Holiday Ale Festival: Go by bus & let TriMet do the driving

Beer lovers, rejoice! It’s time for the 19th annual Holiday Ale Festival. Craft breweries from near and far come together for this celebration, boasting over 50 different holiday ales. Whether you like porter, red ale, IPA, or stout, there’s something here for everyone. And because the event is located in the heart of downtown Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square, it’s also easy for everyone to get there using public transportation.

Tasting packages can be purchased at the door for $35 (CASH ONLY), and include a souvenir mug and 12 beer tickets. Additional beer tickets can be purchased for $1 each. One beer ticket gets you a 4oz “taster” size pour of beer, and a few limited release and special tapping beers require two tickets. You can get a full mug of beer for four tickets, however some limited release and special tappings may not be available in full mug pours, or may require double tickets. On-site food will be available for purchase and will be provided by Urban German Grill and Bunk Sandwiches. Check out the complete event program that includes the names of breweries and beers they will be sampling. Continue reading

Holiday Gift Guide for Public Transit Commuters: Parts I & II

One of my favorite things in the world is giving gifts. I love to give gifts of all kinds, tangible and otherwise, to the special people in my life regardless of the time of year. So when the holiday season comes around, I revel in the experience of sharing joy, love, and gratitude, often in the form of buying gifts for my friends and family. One of the most satisfying things about giving gifts is achieving that delicate balance of what a person wants and what they will find useful … thoughtful presents with a purpose. Here you will find thoughtfully curated gifts for the public transit commuters in your life (or possibly your own wish list!).


Holiday Gift Guide for Public Transit Commuters Part I: $0 – $100

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Holiday Gift Guide for Public Transit Commuters Part II: $100 – $300

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Article by Stephanie Paris

Little Boxes: Shopping by Bus on Black Friday & Small Business Saturday

Shopping at Flora, photo by Mikola Accuardi

There are countless reasons why I am completely in love with Portland, and the Little Boxes shopping event has just been added to that long list. Little Boxes is a two-day shopping event on November 28th and 29th that supports local businesses. Personally, I love shopping, but I can do without the crowds, urban sprawl, and gluttonous nature of the “Big Box” superstores. I also love keeping my money in my community by purchasing at independent and neighborhood shops. So often the quality and uniqueness of the things you’ll find at these shops ends up being the most auspicious and memorable gifts for those lucky enough to be on your holiday gift list. As if the benefits of supporting your community and finding perfect gifts for your friends and family wasn’t rewarding enough, the Little Boxes event also has a raffle tied into the mix, with a chance to win huge prizes. Watch this fun video for a great visual presentation on how to play while you shop. Continue reading

Holiday Tree Lightings & Festivals in Portland

Even though big retail stores have had Christmas decorations out since the end of October, for many of us, the real harbinger of the holidays is the annual holiday tree lighting. And no matter where you live in Portland, there’s a tree lighting or festival just an easy bus ride away. I’ve even included a couple lightings in the nearby cities of Gresham and Milwaukie. Each listing below includes the closest TriMet stops to the corresponding tree lighting. Take advantage of TriMet’s trip planner to enter your starting location and the event’s address as the ending location for a detailed trip itinerary. Happy Holidays!


1. Pioneer Courthouse Square 701 SW 6th Ave., Portland, OR 97204

Friday, November 28th 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. 

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Photo by Travel Portland

“Thousands of Portlanders will gather at the Square to celebrate 30 years of lighting of the spectacular 75ft Tree provided by Stimson Lumber Company.  This year’s event will feature a holiday sing-a-long featuring Thomas Lauderdale with members of Pink Martini, “Oregon’s Own” 234th Army Band and the Pacific Youth Choir.  A pre-show with the NW Community Gospel Choir will begin at 5:00pm.” Click here for more information.

Continue reading

The Bite of Oregon

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The Bite of Oregon is an annual festival and fundraising event for Special Olympics Oregon that takes place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. It is a celebration of some of the many things that make Oregon unique, highlighting our abundant quality of life in terms of our food, drink, entertainment, and community. As you experience the Bite, you’ll discover so many reasons why some of us just can’t leave Oregon, and why others keep coming back. With downtown Portland being one of the easiest destinations to get to by bus, there’s no excuse not to journey down to what is sure to be one of the tastiest events of the summer.

Food:

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This year’s theme is Oregon’s Bounty, and as expected, some of Oregon’s culinary finest will be there in full force to bring you delicious preparations using Oregon’s local seafood, beef, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, potatoes, dairy, and more. Bites at each vendor will range from $2 – $9, and between the Oregon Bounty Chef’s Table, food carts, specialty food vendors, and desserts, the offerings are sure to please the most discerning palate.

Drink:

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With a whopping 718 vineyards, 314 wineries, and more than 40 varieties of wine, Oregon is one of the top wine destinations for wine connoisseurs and amateurs alike. The tap also flows freely with an abundance of beer in Oregon, with 120 brewing companies in the state. Though these breweries are spread across 59 cities in Oregon, Portland boasts 51 operational breweries, more than any other city in the world. Some of the finest of these libations will be on site to sample, as well as many non-alcoholic choices as well.

Entertainment:

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The Bite has all your entertainment bases covered. With two music stages and a full lineup each day of the festival, the Garden Stage and Vineyard Stage provide top notch local musical artists. There’s even a Kids Area Stage that’s fun for the whole family, featuring kid-friendly activities including interactive stage performances from the School of Rock, as well as face painting, balloon artist, and much more. And of course it wouldn’t feel complete without culinary entertainment. At the Northwest Chef’s Stage, watch cooking demonstrations, and even Iron Chef competitions with local Oregon chefs.

The 31st annual Bite of Oregon takes place August 8th, 9th, and 10th. For more information including event times and ticket prices, please visit the Bite of Oregon website.

This event is accessible by TriMet bus lines 4, 6, 9, 10, 14, 15, 17, 19, 31, 32, 33, 35, 36, 38, 44, 45, 51, 54, 55, 56, 92, 99, Max Blue, and Max Red. See this complete list for the closest stops to Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Visit TriMet’s trip planner for further assistance in planning your trip. 

 

Photo credit:

Header: Phil Romans on flickr / Bite of Oregon Chef: Loren Kerns on flickr / Tacos: Adam Sawyer / Beer: Adam Fagan on flickr / Stage performer: Electrolatino on flickr

 

Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival

The Pickathon Indie Roots Music Festival at Pendarvis Farm in Portland, Oregon is like no other music festival you’ve been to. When I began to write this article, I sat for a long time staring at a blank page, wondering how I could possibly translate its awesomeness into a few-hundred-word blog post. And I’ve come to realize, I just can’t. This event more than others is something that you simply must experience to really get it. Hopefully the words I did come up with will suffice, and leave you wanting to go out and get the experience.

Here is a list of the top seven things that make Pickathon the greatest music festival I have ever attended.

1. The Vibe:

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While I am no stranger to music festivals, I am also not a music festival junkie. Sometimes when I think of the term “music festival,” I get visions of thousands of college-aged kids in a large field in the sun, drugged out of their minds, trance dancing, and drinking booze out of plastic cups. While those kinds of music festivals certainly exist, Pickathon is an entirely different breed. There is definitely alcohol consumption, but the collective consciousness of the folks in attendance somehow manages to keep everyone respectful of others, and the overall vibe of the group is unparalleled. It feels safe, because it is, and the people there are people that you actually want to hang out with. This is just one factor that helps this festival be the most family friendly festival around.

2. Kids are FREE:

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Another way Pickathon welcomes families is that children 12 and under get in free. And once they’re in, children’s itineraries can be just as full as any grownup’s, with organized craft projects, circus classes, performances geared especially towards kids. Here’s an example of the Kids & Family Schedule from 2014.  There’s even a designated quiet and family camping zone (silence not guaranteed). Oh, did I mention that this is a weekend festival with the (strongly recommended!) option to camp?!

3. Camping:

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Purchasing the weekend ticket gets you camping access for the whole weekend. Music takes place all day long and into the wee hours of the night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. With an early bird pass, you can camp Thursday night, which helps ensure you have your pick of the campsites. Monday morning campers must leave, and most are already longingly looking forward to doing it all again next year.

4. Sustainability:

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Pickathon is the nation’s greenest music festival. It’s the first festival in the country to eliminate single-use plastic cups and containers from their vendors. They have been replaced with reusable Klean Kanteen stainless steel cups, and have used Bambooware dishes and utensils. Both are available for purchase at Pickathon, and they’ve even got a cool token system for the dishes so you don’t even have to clean them yourself. Alternatively, you can also bring your own reusable dishware, and they have convenient dish washing stations to make things easy. Here’s a great infographic about how it works. Pickathon makes great use of solar power. They have a permanently installed solar array on the rooftop of the Galaxy Barn (one of their stages is located inside). According to their website, “the energy generated during the year offsets 100% of the energy used during the festival in the Galaxy Barn plus 100% of the electricity used by the food and craft vendors.” They also host three portable solar power generators throughout the festival to help with their electricity needs, including powering a cell phone charging station for festival-goers. They also offer free drinking water all weekend long. Have they really thought if everything? I think they have.

5. It’s relatively small:

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Pickathon only sells a limited amount of tickets, which means that between ticket-holders, volunteers, staff, and children, the festival caps out at about 7,000, as opposed to the 20,000-person capacity that they could accommodate if they wanted to cram people in like what happens at other music festivals. The smaller crowds makes the festival more intimate, clean, safe, and overall a much more enjoyable experience.

6. Great Music:

One of the countries greatest music festival isn’t great without talented musicians! One of my favorite things about Pickathon is that you won’t find just one genre of music. In the past I have seen folk, blues, rockabilly, African, funk, indie pop, bluegrass, and so much more. They’ve had lineups with musical greats like The Avett Brothers, Andrew Bird, Feist, Neko Case, Mavis Staples, X, and Nickel Creek. Besides the more well known performers, each year I discover new bands that I’ve never heard of, but that blow my mind when I see them live at Pickathon. After 11 years of attending this festival, I absolutely know without a doubt that I will enjoy the music, even if I’m not familiar with many of the bands in the lineup.

7. Public Transportation:

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Pickathon makes alternatives modes of transportation a breeze. They want as many people as possible to leave their cars at home, and have made this easy by providing frequent EcoShuttle service between Clackamas Town Center (near the MAX station) and the Pickathon at Pendarvis Farm. Clackamas Town Center is served by the MAX Green Line, and bus lines 28, 29, 30, 33, 71, 72, 79, 152, 155, and 156. Alternatively, if you don’t want to pay the EcoShuttle fee, you can take TriMet line 155 from the Clackamas Town Center TC, get off at SE Misty & 162nd, and walk just under a mile to the festival site (16581 SE Hagen Rd.) For assistance in getting to the Clackamas Town Center, just visit TriMet’s trip planner, and enter in your starting location, use Clackamas Town Center TC (Stop ID 13247) for your ending location if you’ll be using the EcoShuttle, or use stop ID 13159 if you’ll be bussing then walking. Pickathon also encourages commuting by bike, and even offer gear shuttles. Check their website for more info.

I am genuinely elated when it’s time for Pickathon each year. Those of you that have been before know exactly what I’m talking about. And for those of you that may be going for the first time, whether you go for just one day, or camp the entire weekend to get the full experience, I am certain that it will be one of the best things you will do all year.

Pickathon is an annual event that takes place the first weekend in August. For more information, including this year’s musical lineup, please visit the Pickathon.com.

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All photos copyright Stephanie Paris