The Big Float ~

It rains in Portland. It rains a lot!  So when summer rolls around and the sun finally shines its happy light on us, everyone heads for the great outdoors and some fun in the sun – Portland style.  Which is how hubs and I ended up at The Big Float.

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

Wandering the streets of downtown Portland

This year more than 2,500 souls dragged their pale white bodies, their favorite flotation devices, kids, friends, grandma and in some cases, even their dogs through the streets of Southwest Portland making their way to Tom McCall Waterfront Park to pay the $6 fee that allowed them to participate in one of Portland’s most unique summer events. Continue reading

Off to the Races ~

Last weekend was a big race weekend in Portland.  Two races took place on the water.  Both in boats.  And that is where any similarities ended…

Sometimes a picture is worth more than any words I could try to conjure up.  Here are eight photos for you to enjoy.  We certainly did!

MILK CARTON BOAT RACES – a very interesting combination of milk cartons or jugs, a whole lot of duct tape, sometimes some very clever engineering, sometimes no engineering at all, a willing paddler or two.  Add it all together and you’ve got an afternoon of fun and competition for the entire family.

Someone drank a lot of milk to make this boat!

Someone drank a lot of milk to make this boat!

This one was a paddlewheeler and it pulled a "rose parade" float.

This one was a paddlewheeler and it pulled a “rose parade” float.

And the race is on!

And the race is on!

Milk Carton Boating - it's a family affair

Milk Carton Boating – it’s a family affair

DRAGON BOAT RACES ~ Hundreds of teams, thousands of spectators, heart thumping paddling, blazing colors, and a cheering crowd lining the banks.   A great two day event!

Portland Dragon Boat Races

Portland Dragon Boat Races


Yikes!  Grabbing the flag for the win.  Not for the timid!

Yikes! Grabbing the flag for the win. Not for the timid!

Sounding the drum

Sounding the drum

Keep on paddling!


Sand in the City ~

Our fair city of Portland is such a relaxed place to live that it comes with its own “Living Room” aka Pioneer Courthouse Square.  This brick-lined square encompasses an entire block in the middle of downtown and is home to some of fantastic events – Tuba Christmas, Festa Italiano, Festival of Flowers, Christmas Tree Lighting are just a few.  Mix in a live broadcast TV station on the square, a daily parade of soapbox sermons, office workers eating lunch, a street dweller or two, tourists with cameras in hand, and moms from the burbs with kids in tow, and you get the vibe.  Come sit awhile.  There’s  little something for everyone to enjoy.

For me, nothing tops the summertime fun of Sand in the City.   Portland’s living room is magically transformed into Portland’s beach.  Then, in just six hours, sand teams and architects transform over 450 tons of sand and 4,500 gallons of water into magnificent sand sculptures. SandintheCity These temporary works of art are absolutely amazing.    A true labor of love.  And hard work.  And skill.  And attention to the tiniest detail.  My hat goes off to the creative souls who volunteer their technical and artistic skills.  Rain or shine. sandinthecitydragon sandinthecity2

Can it get any better?  Yes, it can!  This event, is the non-profit love-child of Junki Yoshida.  Yes, he of the yummy Mr. Yoshida’s Teriyaki Sauce fame.  His business has been a huge supporter from the beginning.  The event is completely volunteer produced so nearly every dollar raised goes to support Impact NW and all the outstanding work they do in our area.

This year’s event Carving a Future For Our Kids, starts on July 19.  The sand will be in place and the teams start working their sand-casting magic at 10:00 o’clock sharp.  They must be finished by 4:00 p.m.  Entries are judged, prizes are awarded and everything opens for close up public viewing at 6:00 p.m.  There is a $10.00 admission fee – it’s your chance to have fun + do good. sandinthecityelephant See you there!  Wear your sandals.







File this one under Funky Portland ~ World Naked Bike Ride

And no, neither hubs or I have done this.  We don’t own bikes.  And we certainly wouldn’t want to scare the young ones.

But you have to admit, it looks like thousands of people are having one hell of a good time.

The World Naked Bike Ride is an annual, worldwide bike ride that highlights the vulnerability of cyclists everywhere and decries society’s dependence on pollution-based transport. It’s also a lot of fun and it’s free.  Portland has the world’s largest ride and we are looking to break the record once again in 2013.

So dust off your Schwinn, throw caution and your clothes to the wind and hit the streets.    (Yes I think there’s a pun in there someplace.)

This year’s ride is on June 8.  It starts at the Portland Art Museum.  The museum opens its doors at 8pm for riders and charges $1per piece of clothing you check.  The ride starts at 10pm.

I love that this ride starts at the Art Museum.  Here’s former mayor, Bud Clark, whose own legacy with the arts was established when he posed for this famous poster from the 1980’s – Expose Yourself to Art.  Apparently we did then, and we still do today.  Expose-Yourself-to-Art-Posters Cheers!


Portland’s Rose Festival

With just a bit of bad luck and a little civic shortsightedness, I could be living in Stumptown instead of Portland.  That was the other choice when the founding fathers were naming our fair city.  Thank goodness that someone came to their senses and Portland won.

Portland is also known as the City of Roses.  Roses thrive in our damp, temperate climate. In fact, roses grow so well here that Portland is home to the International Rose Test Garden, which is not to be confused with the Rose Garden where our beloved  Trailblazers lost a whole bunch of basketball games this year.

Oops!  Back to the roses.   Each year in June, Portland becomes the true Rose City as we celebrate a month long series of events known as Rose Festival.  What started back in 1907 as a celebration of an abundance of beautiful blooming roses and a way to promote Portland to the rest of the country and the world, is now a series of too many events to count.  The Grand Floral Parade is still the centerpiece event.   It is the second largest all-floral parade in the country, after Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade.

Hubs and I couldn’t get it together for our own parade float, so this year we’re doing the next best thing. The Grand Floral Walk.  Yes, if you get up early enough, you can walk  the entire 4 mile parade route as it crosses the river and winds through downtown streets.  Thousands of Happy Portlanders line the streets.  Thousands of Happy Portlanders walk the route.  People cheer!  TV cameras roll!  Breakfast and a Bloody Mary follows!  It’s all good!  And then the “real” parade begins.

But wait, there’s more…SO much more.  If you are in P-town during the month of June, here are just a few of the other fun, fabulous and funky Rose Festival events you won’t want to miss ~

Starlight Parade – This evening parade sports lighted entries and lots of crazy fun and merriment along with bands from every high school within a 100 mile radius.  My personal favorite is the One More Time Around Marching Band, a true Portland original, with over 400 members, age 18 to 80.  If you played or marched in a high school band, you can relive your glory days with the One More Time Around gang and play Louie Louie in the parade.   I think that’s their only song.

Fleet Week – Yes, the Navy ships and the Coastguard comes to town!   Hug a sailor.  Tour a ship that’s docked right along the seawall.  Unfortunately this year’s Sequester Budget Cuts may keep the sailors out at sea.  Bummer!

Dragon Boat Races –  Two days. 80 Dragon Boats racing furiously across the river.  (not all at the same time.  They run in heats) I love the flashing color, the high energy, the bang, bang, bang of the drum that keeps the paddlers in time.

Air Festival –  Wing Walkers, Harrier Jets, WWII bombers (and sometimes the pilots who flew them), breathtaking arial acts and interesting ground displays all take place at the Hillsboro Airport about 15 miles from downtown.  Side Note – I used to work the beer tent here just for fun many years ago.

Milk Carton Boat Races –  This event features handmade, human-powered water-crafts, made from milk jugs or cartons.  Portlander’s are creative and we re-cycle so this is a natural.  Head over to the Westmorland Park Casting Pond to join the fun.

Milk Carton Boat Race - Portland Rose Festival

Milk Carton Boat Race – Portland Rose Festival

There is never a shortage of fun and quirky things to do in Portland.  Especially in the summer.  Here is a link to many more Rose Festival festivities.  There is definitely something for everyone.