Aside from all of the fireworks and rodeos taking place around Independence Day, July offers a myriad of unique, active and cultural adventures your family can totally get into. There’s a kids’ mud run, the Scottish Highland Games, Cathedral Park Jazz Festival and a boat float adventure down the Willamette, for starters. Read on to find out about the memorable experiences you could be spending this month with your posse in Portland.

Subaru Kid's Obstacle Challenge

photo: Subaru Kid’s Obstacle Challenge

1. Stock Up on Laundry Soap for the Subaru Obstacle Course Challenge
The Subaru Kids Obstacle Course Challenge will have kids (and adults) running through tires, swinging on ropes over mud puddles, crawling through mud and more on the 3/4 mile track with 10 obstacles designed by Eight 18 Productions and the Army National Guard. Sat., July 11, $40/child (parents free), Ages 5-16. Event details.

2. Dunk It at the Mississippi Avenue Street Fair
A parade, 40 live music acts, 200 vendors and a dunk tank (!) make this one of the best-attended street fairs in Portland. Sat., July 11, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

3. Come Sail Away at the Wooden Boat Festival
This fifth annual family boat building competition and demonstration will let you watch teams launch finished projects, then build your own toy sailboat, take sailboat rides, check out live music and see a classic wooden boat show. Sun., July 12, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

Bagpipes

photo: Pixabay via creative commons

4. Fiddle Around at the Portland Highland Games
Enjoy boatloads of Scottish Highland-influenced music, dancing, sheepdog demos and a variety of unbelievable competitions. In addition to the fiddle, harp, bagpipe and drumming contests, there will be the traditional heavy athletics, including the one-mile kilted race, swinging the Scottish Hammer, the Caber Toss (throwing a Spruce log) and the Portland Stone throw, which involves heaving a 96-lb. stone harvested from the Sandy River farther than your kilted buddy. Fri. noon-10 p.m.;  Sat. 8 a.m.-8:30 p.m., July 17-18, $8-$17/person or $45/family, All Ages. Event details.

5. Sherwood Robin Hood Festival Hits the Mark
How cool is an entire weekend festival based around the original Robin Hood? There’s a parade, archery contests, castle building competitions, a knighting ceremony and tons more to do at this weekend-long festival. Fri.-Sun., July 17-19, Free, All Ages. Event details.

Cathedral Park St. Johns Bridge

photo: firstoptiononline.com via creative commons

6. Cut the Rug at the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
Sit on the hilly bank of the Willamette River, under the majestic St. Johns Bridge while jazz fills the air and the kids run around and dance. Plenty of food and drink vendors will be on hand, so you won’t need to bring anything but a blanket or chairs. Note: finding a parking spot near the venue can be challenging, depending on the time of day you go, and the hills in and around the park are steep for little feet. Fri.-Sun., July 17-19, Free, All Ages. Event details.

7. Get Cultured at Beaverton’s Party in the Park
Beaverton’s largest community event of the year includes favorite events like the Classic at T-Hills car show, the Family Triathlon and the fourth annual Beaverton International Celebration with culturally diverse music and dance performances and food, giant inflatable play structures, climbing walls, arts and crafts, face painting and more. Sat., July 25, Free, All Ages. Event details.

8. Tube Time: It’s The Big Float V
Grab your raft, canoe, inner tube or kayak and head down with your family to the Willamette River (yes, the Willamette!) for The Big Float V. This annual event encourages people to “get into the river” as a way to help keep it clean and treasure it as recreational resource.  Gather at Tom McCall Waterfront Park’s Bowl, then march south down the river parade-style to the put-in point beneath the Marquam Bridge. Floaters will paddle down the river to the beach party, back at Tom McCall Bowl, where a music barge with 2 live bands, food carts, booths and a kids’ area await.  Registration is required. Sun., July 26, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., $5-$10/person, All Ages. Event details.

Sunday Parkways

photo: Portland Bureau of Transportation

9. Roll and Bounce at Sunday Parkways – Northeast
It’s the northeast quadrant’s turn to close off 8 miles of streets from cars and open them only to non-motorized bikes, strollers, feet and skates.  Check out the Northeast Neighborhood Greenways and take a pit stop for bouncy houses, food and activities at Alberta, Fernhill and Woodlawn parks along the route. Sun., July 26, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

10. Eat Elephant Ears at Washington County Fair
National performers, livestock on display, dog frisbee events, thrill rides and so much more await at this huge county fair. July 30-Aug. 1, 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Free admission; $7 parking, All Ages. Event details.

What’s your favorite July activity?  Let us know in the Comments section below.

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—Suzie Ridgway