Make a splash this weekend with beer, Oregon's best bottles, and free Shakespeare in the park...
Now in its 28th year, Waterfront Park’s massive Oregon Brewers Festival is a suds party on steroids—sweaty, sticky, and a little cranky. Thursday afternoon is your best bet: queuing is quicker and the tap handlers are fresh. Feeling extra bibulous? Friday kicks off McMinnville’s annual three-day International Pinot Noir Celebration; absorb wisdom from “University of Pinot” seminars, then toast your education with more wine at the IPNC’s Grand Dinner under the stars at Linfield College. If last night’s wine extravaganza dulled your superpowers, Saturday’s Portland Geek Olympathon is your whetstone. The all-day cross-town tourney challenges with top-secret contests (announced just days in advance) that last year entailed circuitboards, narwhals, and whipped cream; by late afternoon, champions walk away with passes to Seattle gaming fest PAX Prime, sets of Liar’s Dice, and socks. Or opt for Saturday morning’s third annual Rip City 3-on-3 coming to the Rose Quarter, where teams of all ages and abilities face off to benefit the Special Olympics. Cheer lustily, but save some for the Bard: at 3 p.m., the Portland Actors Ensemble takes over Laurelhurst Park’s knoll for its free alfresco performance of The Taming of the Shrew. On Sunday, grab your inner tube and head to the fifth annual Big Float on the Willamette. Fun can be had on land, too, at the Lents Street Fair, Northeast Portland’s freewheeling Sunday Parkways, and local indie music showcase PDX Pop Now!
And start making plans for next weekend... July 31—August 2: From prix fixe to Pickathon & beyond
To prep for 2015's rustic Happy Valley hoedown, treat yourself to a classy dose of Friday fine dining at the sleekly modern Holdfast, which offers a nine-course tasting menu with the kind of exquisite small plates and wine pairings you probably won’t find at Pendarvis Farm’s annual roots music jamboree. Saturday morning, get thee Pickathon-bound and (cowboy boots donned and tent pitched) find a choice spot to lay your blanket near the Mountain View stage, where you can wait for just about everyone you know to amble by. Come nightfall, tick off a show at the fairy-tale Woods Stage, and indulge in some late-night stomping in the Lucky Barn. En route home on Sunday, take a detour by Powell Butte Nature Park for a rousing hike to the summit of this extinct volcano, where, if the day is clearer than your head, you’ll be treated to eye-popping views of Mounts Hood, St. Helens, Adams, and Jefferson. Back in town, slough off that festival grime with a leisurely dip in the Kennedy School’s winningly old-school soaking pool—unless, in your post-Pickathon glow, you’d feel more at home in the clothing-optional bathhouse up the street at Common Ground.