Portland is gearing up for the Fourth of July, but you don’t have to wait for fireworks for the fun to get started. Attend a concert, play games with your kiddos or head to Vancouver and get dirty with young diggers. Read on to find what Portland has in store for your family this weekend.

photo: Fort Vancouver National Historic Site via flickr

SW Portland

Join the Friday Night Groove
Check out free Friday night music featuring DJ George at Director Park! Located in the heart of downtown Portland, the park’s mission is to be a public piazza that provides an elegant, clean, safe, and versatile space that is actively programmed to complement downtown, support arts and culture, and highlight Portland Parks & Recreation. Friday nights offer an opportunity for you and your littles to move and groove in a great place! Fri. Event Details.

Go for a Story and Stroll at Tryon Creek
Your littles will love this neighborhood walk. This program integrates nature exploration, art, literature, movement, and outdoor play. It is geared toward families with young children (preferably ages 2-6) but all are welcome. Space is on a first come, first served basis; register in the Nature Center 30 minutes before the program starts. Sat. Event Details.

Check Out American concert with the Rose City Gay Freedom band
Join the Rose City Gay Freedom Band to celebrate America with classic and contemporary band and swing music. You and your littles will have the opportunity to celebrate the transition from Pride month to the kickoff for the 4th of July in Director Park! Sat. Event Details.

NE Portland

Attend OzCon 2017
The 53rd annual OzCon celebrates all aspects of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz. Special guests include Doug Aberle, animator of Return to Oz, and John Fricke, Judy Garland historian. Experience a re-creation of the 1934 Wizard of Oz Radio Show sponsored by Jell-O. Dress as your favorite Oz character to win cash prizes in the Oz Masquerade. Plus dealers room, auction, Awards Banquet, Columbia River cruise, quizzes, treasure hunt, and plenty of programming. Fri., Sat., & Sun. Event Details.

Friday Lunchtime Music
Head to Holladay Park for a free lunchtime concert. Feel free to bring your own low back chair or blanket to enjoy the free music event. You can kick back and relax while your littles move and groove or get in on the fun. Fri. Event Details.

Attend the Special Celebrations 2nd Annual Independence Day Festival in Vancouver
Don’t miss Special Celebrations 2nd Annual Independence Day Festival. It’s sensory friendly: no booms, no Fireworks. Bring a picnic style dish to share.Family fun and activities include: potluck style picnic, games, crafts, inclusion for all celebrators parade, special guest performances including super hero squad and more! Sat. Event Details.

Participate in Family Game Day
All ages and abilities are invited to relax and partake in an afternoon of drop-in games. You and your young gamers are invited to enjoy table top chess boards, giant checkers, dominoes, bowling, ping pong and a large variety of board games while connecting with community members! Sat. Event Details.

N Portland

Make Beach Bucket Planters
Summer is here and what better time to reminisce about the beach. Join in the fun with a colorful beach bucket, planted and designed by you with beautiful flowers. You won’t want to miss this Al’s exclusive class! Sat. Event Details.

NW Portland

Attend the Northrup Station Luau in NW PDX
Join Northrup Station for the 2nd Annual Summer Luau! Hula on down, and enjoy complimentary bites from Noho’s Hawaiian Cafe, tastings from Coffee Time and Bull Run Distillery, and much more. With a free caricature artist, photo booth, and drinks (even beer and wine for the big kids), the whole family can create special Summertime memories.

This free event will feature locally owned and operated businesses from our community who will be bringing fun activities for young and old. See what Nob Hill and the NW district has to offer, and have some family fun with the Inn. Sat. Event Details.

 

Vancouver

Join Kids Dig in Vancouver
This popular program introduces kids aged 8-12 to the fascinating world of archaeology! In this program, kids excavate a site with trowels, screen dirt, measure and map their finds, and discover the historical secrets that lie below our feet! Kids also learn about the importance of protecting archaeological sites for future generations. Kids work with park staff, volunteers, and students from our Public Archaeology Field School. Space is limited to 20 kids. Reserve your spot at the reconstructed fort on the day of the program, or call (360) 816-6250 to make reservations in advance. The Kids Dig program is free with admission.Sat. Event Details.

What is your family’s favorite thing to do before the Fourth of July festivities kick in?

—Annette Benedetti