For 30 years, The Bite of Oregon has rolled out its tents, tables, and stages every summer for a multiday celebration of the state?s food, culture, and residents. Attendees raise their forks to the idea that ?Life Tastes Better Here,? a mantra the festival lives up to by offering a culinary bounty crafted by some of Oregon?s most talented chefs. From small plates to full meals, vendors distribute their creations and, in between bites, regional wines and craft beers splash both new and familiar flavors across palates. As visitors wine and dine, local and national bands provide the soundtrack from multiple stages.
Demonstrating its respect for the community, The Bite of Oregon strives to be a Zero Waste event, each year producing less waste by lining its grounds with recycling stations and hiring unemployed goats to eat everyone?s napkins.
The Lane County Fair, first run in 1859, fills the August air with live music, enticing aromas, and the twinkling lights of carnival rides. Gain inspiration for future shower concertos with performances by Tommy Tutone, Nashville's Eric Church, and Creedence Clearwater Revisited, formed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame rhythm section of Creedence Clearwater Revival, all of whom headline the lengthy list of mainstage performers. Biwheeled vehicles reach new heights in the Boost Mobile Freestyle Motocross Tour, and the eight All-Alaskan Racing Pigs trot merrily around their sawdust-covered track as bystanders watch. The fair's many carnival rides, including the new ground-dwarfing Vertigo, a brightly-colored adrenaline enhancer that cradles heights seekers in swings and whisks them up 100 feet high for a towering view of the lights below, attract revelers and seatbelt fanatics alike ($0.50/ticket, rides take multiple tickets). Local farmers and craftspeople await the bestowment of ribbons as they display their skill and handiwork in numerous exhibitions.
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.
Chasing down your favorite food truck typically requires a little planning. Getting more than 20 of them together requires a herculean effort or a giant sinkhole. Happily for motorists and foodies alike, Portland Summer Food Cart Festival has done the legwork. Mobile vendors trundle their gustatory delights to the fest, doling out tasty treats from crepes and cupcakes to authentic Cajun food. Live music wafts through the air, and inspires games of musical chairs in the beer garden where guests can pair their food with a refreshing brew. And the festival doesn’t only benefit foodies—the profits go to ALSO, or Adult Learning Systems of Oregon, a non-profit that supports people with developmental challenges.
Minstrels, sword-swallowers, falconers?all were common sights on the streets of 16th-century European villages. Now, over the course of 13 days, a talented band of players descends upon The Oregon Renaissance Festival of Hillsboro to recreate those days of yore. Schooled in the methods of improv theater, actors inhabit their roles as fairies, sword-fighters, and members of the royal court, among others. Members of RoundTable Productions even suit up in knight's armor to compete in a joust attended by fair maidens and correspondents from ESPNMedieval.
While warhorses charge at one another, artisans in the marketplace hawk handmade clothing, jewelry, and wooden crafts. Ditto the festival's food purveyors, who satiate pre-industrial appetites with spinach pies, turkey legs, bread bowls of hearty soup, and steak on a stake. After a bite, hop aboard hand-powered rides or perform chaste dances to English rounds crooned in five-part harmony.
The course itself carries on that fun vibe, too. Winding through city streets and local parks, the 5K route is dotted with hydration stations that dole out hot chocolate. Holiday music, a giant Santa inflatable, and snow blowers help to set