Parades, fairs, and fiestas—oh my! Between now and June, you and the kids can ring in spring at one of Portland’s many festivals. From Woodburn’s brightly colored tulip fields to alien encounters in McMinnville, here are a half-dozen of our favorite annual events happening in and around the metro area, rain or shine.
photo: David Shenson, via St. Agatha Catholic School
St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival
Each year St. Agatha Catholic School organizes a fun run, parade and carnival to celebrate Portland’s favorite Irish saint. After the 5k run ($10/person or $20/family), you and your little leprechauns can parade through the streets alongside green-clad children and grownups, many with decorated bikes, strollers and wagons. Then head to St. Agatha for live music, dancing, a kid’s carnival and Irish fare. Both the parade and carnival are free to attend.
March 18, 11 a.m. (run); noon (parade); 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. (carnival)
7960 SE 15th Ave.
Oregon Ag Fest
Celebrating Oregon’s agricultural roots, this annual two-day festival is well-worth the drive to the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. Watch as the kiddos experience more than 20 hands-on activities that explore life in our rural communities, such as petting farm animals, riding ponies, planting seedlings, shucking corn and racing mini tractors. To make it even more affordable for families, parking and all kids activities are free as well as admission for children 12 & under. For ages 13 & up, the cost is $9.
2330 17th St NE
photo: Tom Dixon via Flickr
Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest
Spend a morning, day or more exploring up to 40 acres of brilliantly-colored flowers at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm’s annual week-long tulip fest. Admission is free for kids (!) and $5 for ages 13 & up. Parking is included along with activities such as pony rides, wooden shoe making demos, a 4-acre garden, craft booths, a children’s play area, steam tractors and more. Add-on like the bouncy cow train ride and the train tour are $3-5/person. You can also buy bulbs or fresh-cut tulips to bring home.
March 24-April 30, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
33814 S Meridian Rd.
Latino Cultural Festival
You and the kids will discover a kaleidoscope of Latino food, music, games, dance, art and more at this rapidly growing cultural event. Since 2004, it’s been held every year at the Hillsboro Civic Center, where much of greater Portland’s diverse Latino community lives. (In fact, Latinos account for nearly a quarter of western Washington County’s population.) All ethnicities are welcome and admission is free.
150 E Main St.
photo: Bruce Fingerhood via Flickr
McMenamins UFO Festival
Every year, McMenamins and Hotel Oregon hosts an out-of-this-world, multi-day bash celebrating all things extraterrestrial. Most events are centered around Hotel Oregon and downtown McMinnville, with lots of family fun on Saturday. Kick off the morning with the Alien Abduction 5K Dash and/or the 1.5-mile Kids Fun Run ($30/5K; $15/fun run), then spend the afternoon browsing the outdoor festival tent and listening to live music before joining the free alien costume parade through town.
May 20, 9 a.m. (run); 1 p.m. (parade staging); 2 p.m. (parade)
310 NE Evans St
Portland Train Day
Train enthusiasts of all ages will have a blast at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center’s annual Portland Train Day. (Train Days are a national event that commemorate the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in 1869.) Along with the center’s three historic steam locomotives, there are host of activities for all ages, including exhibits, games, live music, and (of course) train rides. The event is free but donations are much appreciated.
May 6, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
2250 SE Water Ave.
What’s your family’s favorite spring festival or parade? Let us know in the comments!