Your Guide to the Perfect Portland Weekend: July 17-19

Each week throughout the summer, we’ll share dozens of ways to make the most of your days off!

July 14, 2015

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Image: Shutterstock

This weekend, discover smooth jazz, sour beer, and sassy Scotsmen!

A Friday-evening picnic under the majestic steel arches of the St. Johns Bridge? Yes, please—especially when you’re serenaded, gratis, by the smooth players at the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival. On Saturday, the 60th annual Portland Highland Games brings on the burlier side of Scottish culture. Think competitive fife-playing sounds lightweight? Try tossing a 170-pound spruce log end over end. Recover with the event’s single malt whisky tastings, or head back to town for a fruitier flight at Puckerfest 9: Belmont Station’s annual weeklong celebration of original sour beers from breweries including Block 15 and Belgium’s Cantillon. Cap the night at Providence Park, where the Portland Timbers will surely crush the Vancouver Whitecaps. Such intensity begs an easy Sunday, so pick your flavor of chill: peruse chapbooks at the Portland Zine Symposium, groove at Zidell Yards’ second annual Project Pabst (Sunday’s lineup includes Wampire, Weezer, Alvvays, and Aimee Mann), or follow the Eagle Creek trail and take the big plunge into moss-laden Punchbowl Falls.

And start making plans for next weekend... 

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!

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