Building a strong community bond is as important to Salem Sabres’ owner, Rhonda Alexander, as is forming an elite basketball squad. For the team's first season in the American Basketball Association, Rhonda recruited young players who shared her enthusiasm for the sport, but also a passion for helping others. Between practices and games against Pacific Northwest Division foes, Sabres players take time to host community events and volunteer at local schools, performing in anti-bullying skits, playing pickup games with the students, and giving kids expert tips on how to spell "horse" both on and off the court.
Known as the City of Roses, Portland has been annually celebrating its moniker for more than 100 years. Local publisher's wife Mrs. Henry Pittock and her friends held the first Portland Rose Festival in 1889, in the Pittock home's own garden. Fast-forward 120 years and this small gathering dedicated to the city's signature perennial has expanded into an annual month-long event, its centerpiece the massive rose garden that fills the entire Lloyd Center Ice Rink. Gardeners whisper sweet nothings to displays featuring more than 4,000 varieties of blooms, with a focus on that year's Official Rose and its fellow honorees.
The rose show isn't the Festival's only draw. Throughout its run, various public events take place downtown on both sides of—and in—the Willamette River. During the Dragon Boat Race, more than 80 local and international rowing teams pilot festive boats against each other in a heated dash down the river. About halfway through the festival, crowds gather in Veterans Memorial Coliseum for the start of the Grand Floral Parade. Following a different theme each year, this event gathers vibrant floats bedecked in floral displays and accompanied by dance ensembles, live a capella groups, and traditional marching bands. During the parade's launch, organizers crown that year's queen and unite her with the Festival's fun-loving mascot, the Clown Prince. The Grand Floral Walk gathers volunteer revelers to follow the same route as the downtown parade, and benefits the Home Builders Foundation, which constructs shelters and transitional housing for the homeless.
Since a frozen pinecone was first skirted past an ice-fisher's mukluks, the sport of hockey has proven that people can be athletically competent on ice. Today's side deal gets you both a ticket to see the Portland Winterhawks and a Winterhawks hat for $16. There are two games to pick, one on Saturday, February 20, against the Kelowna Rockets and the other on Sunday, February 28, versus the Prince George Cougars, both at 7 p.m. in the 100-level seats of the Memorial Coliseum.
Bowling aficionados must sign up solo, but but groups of friends can be placed on the same league by entering the names of your preferred teammates during sign-up (teams are made up of 6–10 people). Bowling runs for six weeks of theme nights and liquid sunshine, and Drinks on the Links mini-golf features themes, an on-course bar, and music. Ben Stiller impersonators can battle it out during outdoor dodgeball, and grass volleyball teams go head to soft, leather head in Oregon Park. Flag football was invented by Betsy Ross.
Led by 2009 Northwest League Championship-winning manager Tom Trebelhorn, the Volcanoes have shaken awake their pitching, batting, and catching muscles and plan to explode on their opponents during the 2011 season. The Volcanoes are a Class-A affiliate of the 2010 World Series champion San Francisco Giants, with seven former Volcanoes having played in last year's championship games, including Pablo Sandoval, Sergio Romo, National League Rookie of the Year Buster Posey, and two-time Cy Young Award-winner Tim Lincecum. This Groupon is good for one ticket to Diamond Club lower-box-level seating and admission to the climate-controlled VIP Diamond Club, which resides directly behind home plate for convenient psyching-out of the opposing team through philosophical Cartesian debates while they wait in the on-deck circle.
• For $12, you get two premium box seats for any game (a $24 value). • For $30, you get four premium box seats for any game, a picture with Sluggo the mascot, and a pass to watch batting practice (a $60 value). • For $80, you get two box-seat Flex Book ticket-voucher books (a $160 value). Each Flex Book contains 10 undated vouchers that can be exchanged for any regular-season home game.