Starting with a maypole and ending with a national holiday, the whole month of May is pretty much one long spring celebration! If your kids love tamales, alien sightings, ribbon dances, carnival rides or bulldozers—then there’s something for everyone in your crew. Read on to find out how you can get your family to a new festival every weekend in May.

photo: Jason Lander via flickr

May Day Celebration with McMenamins

The Kennedy School has long been a place of fun and games for Portland-area kids. Combine that with the centuries-old tradition of dancing around the maypole, and it’s a guaranteed festival! The whole family is invited to watch local schoolchildren perform the ribbon-dance and then enjoy an afternoon filled with kids’ crafts, face-painting and live music and entertainment.
When: Mon., May 1
Hours: Kids music starts at 3pm, maypole dancing at 4:30pm and 5:30pm
Where: Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd Ave.
Cost: Free

photo credit: Olivia O. via Yelp

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Now in it’s 33rd year, this is the largest multicultural festival in the state of Oregon! Head down to the waterfront for a full weekend of carnival rides, food vendors, an Artisan Village with artists from Jalisco and special entertainment. The Plaza de Ninos has a special area for kids ages 13 and under, with free arts and crafts, and special face painting. Create your own pre-Columbian wind flute, learn about the Dia de los Muertos, or just enjoy the rides and festival!

When: May 5, 6 & 7
Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Where: Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, SW Naito Pkwy.
Cost: $10/person: $6/child 6-12; Free for kids 6 & under

Doggie Dash with the Humane Society

Celebrating 30 years, the Oregon Humane Society’s annual Doggie Dash is a fun casual ‘race’ to help raise money for shelters, fight animal cruelty, and find homes for pets. Join other animal lovers (and their dogs) in a run along the Waterfront—kids 10 and under are free! Register online to help raise money and earn recognition prizes. On the day-of, participants can enjoy a pancake breakfast and the option of running/walking two routes: the 1.5 miles Doggie Dash Classic for walkers only, or the 2.5 miles Bridge to Bridge route for walkers or runners. This is a fun, untimed dog-friendly event with lots of free activities planned, making it perfect for kids!

When: Sat. May 13
Hours: Registration opens at 7:30 a.m., Run/walk waves begin at 9 a.m., activities all day
Where: Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, SW Naito Pkwy.
Cost: $35/person, $40/person day-of: Free for kids 10 & under and dogs

photo: Keri Logan via flickr

Aliens at the UFO Festival

The sleepy wine-country town of McMinnville wakes up every year for this nationally-renowned festival. Your little science and sci-fi fan will love to see all the costumes in the UFO festival parade, or join in the fun for the Alien Abduction Dash 5K & Kids’ Fun Run. Don’t miss the Alien Pet Costume Contest, Alien Lasertag & Dodgeball (for kids ages 9-16), live music, food, and alien-inspired fun!

When: May 18-21 (Run and parade are on Sat.)
Hours: Various (see website for schedule)
Where: Hotel Oregon, 310 NE Evans St., McMinnville 
Cost: Free parade and activities, Kids’ Fun Run $15, Lasertag $19 for non-residents

Sunday Parkways

This years’ set of car-free events kicks off on May 21st, with a great 7 mile route through Southeast Portland. Roll out your bikes, boards, skates, or walking shoes and enjoy the streets. Jump on the route at any point, scan the sidelines for lemonade or cookie stands, and take breaks at parks like Laurelhurst, Colonel Summer, Sewallcrest and Ivon for food, music, dancing, and fun. Whether your kids are new to biking or old pros, this event is a great way to show them Portland’s supportive biking community and discuss bike safety and fun. Check out the online map for the complete route!

When: May 21
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m
Where: SE Portland (see website for complete route)
Cost: Free

photo: Chan Mya Soe via flickr

Dozer Days

This annual event is held at the Clark County Fairgrounds every year, and allows a safe and fun place for every tiny fan of Things With Wheels to go crazy. Your child can try out the controls of real heavy construction equipment, fire engines, ambulances and police cars. With a little help from a professional adult, they’ll get to actual drive! (“Big kids” adults can try some out too). Additional activities include scavenger hunts, a diamond dig, and other games for all ages. The event benefits children’s charities across America.

When: May 20th-21st
Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Clark County Event Center and Fairgrounds, 17402 NE Delfel Rd., Ridgefield, Wa
Cost: $8-$10 advance; $11-$13 day of event; free for kids under 2; parking is $6 cash only

CityFair at the Waterfront

Join in on Portland’s oldest festival with the CityFair on three consecutive weekends in a row! Starting May 26 with opening night fireworks, each weekend promises new fun and events. Visit A Walk on the Wide Side for exotic animals, arts and crafts in the Kid Zone, Fleet Week events with visit from the US Navy and Coast Guard, and more. Regular attractions include a family-friendly carnival, a food fair, the human catapult at 25 stories high, and lots of stages for entertainment.

When: May 26-29, into June
Hours: 5 p.m.-11 p.m. opening day, 11a.m.-11 p.m. 
Where: Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park, 1020 SW Naito Pkwy.
Cost: $10 season pass souvenir pin or $8/person per day; free for kids 6 & under and military

Which May festival is your family’s favorite?? Tell us in the comments below!


—Katrina Emery