The Weekender: 8 Fun PDX To-Dos

I spent last weekend sailing Seattle’s Lake Washington in a 26-foot sloop with nautically-inclined friends, drinking sparkly from rubber-bottomed plastic goblets, trying not to upchuck our prawns, and sleeping with our eyes propped open in case we were attacked by Emerald City pirates and we had to fight them off with empty cremant bottles, prawn tails, and mouldy life jackets. Can we top that this weekend? Maybe not. But we sure can try!

After all, the city is a hotbed of to-dos—from lavender fests and pickle-offs to wine country mixers and car-free bike rides, to Southeast street fairs and hot Scots in kilts throwing their haggis around. All pirate free! (Not guaranteed, after all, this is Portland).


picklefest2nd Annual Picklefest

As we all learned from Portlandia, we can pickle that, but wouldn’t you rather let Woodsman Tavern, Ned Ludd, Oven & Shaker, Bluehour, Gruner, Wildwood, Little Big Burger and Biwa do it? Tomorrow, Saturday, July 20th, they will, at the 2nd Annual Kenny & Zuke’s Picklefest at NW Portland’s Wallace Park, from 12-6pm. Admission is free, there will be live music and good eats, and for $7, you can taste all Picklefest entries and throw your hat in the People’s Choice Award ring. The winner gets pickled. I mean, widespread adoration.


portlandtomatobattlePortland Tomato Battle

It’s been a long week. You’ve got pent-up frustrations. What better way to unwind than to make marinara by throwing 300,000 manky old tomatoes at perfect strangers outside MacTarnahan’s taproom in industrial NW Portland, on Saturday from 12-7pm? It sure beats that boring, unmessy punching bag in your basement. Register at noon, drink some beer, enter the 3:30pm costume contest, then commence tossing your tomatoes at 4pm. If for some reason, all 300,000 tomatoes are toast by quitting time, the organizers promise mud as a stand-in. You are also advised to wear goggles, and you must leave your tennis rackets at home, cheater cheater, tomato eater.


portlandhighlandgamesPortland Highland Games

Since the first moment I laid eyes on Sean Connery’s 007, I’ve had a hankering for Scottish man-candy, and that was even before I knew they liked to run around commando in big manly plaid skirts, playing their pipes. On Saturday, July 21st, at 8am, Mt. Hood Community College transforms into a sea of tartan and caber tossing all set to the strains of live Celtic music, and fueled by haggis, a beer, wine and single malt garden, and a 60th Anniversary Cake. Be still, my plaid pleats-loving heart!


oregonberryfestOregon Berry Festival

Glancing at my raspberry-stained keyboard, I guess it’s obvious where I’ll be this weekend once I’ve tired of ogling Scottish men and their big poles—the Oregon Berry Festival at Ecotrust, where the general attitude is best summed up as, ‘let them eat strawberry shortcake.’ And berry ice creams, pies, cobblers, jams, Marionberry BBQ sauce, Loganberry liqueur, cranberry chocolates, natural blueberry soda, etc., too. On Friday, July 20th, from 12-6pm and Saturday, July 21st from 11am-4:30pm, listen to family-style tunes on the Bluesberry Stage, meet “Ima Blueberry,” and eat berries until you go all Violet Beauregarde.


lavendardaze8th Annual Oregon Lavender Daze

Lavender is so much more than just the aromatic stuffing in microwaveable eye pillows—it’s the impetus for the über-charming Annual Lavendar Daze Festival in Hood River, now in its eighth season. On Saturday, July 21st from 10am-7pm and Sunday, July 22nd from 10am-5pm, set against one of the most breathtakingly beautiful backdrops perhaps ever, this fragrant festival will feature Gone Smokin’ BBQ, Solstice Woodfired Pizza, Catheral Ridge Winery, and Heights Ice Cream, and when you’re done stuffing yourself, you can make a lavender head wreath, meet the author of the Lavender Lover’s Handbook, and release ladybugs into the wildflower garden.


montavillastfairMontavilla Street Fair

It wouldn’t be a proper Portland summer weekend without a street fair, and Montavilla steps up this Sunday to represent. On July 22nd, from 10am to 4pm, a variety of food, arts and crafts vendors will dot SE Stark and side streets, Roscoe’s will host a beer and cider garden, Montavilla Farmers Market will be doing their delicious thing, and last but not least there shall be that hallowed staple of all street fairs worth their fleur de sel—face painting.


pdxswsundaypSW Portland Sunday Parkways

The brand-new Southwest Portland Sunday Parkways debuts Sunday, July 22nd, from 11am-4pm, winding its car-free way through Hillsdale and Multnomah Village, where you’ll find a veritable carnival of festivities, including Zumba and Bollywood dancing, a slip and slide, live music, a pet adoption center (might want to make sure there’s room in your bike trailer for a puppy), all sorts of food booths, free basic bike repair booths, and the FoodFront berry tasting. Did I mention the slip and slide?


agricureanescapepicAgriCurean Escapes at Red Ridge Farms

EverGreen Escapes debuts their new lineup of epicurean tours, aka AgriCurean Escapes, on Sunday, July 22nd, from 5-8pm, with a farm-to-table summer celebration at scenic Red Ridge Farms in Dayton. There will be farm tours, a mini-farmers’ market, and a whole host of Agricurean Escapes purveyors and participants on hand—from Rex Hill Winery and A to Z Wineworks to Salt, Fire & Time and Briar Rose Creamery to Three Little Figs and Kookoolan Farms, all bringing the best of Portland and wine country you, so you don’t have to traipse more than a few paces between sips and samples.


PS: There is also a beer fest this weekend, but they never return my emails, so I shan’t bother to elaborate. As it pains me to leave you suds-lusters hanging between this moment and next weekend’s Oregon Brewers Fest, check the Eater PDX summer boozie newsie for more info.