AS AMERICAN AS THIS: Niki Durig and her sweet apple pie fries. IMAGE: Jarod Opperman
Every summer, the Rose Festival turns Portland's Tom McCall Waterfront Park into a 11-block-long clogged artery—an unrepentant celebration of all things fatty, tooth-rot sweet and likely to make you puke after riding the Zipper. Which is, we admit, pretty awesome. "We like to have at least one person who charbroils the burgers to get that nice smell," says Waterfront Village events assistant Laura Mears, who helps pick which vendors get to set up shop during the fest. This year, the two dozen sellers include a solar-powered coffee cart and an outfit offering "giant" elephant ears nearly 2 feet across at $8 a pop. Although classic stuff-on-sticks and "will it fry?" creations abound—fried Twinkies, Oreos, ice cream and Snickers—the "Sweet Apple Pie Fries" cart is this year's queen of the fairway, located across the way from the "Be Psoriasis Eczema Free Forever!" booth. Cart owner Niki Durig, who hails from McMinnville, says she can't really take credit for the idea. "It's from God," she swears as she decorates another pie fry with a crown of whipped cream and caramel. "I prayed about it. I was a single mom, I was broke, and I said, 'God, if you want me to make it, help me.'" That night she dreamed up her meal ticket: fresh sliced Granny Smith apples hand-dipped in her own batter recipe, fried in soy oil and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar ($5-$7 a basket)—a ridiculously good elephant ear hybrid with a tart crunch and a giant Ferris wheel-sized sugar rush. This is Durig's second year at Waterfront Village, and she says she goes through about eight cases of Oregon apples in one weekend to satisfy the crowds. Can't make it this weekend? No problem. She's looking to score a spot at Portland Saturday Market soon.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 3
Sacramento-based emo outfit Far was the gateway band for a whole generation of teenagers, including
Casey Jarman. This is one reunion tour that doesn't reek of selling out.
FRIDAY JUNE 5
Have you ever wondered what it's like to float on the clouds? Or, like, travel to space? Norwegian DJ-producer Prins Thomas makes the type of sparse, layered outer-space disco that'll make you feel like you're on drugs without actually taking any.
SATURDAY JUNE 6
All duct-tape drama aside, the granddaddy of the Rose Fest's roster of parades still thrills with flower-laden floats and marching bands.
[MUSIC] NEKO CASE
Country-pop chanteuse Neko Case has one of the most memorable voices of our generation. Plus, she's like totally hot. Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St., 225-0047. 8 pm. $25. All ages.
SUNDAY JUNE 7
Every year a director picks a play, casts the actors anonymously and rehearses them individually. The night of the performance the actors, who don't know with whom they'll share the stage, enter with the audience, running onstage for their first entrances. It's always a dangerous exercise—and this year there will be swords.
[EL GAY] LATINO GAY PRIDE Portland's fourth annual Latino Gay Pride fest wraps up with a hot night of lucha libre wrestling action at the Jupiter Hotel. Plus, live music and mercado. Jupiter Hotel, 800 E Burnside St. 4-8 pm. Free. 21+. Latino Gay Pride events take place June 4-7. Find a full schedule at latinogaypridepdx.com.
MONDAY JUNE 8
The annual award ceremony honoring outstanding achievement in PDX theater has been celebrating the best of the city's dramatic arts for 30 years.