By guest blogger Corinne Whiting aka Travelcorx
Our Picks for Festivals in Seattle and Portland
In this corner of the country, folks undoubtedly know how to celebrate the good things in life—food, drink, music and, of course, the awe-inspiring beauty of the Great Outdoors. The Pacific Northwest’s summer calendar overflows with alluring festivals and fairs, and the fall months see their share of such festivities, too. Below you’ll find just a small sampling of some of the season’s hottest gatherings. Catch ‘em while you can!
Music seems to permeate every aspect of Seattle summer—ranging from August’s Friday night Mural concerts under the Space Needle to the free downtown lunchtime concert music series and, of course, September’s much-anticipated Bumbershoot extravaganza (August 30-September 1). Portland feels the beat, too, all summer long at McMenamin’s Edgefield and at MusicfestNW (August 16-17) at downtown’s Waterfront Park, this year welcoming big names from Spoon and Girl Talk to Phantogram and Future Islands (as well as more artsy, indie acts). But some events combine live tunes and physical feats. The Gigantic Bicycle Festival, which takes place August 22-24, marks the Pacific Northwest’s annual ode to cycle culture. The two-day fest features live music (Hey Marseilles, The Moondoggies, Telekinesis), hand-built bicycles, visual and performance art, film and comedy. The best part? Many fest goers arrive at the grounds—Snoqulamie’s Centennial Fields Park—via a 77-mile road ride that pushes off from Magnuson Park.
It’s no surprise that most festive gatherings lure attendees with the promise of good food and drink. On Saturday, August 16, Old Bellevue’s Taste of Main, a family-friendly fundraiser that supports local children’s charities, features wineries, breweries and distilleries, food from local restaurants and a silent auction. That same evening, The Mountaineers host an Outdoors for All Foundation wine and whiskey tasting (from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.) that also brings food and live music to Magnuson Park. Get your wine on September 11 at Pinot in the City (from 6 to 9 p.m.), a tasty event in SoDo Park that features sixty Willamette Valley wineries. The annual Fremont Oktoberfest (September 19-21) features all things indulgent (did someone say beers and brats?), but a 5K before the festivities means the “ultimate beer run” mixes in at least a wee bit of exercise. Prost!
Leave the passport at home, and get immersed in exotic cultures at various global gatherings at downtown’s Seattle Center. BrasilFest 2014 heats things up Sunday, August 17, with dancing, drumming, music, workshops and exhibits, and Festa Italiana Seattle (September 28-29) means authentic food, demos by celebrity chefs and a grape-stomping competition. Turkish culture takes center stage during Turkfest (October 19-20). Celebrate the return of autumn with the Remlinger Farms Fall Harvest Festival in Carnation, Washington, September 28 through October 27. Kids and adults alike breathe in the fresh country air while wandering corn mazes, taking pony rides and adventuring through a U-pick pumpkin patch.
Several fairs take advantage of the region’s wonderful waterways. If you’re dreaming of the life aquatic, check out Seattle’s 36th annual Boats Afloat Show, which comes to South Lake Union Wednesday, September 10, through, Sunday, September 14. Wander among hundreds of sailboats, trawlers and mega yachts, and enjoy activities like free sailboat rides and paid seminars with on-water instruction. Since 1970, the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival has celebrated the return of salmon to its downtown hatchery. This (free!) fest happens October 4-5, bringing tasty food (think fish!), an arts & crafts fair and an extreme air show demo to charming Issaquah.
The Columbia Gorge International Film Festival honors the splendor of Mother Nature August 1-17 with the arts and complementing outdoors activities. Performance/film venues range from those in Vancouver, Washington, to Star Theater in Portland. The PDX culinary scene reigns August 8-10 at The Bite of Oregon at Waterfront Park. And from September 18-21, Bon Appétit presents Feast Portland: A Celebration of Oregon Bounty, considered by many to be the flagship food and drink festival of the Pacific Northwest, one that “captures the current energy and enthusiasm driving America’s food revolution.” Eat your heart out, PNW; one thing’s for sure—this is one helluva region in which to celebrate the best things in life!