentle reminder that we’ve got the best town, full of amazing people who can rise to any occasion. 

David Bates is a McMinnville writer who has appeared in Gallery Theater productions since 1998.