With Martin Luther King’s Day right around the corner, Portland has put together a bunch of fun, multicultural events that every member of the family will dig while reminding us all how valuable diversity is and how lucky we are to live in a city that embraces it. If learning the African Flower Dance and listening to African stories sounds like something your littles would enjoy read on to find out about these events and others lined up for the weekend.

habibaphoto: Multnomah County Library via Flickr 

SE Portland

Attend the First Saturday Concerts in Milwaukie
Jump, dance, hop and groove with your little ones at the First Saturday Concerts. These musical opportunities give you and your little wiggly ones the opportunity to bond over cool tunes in a family friendly setting. Sat. Event Details.

Learn the African Flower Dance
Join the Mathias Galley African Dance Ensemble in learning the ceremonial African flower dance that is performed during weddings, births and holidays. Mathias will do a short performance before teaching these moves to the audience. In this fun and energetic workshop, Mathias will use native instruments, including African drums and bells, to get the audience up and moving to the beat. Sat. Event Details.

Attend the All American Magic and Ventriloquist Show
Get ready for two hours filled with head-scratching illusions, music and the hilarious comedy magic of Mark Benthimer and ventriloquist, Scott Davis. The theater also has a snack bar with cotton candy and popcorn for a buck, pizza by the slice, plenty of free parking and an onsite retail Magic Shop. Sat. Event Details.

Attend the OMSI Studio Ghibli Film Festival
OMSI will present a Studio Ghibli Retrospective from January 12-18. This seven-day event will feature dubbed and subtitled screenings of 14 films from the animation company co-founded by renowned Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. Enjoy classics such as My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke along with more recent releases like The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Fri., Sat., & Sun. Event Details.

N Portland

Check Out the Portland Boat Show
Head down to the 57th Annual Portland Boat Show and get excited for spring! There will be new and pre-owned fishing boats, ski boats, yachts, and personal watercraft. Visitors will also find the latest in paddle sports, accessories and gear. Sailing exhibits will be on display and boat building crafts will be available for the kids. Fri., Sat. & Sun. Event Details.


Join the Baltimore Woods Renewal
Friends of Baltimore Woods will host a work party to repair an area of the woods that has been overrun by invasive plants like blackberry and clematis. Volunteers will seek out marked native plants, clear away the invaders around them, and mulch around their bases. The work will be physical but not strenuous. Parents will find helpful activities for children 6 yrs of age and up. The Friends of Baltimore Woods will provide guidance, gloves, and all the necessary tools. They will also provide camaraderie, coffee, tea, water and power snacks. Sat. Event Details.

SW Portland

Don’t Let the Pigeon Take Over the Library
The library has never been this fun before! Grab your little readers and head downtown where you will enjoy a collection of stories, songs, and skits inspired by Mo Willems’ books. Meet the Pigeon, Duckling, and some new characters like Shy Llama. Sat. Event Detail.

Enjoy Listening to African Storytelling
Stories are meant to inspire, entertain and provoke. Join Habiba, a native of Ghana, in learning stories about African history. Habiba offers an interactive, multicultural performance with authentic West African costume, spiced with singing and movement. These stories will help you and your kiddos explore your own world as well as those far, far away. Sat. Event Details.


Roll on Columbia! A Celebration of the Columbia River Watershed
The Water Resources Education Center is kicking off 2017 with a tribute to the watershed we call home — the mighty Columbia River Watershed. Have you ever wondered how big the watershed is and how it was formed? What animals call the Columbia home? How do humans depend on the watershed? Explore answers to these questions and more with games, science experiments and crafts during this family-friendly afternoon of discovery and exploration. Sat. Event Details.

Oregon City 

Enjoy Sounds Along the Oregon Trail
Catch the Heartstrings Musical Duo! Nancy and Rob Downie play a variety of instruments that were common during the Oregon Trail migration period, including hammered and mountain dulcimers, fiddle, acoustic bass, banjo and Native American flute. Their program features music from the Lewis and Clark era through the Civil War, information on the history of the tunes, and the origin and construction of their instruments. The program ends with a sing­along, and a chance for your kids to see the instruments “up close and personal” and to have a mini-­lesson! Sun. Event Details.

How does your family celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day? Share with us in the comments below.

—Annette Benedetti