The River Rock Summer Concert Series spreads out along the bank of the Willamette River, drawing crowds to watch legends and rising stars of rock, blues, and soul strut their stuff. Local Northwest wine and beer offerings are available and food vendors dish up everything from pulled pork and mac and cheese to jambalaya and oyster shooters. Families can enjoy the children’s area presented by Discovery Village with hands on activities such as blowing bubbles or constructing a functional recording booth from giant blocks.
For nearly two decades, three-day festival The Bite & Brew of Salem has celebrated Northwest American summer through beers, food, and outdoor entertainment. Held on the grassy lawns of Riverfront Park, the annual event combines family-friendly entertainment with performances by 15 local and national bands on two outdoor stages. Meanwhile, local breweries such as Salem Ale Works, Hop Valley Brewing Co., and Gilgamesh Brewing pour more than 60 draft beers, including a few hard-to-find concoctions. To complement the suds, a plethora of Oregon food carts and restaurants serve sweet and savory fare under the blazing July sun.
West Fest 2011, an outdoor music festival nestled in Wallace Marine Park, entertains concertgoers with a brimming lineup of classic and contemporary rock performers. Headlining musician Chuck Prophet—known for recording alongside Warren Zevon, sharing stage space with Lucinda Williams, and living up to his last name by predicting future events—takes the stage at 8 p.m. with his band The Mission Express. Session guitarist Jeff Pevar from David Crosby side-project CPR opens the night at 6:30 p.m. with a solo performance and three-handed ventriloquist-dummy quartet.
The fifth-annual Oregon Brews and BBQs festival floods McMinnville’s Granary District with frothy craft beers and the smoky scent of barbecue. With a souvenir beer glass and beer tokens in hand, guests can sample 50 craft beers from 22 breweries, including Block 15, Golden Valley Brewery, and Raccoon Lodge. The hoppy flavors complement tender barbecued meats, many of which grill masters have slow cooked throughout the night by using low heat and a boogie-man-repellent seasoning. Live musicians punctuate the air with such acts as The Jake Blair Band, which blends wailing slide guitar with gravely vocals and harmonica for a blues buffet. Audiences can dance along, check out the jewelry and art from local vendors, or explore the kids' zone. This year, proceeds from the festival will benefit the Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation and the GhanaHope Foundation.
When he's not whipping the youth league of the Portland Timbers into shape, Waterfront Fitness's owner Jason Bell heads to the city’s riverside parks to shape up everyday citizens with rigorous athletic drills. He and his team of six trainers convene beneath Portland's sky during all but the coldest months, incinerating calories during one-hour boot camps held every morning and evening. Other group sessions include Box Fit classes, featuring high-speed punching drills and cardiovascular throwdowns beneath the boughs of mighty park trees, which quickly learn to never pick on any of Jason's students. The trainers also provide general and sport-specific personal training for exercisers in search of an intense, highly personalized regimen to build muscle or burn fat.