Although technically the first month of spring, March can sometimes feel a bit more like a prolonged winter slump, especially here in rainy Portland. But, sometime in March, the cherry blossoms in Waterfront Park declare it springtime in Portland.
Rain or shine, Oregonians are welcoming spring with festivals, Mardi Gras celebrations, and annual runs and bike rides.
March 1, 7-10 p.m., Mississippi Ave, Free
March 1 marks Fat Tuesday and the kick-off of the 2022 Portland Mardi Gras Parade. The “most authentic Louisiana Mardi Gras experience in the PNW” will make its way down Mississippi Ave, led by jazz musician Mel Brown, this year’s Grand Marshal. Brown, the Mysti Krewe of Nimbus, and any other Portland parade-goers. The celebration starts at the corner of Humboldt and Albina and makes its way down to Cook St, before letting the post-parade festivities rip—pizza and beer at the Mississippi Pizza Pub, music from Cajun band Swamp Thang and Pete Krebs’ the Catnip Brothers, and more. And if you don’t have time after work to deck out in purple, green, and gold, the Mysti Krewe has got you covered with plenty of beads and mini umbrella throws.
March 6, 12-7 p.m., Castaway Portland, $30-50
SheBrew PDX beer festival focuses on womxn in the craft beer, cider, and mead world. Sunday’s festival, SheBrew’s seventh year running, will highlight the work of more than 30 female brewers, including booze from local favorites including Portland Cider Company and Leikam Brewing. The $30 general admission fee includes a tasting card for all home brews, 10 tasting tickets for professional brews, and your admission price is donated in full to the Human Rights Campaign. And if you’re the DD or on childcare duty for the day, the family-friendly festival will also have entertainment, games, and last, but certainly not least, tater tots.
March 12-13, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Oregon Convention Center Halls A & A1, $11-20
Whether it be your 6-year-old child or your 23-year-old partner, everyone seems to know someone who’s very into LEGOs. Surprise your kids (or kid-at-heart partner) with two days full of some ridiculously impressive LEGO creations. Gawk at hundreds of custom-made models on display, browse the vendors selling both new and vintage LEGO sets, and or just hit the designated areas for LEGO-lovers to free build to their heart's content.
March 4–6, Various times, Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites, $20 per day (some events require an additional cost)
Friday marks the beginning of the 18th Oregon Chocolate Festival—think chocolate creations from all over the West Coast, plus no shortage of chocolate-themed events. There's chocolate spa treatments (chocolate-infused massage oil, anyone?) and cocktail demos, educational workshops (did you know cacao can be used as medicine?) to science experiments where kids can create their own hydrophobic hot chocolate. The festival also boasts live music, food trucks, photo booths, face painting, and a pop-up market selling local goods.
March 13, various times, $25–99
Start stretching. Now in its 44th year, the annual Shamrock Run in Portland continues with distances from the one-mile Leprechaun run for kids to a half marathon. Runs start and end at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Don’t forget about the post-run party, with a beer garden, a kids' zone and live music. (For participating runners, remember to pick up your t-shirt and bib at the two-day Fitness Fair, March 11 & 12, at the Oregon Convention Center.)
March 20, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., $49–65
Come rain or sleet or snow, the Worst Day of the Year Ride always sallies forth (except for the year they cancelled due to ice, but we digress.) This year Portland’s annual costumed ride is happening Saturday, March 20. Riders can register for three routes of varying distances. The price of admission gets you a hearty breakfast, a half-time party at Breakside Brewing, a costume contest, and more. Ride in your best costume, organized by category: weather-themed, elaborate, group costume, and punniest. Stay for an after-party lunch at Lucky Labrador.
Cherry Blossoms in Waterfront Park
Though there’s no official event commemorating the arrival of the cherry blossom display at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, do take time this spring to amble through the aisle of pretty pink trees near the south waterfront. The spectacle happens a few weeks only once during the year (and peak bloom varies depending on the weather), and it’s not to be missed. Expect tons of foot traffic and lots of families and newlyweds posing for photos.