Oregon celebrates the end of summer perfectly with plenty of festivals all over Portland and its surrounding areas—and many of them are free! Try a new type of food at a cultural festival, take your bike for a spin at Sunday Parkways or go big at the huge Solarfest Celebration for the eclipse. No matter how your family plans to honor the end of summer, you’ll find some excellent options here. Read on for seventeen great celebrations!

photo: kurt edblom via flickr

The Big Ones

Oregon State Fair
Oregon’s biggest summer festival is the state fair! Enjoy carnival rides, top-billing entertainment, farm animals, and craft displays, while eating as much fair food as your stomach can handle. Creep the kids out with the snakes at Extreme Creature Feature, or take a break and get a birds’ eye view at the Fair Lift. You’ll want to stay all week!

Aug. 25- Sep. 4
10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
$8/adults; $3 children (6-11), free for children under 6
Parking $5, cash only
Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center
2330 17th St. NE
Salem, Or
Online: oregonstatefair.org

Oregon Solarfest
The astronomical event of the century hits Oregon this month! Don’t miss out on seeing the eclipse, but remember: traffic might be crazy, so plan ahead and be prepared with safe-viewing glasses!

This huge festival in Madras is hoping to be Ground Zero for all eclipse-viewing. With food, entertainment, camping, the fair even has a Kids Dome with over 10 big inflatables and lots of games!

Aug 17-22, all day
All weekend passes $60/adults, $45/children 4-11
One-day passes $20/adults, $15/children 4-11
Downtown Madras, Or
Online: oregonsolarfest.com

photo: pui s via Yelp

Food and Culture Fairs

Festa Italiana
The 26th annual celebration of Italian culture continues in downtown Portland at this free festival! Stop by for delicious food, wine and beer garden, entertainment, and Italian fun. Thursday night opens with opera, and this year they’ve expanded their activities for kids: a puppet theater, face painting, animal balloons, and a kids parade through the festival can all be found at this free event.

Aug. 24-26, 11 a.m-11 p.m.
Free admission
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Portland, Or
Online: festa-italiana.org

 

India Festival
This huge one-day festival brings over 10,000 visitors to downtown Portland, wooing them with lush dancing performances, music entertainment, and a wide variety of India’s cuisine. The sights, sounds, and smells of India are all around!

Sun., Aug. 13, 11 a.m.- 9 p.m.
Free admission
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Portland, Or
Online: icaportland.org

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest
The little community of Mt. Angel, just south of Portland, explodes every September with Bavarian sounds and smells. This long-running festival is a community favorite, and holds plenty of activities for the whole family. A ‘Kindergarten’ tent offers various age activities like a bounce house, rock climbing and kinder-focused music. Singing, dancing, plenty of arts and crafts, and a chance to see the town’s Glockenspiel are all great reasons to go. But the best reason might be the chance to dress up the whole family in traditional Lederhosen. Ja?

Sep. 14-17
Four day all festival pass $30/adults, free for children under 21
Day pass $10/adult, discounts available
Mt. Angel, Or
Online: oktoberfest.org

Polish Festival
Attracting over 15,000 across the Polish community, all are welcome to join in the fun! Mouth-watering Polish food and beer, stage performances, traditional dance groups can be found here, and you won’t want to miss the polka contest!

Sep 16 & 17
Sat. 11 a.m.- 10 p.m., Sun, 12 p.m.- 6 p.m.
Free admission
3900 N. Interstate Ave.
Portland, Or
Online: portlandpolonia.org

Beaverton Night Market
Reminiscent of international night markets, this event draws on the diversity of Beaverton to offer a wide range of cultures. Food, music, dancing, and entertainment from places as far-flung and close-to-home as Nigeria, Lebanon, Tonga, and Indonesia. Challenge your kids to each choose a new cuisine to try: take a trip around the world with your neighbors in your very own community.

Sat., Aug. 12, 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Free admission
The Round
SW Rose Biggi Ave. & Crescent St.
Beaverton, Or
Online: beavertonoregon.gov

Photo: tom springer via flickr

Street Fairs

NE Sunday Parkways
Happening all over Portland all summer, the Northeast version of this event closes almost seven miles of streets to traffic. Walk, bike, roller-skate or skateboard through the streets, while nearby parks offer activities and music. This has a great slow pace for little ones new to their wheels, or it’s a fun family day for older kids more comfortable with riding.

Sun., Aug. 20, all day
Free to join
Route online
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Hawthorne Street Fair
This southeast hub has been partying for years at their annual street fair, and you’ll definitely want to join in! Kids at Heart toy store has special activities for the youngsters, and parents will find fun at the three beer gardens, 100 shops and vendors, main stage with live music.

Sun., Aug. 27, 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.
Free admission
Hawthorne St, mostly between 31st and 41st
Portland, Or
Online: hawthornepdx.com

Belmont Street Fair
With over seven blocks closed to car traffic, the Belmont Street Fair offers the classic combination of shopping, music, eating, and more. A kids area welcomes Olive the clown, face-painting, and even a bounce-house!

Sat., Sep. 9, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Belmont St, from 33rd to 39th
Portland, OR
Online: facebook.com/events/

Tigard Street Fair
Tigard’s downtown street fair is a day full of fun and activities, with plenty geared for kids! A bounce house and activities will keep the little ones busy, while the whole family can enjoy street side vendors, all day music, community and music stages, food, fun and more! Stay afterward for a Latin American festival into the evening.

Sat. Sep. 9, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Free admission
Main Street, Downtown
Tigard, Or
Online: exploredowntowntigard.com

photo: jennifer smith via Flickr

Quirky Fairs

Brick Fest Live
The touring exhibit full of Lego fun hits Portland this month, promising an amazing time for the Lego-lover in your life (whether they are 5 or 35!). Over a million Lego bricks await, and countless things to create. The Glow Zone holds mystery, the Derby challenges you to race your custom brick cars, the video game arena promises fun for virtual lovers, and collaborative activities abound. Add to the Guinness World Record Sized floor mosaic, or create your own mosaic tile.

Aug. 19-20, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
$20/person, free for children under 2
Portland Expo Center
2060 N Marine Dr
Portland, Or
Online: events.brickfestlive.com

Bigfoot Festival
This whimsical festival celebrates all things Bigfoot in nearby Troutdale. Challenge the family to carnival games, enjoy food carts and shopping, and top it all off by casting your very own Bigfoot mold! Muse on the question of whether the Northwest’s favorite mythical resident is real, while having a blast of a day.

Sat., Aug. 19, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Donation requested: $5/adults, $2/kids 12 and under
Glen Otto Park
1102 E. Historical Columbia River Hwy
Troutdale, Or
Online: oregonbigfootfestival.weebly.com

Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire
Take your princes and princesses to the faire! Just outside of Corvallis a land of merriment awaits, with minstrels, artisan stalls, food tents, and over 1,000 costumed players ready to thrill. Billed as an interactive living history village, plenty of entertainment fit for youngsters can be found at this family-friendly event, and you might even learn some real history!

Sep. 9-10, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
$11/adult, $5/children 6-12 and seniors, free for children under 6
Parking is free
King Valley, OR
Online: http://shrewfaire.com/index.php

What’s your favorite end of summer celebration? Tell us in the comments below!

—Katrina Emery