What to Do in Portland (Sept. 20-26, 2023)

Professional team, duo and solo flyers will perform tricks and stunts at D River beach in Lincoln City this weekend.

EAT & DRINK: Ava Gene’s Fall Wine Dinner Series

Fall officially begins this week, so get settled into cozy season with a multicourse dinner that celebrates both the harvest and local wine. Ava Gene’s is hosting this new series of meals in its private dining room, Fora, which kicks off Sept. 20. The first event features Dundee’s Day Wines, which exclusively uses sustainably grown grapes from small area vineyards. Those beverages will be paired with four dishes from co-executive chefs Amelia Kirk and Ross Effinger. If you can’t make the kickoff dinner, or you just so happen to want to go again, there are four more on the schedule, and each menu will be completely different from the last. Fora, 3377 SE Division St., 971-229-0571, avagenes.com/wine-series. 5 and 8:30 pm Wednesday, Sept. 20. $150.

GO: The Chehalis Flying Saucer Party

You’ve probably heard of McMinnville’s annual UFO Festival, but did you know that Chehalis, Wash., has its own otherworldly celebration based on another midcentury sighting? In 1947, Kenneth Arnold coined the term “flying saucer” after spotting nine mysterious objects over Mount Rainier while piloting his aircraft, which departed from the small Lewis County city’s airport. Locals say that kicked off the modern UFO media frenzy, which included everything from The X-Files to Independence Day to alien abductee appearances on daytime talk shows. Chehalis will salute its contribution to our nation’s obsession with all things extraterrestrial with this two-day event, which includes the Northwest Flying Saucer Film Fest, a lecture by a “paranormal ranger,” a screening of the Tim Burton classic Mars Attacks!, and a Saucer Drop, where attendees can catch pint-sized UFOs and possibly win a prize. Various locations, Chehalis, Wash., 360-748-0831, flyingsaucerparty.org. 10 am Friday and 9 am Saturday, Sept. 22-23. Prices vary.

LAUGH: ComedySportz NW Regional

The improv program that treats comedy not just as a show but a sport turns 30 this year. After pivoting to online performances during the pandemic, ComedySportz is back every Saturday in person. However, this week it’s holding a two-day regional competition, which will feature teams not only from Portland, but also Seattle, Boise and San Jose, Calif. The contest leads up to the 2024 world championship in Milwaukee, so get your ticket and cheer on the locals. CSz Portland Arena, 1963 NW Kearney St., 503-236-8888, portlandcomedy.com. 8 pm Friday and 7 pm Saturday, Sept. 22-23. $15 in advance, $20 at the door.

GO: Rose City Comic Con

It’s that time of year when you’re bound to run into everyone from Spider-Man to Boba Fett to the Scarlet Witch on the MAX as 50,000 pop culture die-hards make their way to the Oregon Convention Center for the Rose City Comic Con. This year’s headliner is Zoe Saldana, best known for playing green-skinned Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise as well as Neytiri in Avatar. Other notable names include Ralph Macchio, Rebecca Romijn and Alex Kingston, but there are dozens and dozens of actors, podcasters and authors of varying levels of fame who will attend for photo and autograph sessions. Consider this a warning to either find your getup now or steer clear of the Convention Center if you’re cosplay averse. Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., rosecitycomiccon.com. 1-8 pm Friday, 10 am-7 pm Saturday and 10 am-5 pm Sunday, Sept. 22-24. $15-$535.

WATCH: The Immigrant Story

The Immigrant Story, a volunteer-run nonprofit, began in 2017 in response to a deadly Kansas shooting that same year that was racially motivated. The project, which aims to promote empathy and inclusion, has so far told the tales of nearly 200 immigrants on its multimedia site. Here is an opportunity to hear four stories of courage and resilience in person from immigrants who came to the U.S. from Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Iran and India. Following intermission, a musical performance will feature local singer Shivani Joshi produced by renowned Indian composer Balamurali Balu. Portland Center Stage at the Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave., 503-445-3700, theimmigrantstory.org. 7:30-10 pm Saturday, Sept. 22. Free.

LISTEN: An Evening with Natalie Merchant

Whether you discovered her when she was lead singer of the 10,000 Maniacs or during her stellar run as a prominent voice of the ‘90s alternative scene, you’ll have a wonderful time catching up with Natalie Merchant, who took a break from the music scene until just recently. She returned to songwriting during the pandemic, which resulted in the release of Keep Your Courage, her first solo album in nine years. During this Portland stop on a tour promoting the project, you’ll hear plenty of new works but, almost assuredly, some of your favorite old tracks that will take you back to your Lilith Fair days. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St., 503-248-4335, portland5.com. 8 pm Saturday, Sept. 23. $49.50-$99.50.

GO: Annual Fall Kite Festival

Before fall storms move in that bring winds to the coast that are far too strong for kite flying, head out to Lincoln City for the autumn version of its kite festival. Professional team, duo and solo flyers will perform tricks and stunts at D River beach, you can make your own kite during a Saturday workshop (just don’t fly it at the event—that sand is reserved for the experts this weekend), and there will be carnival games for kids with a Pixieland motif, the town’s short-lived, sprite-themed amusement park that was done in by lousy weather. D River State Recreation Site, 101 Highway 101, Lincoln City, 541-996-1274, oregoncoast.org/events/annual/fall-kite-festival. 10 am-4 pm Saturday, 11 am-4 pm Sunday, Sept. 23-24. Free.

GO: Corvallis Fall Festival

We’re gonna say it: Corvallis is Oregon’s superior college football town. It’s simply more charming, more walkable and not filled with Eugene fans who, in several past polls, have been rated as the “most boorish” in the league. While the Beavers aren’t playing at home the same weekend the Corvallis Fall Festival takes place, it’s still worth making the drive down I-5 for this event, which is now in its 50th year. There will be nearly 200 booths showcasing the works of local artists, two stages for live performances, a Saturday Night Street Dance and a Mardi Gras-style parade (whether beads will be thrown for revealing acts is yet to be known, but we’d guess that’s a bit too risqué for well-mannered Corvallis). Central Park, 650 NW Monroe Ave., Corvallis, 541-752-9655, corvallisfallfestival.org. 10 am-6 pm Saturday and 10 am-5 pm Sunday, Sept. 23-24. Free.

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