Summer Guide 2012: Summer Events Calendar

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Foot Traffic Flat: Sauvie Island
Compared to Portland proper, Sauvie Island is mercifully flat. That makes it a great place for farmers who grow pumpkins and strawberries, and for runners who can keep it in the same gear while running a marathon (or a half-marathon or 5K). Your efforts will be rewarded with strawberry shortcake made with island strawberries and served by the villagers. The Pumpkin Patch, 16511 NW Gillihan Road. Race begins at 6:30 am July 4. Shuttle available from Silver Cloud Inn, 2426 NW Vaughn St. Registration closes June 28. $28-$100.

Kiteboarding 4 Cancer
The largest amateur kiteboarding event on the continent is in its sixth year. Boarders will ride in either a six-hour endurance race or team relay. Hood River Event Site, North 2nd Street at waterfront, Hood River. July 13-15.

Portland Highland Games
The Scottish king summoned the participants of the original Highland Games. Today, it’s self-selecting, though typically draws large men who don’t mind wearing a skirt while throwing something heavy. More of a celebration of Scottish customs than a show of superiority, the 60th anniversary of Portland’s version has a kilted mile run, fiddling competition, dance contests and, of course, plenty of big rocks and logs being thrown. Mt. Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St., Gresham. 8 am-8 pm July 21. $10-$20.

Paddle Oregon 

This 105-mile paddle spans five days and will get you intimately acquainted with the Willamette River. Paddle the day away, then enjoy wine, entertainment and catered meals before retreating to your sleeping bag. Put-in at McCartney Park, 28946 Cartney Park Drive, Harrisburg. Aug. 13-17. $549-$649.

PDX Adult Soapbox Derby

Watch racers roll down a volcano on homemade, wheeled contraptions. And if you’re interested in besting the neighbor boy, there’s still time to enter. Unlike the kiddie version powered by gravity alone, this one is fueled by sweet, sweet ethanol. Mt. Tabor Park, Southeast 60th Avenue & Salmon Street. 10 am-4 pm Aug. 18. Free to watch.

Hood to Coast Relay
One of the world’s largest relay races covers 199 miles and goes right by Portland. Runners start at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood and wind their way to the beach in Seaside. After the 1,050 teams of 12 runners complete the route, spectators can join participants in the sand for a beach party with live music and an awards ceremony. See Aug. 24-25.

The capper to summer, RiverFest celebrates the Willamette. Events for 2012 haven’t been announced yet, but fireboats are usually the highlight of this three-day festival. See Sept. 21-23.

Portland Triathlon

One of the “20 best triathlons in America,” according to Men’s Health magazine, the Portland Triathlon is also remarkably green. You’ll find local organic food at aid stations and medical tents staffed with naturopathic doctors. The swim in the Willamette River under the St. Johns Bridge is a highlight for spectators. Cathedral Park, North Edison Street & Pittsburg Avenue. 7:30 am Sept. 23. $80-205.


There is no interest too quirky or hobby too nerdy to combine with biking at Pedalpalooza. Are you Scottish? Kilt Ride. Expecting? Pregnant Pedal. Think you’re too badass for those? Try the Badass Challenge. Various locations. Through June 30. Most events are free.

Sunday Parkways

For five hours on several Sundays this summer, the city closes off miles of streets to cars and opens up the neighborhoods to foot traffic. There’s food, music and family activities in parks and on sidewalks along the route. Various locations. 11 am-4 pm June 24, July 22, Aug. 26, Sept. 30. Free.

Bridge Pedal
Once a year, the bikes get the bridges. Nearly 20,000 bicyclists and pedestrians will cross the Willamette River’s bridges in an event that benefits the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute. Routes from three to 35 miles include the top decks of the towering Fremont and Marquam bridges, offering breathtaking views. The celebration continues at Jeld-Wen Field for a Providence Health and Wellness Expo. Starting location and time varies by route. Aug. 12. $15-$50.

Portland Twilight Criterium
Old Town streets are sealed off and filled with spectators, food carts, a hand-built bike show and a beer garden. Around them runs the course of a high-speed street race. North Park Blocks, Northwest 9th Avenue & Couch Street. 4-9 pm Aug. 10. $25-$30 to race. Free bike parking at Northwest Park Avenue and Flanders Street.

Portland Century
Take in stunning views of Portland and surrounding areas such as Bull Run, Marine Drive and Smith and Bybee lakes while riding routes of 40, 80 or 100 miles. The real draw? It’s catered, with refreshments along the way. Ride begins at Portland State University behind Smith Memorial Student Union, Southwest Montgomery Street & Park Avenue. Aug. 19. Check-in times 6-9 am, depending on route. $71.50 adults in advance, $10 under age 10.

Food & Drink

Cider Summit 
The summit features 50-plus ciders from producers in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, California, England, Spain and France. The pressing matter at this event is the apple. Elizabeth Caruthers Park, Southwest Gaines Street & Bond Ave. 11 am-7 pm June 23. $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

North American Organic Brewers Festival
Combining organic beer and sustainability, this festival boasts more than 50 organic brews and ciders, including locals like Alameda Brewing Company and Upright Brewing. Even the cornstarch glasses “made from domestically grown corn by a zero-waste, solar-powered company” are reusable and compostable. Overlook Park, North Fremont Street & Interstate Avenue. Noon-9 pm June 29-30, noon-5 pm July 1. Free admission.

It’s a pickle party! Kenny & Zuke’s hosts its second annual gathering of picklers and pickle lovers at Wallace Park. Some of Portland’s top restaurants enter vinegar-soaked foodstuffs in four categories: classic cucumber, sweet pickles, non-cucumber and Portland weird. The first person to pickle a Voodoo Doughnut takes the latter. Wallace Park, Northwest 25th Avenue & Raleigh Street. Noon-6 pm July 21. $7 to taste.

Sour beers can take up to three years to barrel-age and are sometimes a risky venture. When they turn out well, though, watch out. For the sixth year, Belmont Station supports sour-makers by putting more than a dozen sour beers on tap. Several “meet the brewer” nights will let you meet the people behind the beers. Belmont Station, 4500 SE Stark St. July 13-19.

Bastille Day Festival 
Bastille Day is now Bastille Days, as events are spread over two days in the city and at the vineyards. As long as wine and butter-laden French sauces are on the menu in both places, we support the expansion. The Portland Waiters Race is also well worth watching. Tips, we’re sure, are welcome. Director Park, 815 SW Park Ave. Noon-6 pm (race at 2 pm) July 14. Free. WillaKenzie Estate, 19143 NE Laughlin Road, Yamhill. 11 am-5 pm July 15. $30.

Portland International Beerfest
Portland beer snobs can be a provincial lot, but at this fest they embrace the wider world. Pearl District North Park Blocks, Northwest Davis Street & Park Avenue. Noon-10 pm July 20-21, noon-7 pm July 22. $25-40.

Oregon Brewers Festival 
Alphabetically, you’ll find everyone from 10 Barrel Brewing to Widmer Brothers here. Live music, a mini-museum of beer memorabilia and homebrewing demonstrations help set the scene, but you’re here for the beer. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Southwest Oak Street and Naito Parkway. Noon-9 pm July 26-28, noon-7 pm July 29. Free admission.

IPNC Passport to Pinot
It’s worth the trip to wine country to take part in wholesome McMinnville’s debauched wine-tasting weekend. You’ll find 70 pinot noir producers, and 60 or so chefs and artisans, at the big party to close it out. Linfield College campus, 900 SE Baker St., McMinnville. July 27-29. Day $150. Weekend $975.

Bones and Brew Festival
Brisket and beer—what more do you need? More than 30 beers from Oregon craft breweries, a barbecue contest, and brisket and ribs from local restaurants are here. Proceeds benefit the Oregon Zoo, so you can feel good about supporting baby animals. Buckman Botanical Brewery, Southeast 9th Avenue & Belmont Street. 11 am-9 pm Aug. 4, 11 am-5 pm Aug. 5. $10.

The Bite of Oregon
They say it’s a bite, but it’s more of a nibble. This party is more about the music and booze than the food since the best small restaurants want to truck in their food for a mostly out-of-town crowd that won’t be back for more. But for a $5 lunch, it’s worth dropping by. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 700 SW Naito Parkway. 11 am-10 pm Aug. 10-11, 11 am-8 pm Aug. 12. $5 day pass, $15 full weekend, kids 12 and under free.

Festa Italiana

Pioneer Courthouse Square becomes “Piazza Italia” for Portland’s yearly celebration of everything Italian. Events include a Giro de Portland bike race, pizza toss, bocce tournament and Italian movie night. When in Rome.... Pioneer Courthouse Square, Southwest Morrison Street and Broadway. 11 am-11 pm Aug. 23-25. Free.

Feast Portland
This celebration of Oregon’s status as a foodie mecca brings local and national cuisine stars like Hank Costello, Amanda Freitag and Mark Bittman to the stage, where they will give talks on cooking, eating and policy. Unlike your average school lecture, however, this one comes with dinner and wine. Locations vary. Sept. 20-23. Prices vary; weekend pass $350, VIP pass $650.

Arts & Music

Rontoms Sunday Patio Shows
Consistently the hottest—and free-est—Sunday night ticket in town, Rontoms pits local up-and-comers with national buzz groups and throws some of the summer’s finest shows in a rare-for-Portland outdoor setting. Rontoms, 600 E Burnside St. 9 pm Sundays all summer (warm weather provided). Free. 21+.

Concerts at the Oregon Zoo
All-ages concerts by everyone from reggae legend Jimmy Cliff to local symphonic pop juggernaut Pink Martini and, of course, Chicago. 7 pm June 22-Sept. 14. Various ticket prices.

Summer Free For All Movies in the Park
Portland Parks & Recreation presents movies in parks across the city. View classics like Citizen Kane as well as newer flicks like Moneyball. Schedule at June 29-Sept. 8. Free.

Dive-in movies at the MHCC Aquatic Center
Swim with Tom Cruise (in his Top Gun, pre-Scientology glory days) while enjoying the community college’s Olympic-sized pool. Mt. Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St., Gresham. Schedule at 7:15 pm June 29-Aug. 31. $4.50 for adults, $3.25 for children 18 and younger and seniors.

Sundown at Ecotrust
Each Thursday, Ecotrust hosts a concert at the Natural Capital Center (also known as the Ecotrust Building), powering the amps of local talent including Laura Gibson and Typhoon with a generator that uses only solar, wind and biodiesel fuel. Ecotrust, 721 NW 9th Ave. 5:30-8:30 pm Thursdays July 5-July 26.

Summer Free for All Concerts in the Park
They call it Summer Free for All, and it really is. Almost every night in July and August, enjoy a smattering of everything from Celtic to neo-Bohemian cabaret. Various parks across Portland. Schedule at Free. All ages.

Waterfront Blues Festival
Chicago has the nation’s biggest blues festival. Portland has No. 2, drawing more than 120,000 people to shows by the Steve Miller Band, James Cotton, Bettye LaVette and Booker T. Fireworks down by the Willamette. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 700 SW Naito Parkway. July 4-8. Schedule and entry prices at

Bridge Festival Block Party
Celebrate “the bridges that connect us all” with music from Solovox, Excellent Gentlemen, the Quick & Easy Boys and more. The Slate, 2001 NW 19th Ave. 5 pm July 7.

Mississippi Street Fair 
The Mississippi neighborhood prides itself on being one of the most diverse and vibrant in Portland, and its street fair certainly doesn’t hurt that image. North Fremont Street to Skidmore Street on Mississppi Avenue. July 14. Free.

Edgefield Concerts on the Lawn
Big-name acts from Ringo Starr to Gotye to My Morning Jacket perform in a setting that’s more relaxed, intimate and conducive to personal space than most outdoor concerts. Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey St., Troutdale. July 17-Sept. 29. Schedule and ticket prices at All ages.

Top Down Rooftop Cinema
If it’s a dry summer—knock on wood, folks—the Northwest Film Center will reprise its series of great outdoor cinema. Top Down will be held six nights this summer atop the Hotel deLuxe’s rooftop garage. The party starts at 8 pm with live bands and refreshments. The films start when the sun sets, so long as it’s not pouring. Hotel deLuxe, 729 SW 15th Ave. July 26-Aug. 30. $9.

PDX Pop Now! Summer Festival
Bored, disgruntled youth of Portland rejoice! Unlike festivals with expensive tickets or prohibitions on underage attendees, PDX Pop Now! remains open to all ages and is completely free. Refuge PDX, 116 SE Yamhill St. July 20-22. Free. All ages.

Flicks on the Bricks
For four weeks this summer, Friday night means movie night at Pioneer Courthouse Square. BYOC (bring your own chair) and snag some free popcorn as SmartPark presents four movies: Karate Kid (July 27), Clueless (Aug. 3), A League of Their Own (Aug. 10) and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (Aug. 17). Pioneer Courthouse Square, Southwest Morrison Street and Broadway. Fridays at dusk. Free.

Smmr Bmmr
Check your vowels at the door—you won’t be able to decipher speech anyway after experiencing the earth-shaking volume of Smmr Bmmr. This annual garage-rock festival will feature King Tuff, Shannon and the Clams, and Personal and the Pizzas, among others. Plan B,
1305 SE 8th Ave. Aug. 3-4.

The city’s biggest outdoor festival continues to drift away from its grassy origins, but with headliners like Y La Bamba, White Denim, Dr. Dog and Neko Case, it’s hard to pine for the good ol’ days. Pendarvis Farm, 16581 SE Hagen Road, Happy Valley. Aug. 3-5. $190 for the weekend.

Warped Tour 
Ride your skateboard (or your mom’s minivan) down to the Rose Quarter for Warped Tour, which this year features Rise Against, Pierce the Veil, Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard and a bunch of kids that look vaguely like Justin Bieber but are actually totes HRDCRE! Rose Quarter Waterfront, Aegean Lot, North Thunderbird Way. Noon Aug. 5. $31.50.

Alberta Street Fair 
Alberta Street has worked for over a decade to become an art district and cultural center, and this event shows that off with a focus on local businesses, vendors, artists and performers. Northeast Alberta Street between 10th and 30th avenues. 11 am Aug. 11. $2 suggested donation.

Oregon State Fair
Until someone opens a county fair food cart, the state fair is your best bet for scoring a slice of deep-fried cheesecake and a deep-fried candy bar. Peruse 500 deep-fried exhibits or try your hand at deep-fried carnival games. Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St. NE, Salem. Aug. 24-Sept. 3. 10 am-9 pm Sunday-Thursday, 10 am-11 pm Friday-Saturday. Ticket prices $6-11.

Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival
Jump state for Vancouver’s finest wine, jazz and art festival. Esther Short Park, 8th and Columbia streets, Vancouver. Aug. 24-26. 4-10 pm Friday, 11 am–10 pm Saturday, 11 am–9 pm Sunday. $20-$25. $60 three-day pass.

Oregon Symphony Waterfront Concert
Join the Oregon Symphony as it kicks off the 2012-13 season with a free concert. The festivities culminate in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture and fireworks. It’s tradition. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 SW Naito Parkway. Aug. 30. 5 pm Portland Youth Philharmonic, 7 pm Oregon Symphony. Free.

Portland’s largest music festival is back. The festival humbly offers up to Portland a figurative feast of musical talent with Beirut, Girl Talk and Silversun Pickups headlining in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Various locations throughout Portland, see Sept. 5-9. $75 all club shows and one show at the square, $125 all indoor shows and all three shows at the square, $250 all-access VIP pass.

TBA Festival
Hit the workshops in the morning and the impromptu galleries by night as the Time-Based Art Festival turns Portland into an all-hours exhibit of contemporary visual and performing arts. This year’s event includes Mexican theater company Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol, musician Aki Onda and filmmaker Sam Green screening a documentary on R. Buckminster Fuller with a live score by Yo La Tengo. Various locations. Sept. 6-16. $8-$25 individual events, $250 full-festival pass. All ages.

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