5 Things you should do while you FEAST in PDX

FEAST Activities

Feast Portland: A Celebration of Oregon Bounty is taking place this weekend Sept. 18-1-22, 2014. Thousands of people will be converging on the city of Portland from near and far to savor, sip and salivate over mind blowing culinary masterpieces from chiefs, brewers, distillers and wine makers across the country.

While you’re taking a break from eating and drinking be sure to experience some of Portland’s other beautiful bounty.  This list is mixed with iconic Portland experiences, a little exercise for your expanding waistline and relaxation. All activities are enter around the FEAST venues and will certainly give you an even bigger taste of Portland.So be sure to pack your stretchy pants, walking shoes and a big appetite  – you’ll need them all this weekend!

Enjoy, cheers!

Watch the Swifts roost

Visit Portlandia

Walk in the Rose Garden

Jamison Fountain at Jamison Square

810 Northwest 11th Ave
PortlandOR 97209



The Vaux’s Swifts: A Must See in September in Portland

Swifts- Steve Warner

September brings more than the students back to the Chapman School.  Every year throughout September thousands of Vaux’s Swifts gather in Portland as they prepare to migrate to Central America and Venezuela. These fast-flying, dark, bat-like birds don’t perch but rather roost, which means they cling on the sides of hollow things like hollow tree trunks and chimney’s. The Chapman School chimney in Northwest Portland has been their roosting place of choice since the 1980’s.

Chapman Elementary School houses the largest known roost of migrating Vaux’s Swifts in the world. Thousands of swifts roost in the chimney on a nightly basis starting late August and continuing through September. Portland has embraced and cherish this natural phenomenon so much so that  the school restructured a new heating system, that does not utilize the roosting chimney, and added stabilizers to the chimney’s framework to ensure the chimney could withstand the weight of thousands of birds and keep the kids in the elementary school safe.

Swifts at Chapman School

So what does it mean when the swifts are back in town?

It means you should pack a picnic dinner or some dessert, grab a blanket, the kids, your dog (and we used to easily be able to pop a bottle of wine, although this year they say park rangers will be enforcing the no alcohol rule so I’ll have to see what this really means next week when I go. I’ll post an update in the comments afterwards) and some cardboard!

Where does this take place?

The Chapman School NW 26th/ Raleigh Ave, Portland, OR

When should I arrive?

Arrive an hour before dusk, so say 6 ish and it goes until 8 ish.

What exactly will I see?

A hillside full of people on blankets and chairs, tons of kids running around and cardboard sliding down the dried out hillside and a sky that looks typical. As the minutes starts to wind down and dusk starts to creep in, the sky becomes freckled with black quickly flying small birds, then more and more and more birds- literally thousands of  SWIFTS fill the sky overhead. Just before dusk the birds start to fly in circular pattern creating a funnel-like cloud. Soon you’ll notice the funnel of birds start to funnel down into the chimney where they will roost for the night.  It’s an amazing natural phenomenon and so very worth a few hours of your night. Swifts make a tasty meal for Hawks and you will most likely encounter a Swift/Hawk face off during the night.

Parking is tight so arrive early or plan on walking a fair distance, also new this year parking has opened up in Montgomery Park (only 6 blocks away) For more information of the Vaux’s Swifts and the Portland Swift Watch check out the Audubon Society of Portland


Tulip Fest

Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest in Woodburn, OR

This event is one of those welcomed and anticipated annual events because it’s so beautiful and also signals that Spring has come to Portland. Located 45 minutes from Portland, 40 acres of vibrant tulips sprawl out as far as you can see and it’s a sight to be had! It’s absolutely gorgeous!

The fest is $10 a carload. Kids activities are on site, some require paid tickets like the bounce house and the tractor pulled cow-train, while others are good ol’fashioned farm farm like a hand water-pump rubber ducky race, hay mazes, slides and horse tire swings. Food can be purchased but the selection is not befitting of a large fair, it’s hot dogs and carmel corn. U-cut and pre-cut tulips can be purchased as well as a plethora of tulip bulbs, in case you fancy creating your own tulip field.

The best part of this festival is the unlimited beautiful photo opts, including a giant set of wooden shoes!

Be sure to mark your calendar because this festival happens every Spring from late March till early May.  Details can be found on the website Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm


Moonlight Snowshoeing at Trillium Lake

I’d been snowshoeing one other time in my life and it was a fun afternoon with a group of chatty women;

Rare Earth Adventures guided tours

and the sun was shinning high in the sky reflecting off the snow making sunglasses a necessity not just a fashion statement. Snowshoeing was a workout but it wasn’t as demanding as a spin class or boot camp, it was fun fitness.  This year I had read about moonlight snowshoeing and that sounded like a creative spin on this already very likable snow sport.

I rounded up 3 other warm bodies, umm I mean friends, scanned the calendar for the next full moon and scheduled our moonlight snowshoeing adventure with Rare Earth Adventures. The price included round trip transportation, snow park permits, guide, gear, snacks and beverages.

Our snowshoeing trek took us to Trillium Lake on Mt Hood. A great place to sled ride or snowshoe by day with the only light being shed at night coming from the moon and stars. The park is not wired for lights, except for the parking lot, so unless you’re very familiar with this terrain I wouldn’t suggest a night hike or sled riding for that matter!

We geared up in our snowshoes, grabbed our poles, hand warmers, head lamps and backpacks that carried water and any other little extras we thought we might need; and set off under the fleeting light of the full moon. The main trails are so packed down that snowshoes really aren’t necessary.  As you descend down the main path into the interior of the park veer off the snow of the packed paths and put those snowshoes to good use. Snowshoes are to designed to disperse you’re weight evenly over a larger surface so when you step down into the cold soft snow your foot, and therefor you, don’t sink waste deep. One safety precaution we learned was to be watchful of the tree wells, where the snow has warmed up and receded or sunk around the base of trees, this snowy area is the least predictable as far as stability because of it’s tendency to warm and soften. [Read more…]

Portland’s Fashion Night Out 2012

For those of you that consider yourselves fashionistas, this is the event for you. This Thursday, September 6th, marks the 4th anniversary of Fashion’s Night Out.

What exactly is Fashion’s Night Out? It’s the kickoff to New York’s fashion week.

Trend setters, editors, models, fashionistas, and designers will be converging in stores and cities across the country and around the world for fashion’s most iconic extravaganza. Last year’s bash featured events in eighteen countries and more than 4,500 events here in the States.

Join the Portland Fashion crowd in Director Park this Thursday, September 6th, to view the latest styles with fashion shows on the half-hour from 5-7 p.m. Nibble on free treats, glow with mini-makeovers from Sephora, free pedicab rides and goodie bags for those who purchase $150  from participating stores. It also happens to be First Thursday so after the fashion extravaganza head over to some of our fabulously chic art galleries.

Look over the map of participating retailers and boutiques below. Snap a picture of your favorite trends and looks, share them with other FNO fans across the country with #FNO.



  1. Director Park: SW Yamhill & Park Avenue
  2. Banana Republic: 805 SW Broadway
  3. Ben Bridge Jeweler: 801 SW Fifth Ave.
  4. Brooks Brothers: 921 SW Morrison
  5. Columbia Sportswear: 911 SW Broadway
  6. Frances May: 1013 SW Washington
  7. House of Lolo: 1037 NW Couch
  8. Macy’s: 621 SW Fifth Ave.
  9. Mario’s: 833 SW Broadway
  10. Mercantile: 729 SW Alder
  11. Michael Allen’s Clothier: 811 SW Morrison
  12. Nordstrom: 701 SW Broadway
  13. Parallel: 1016 SW Washington
  14. Radish Underground: 414 SW Tenth Ave.
  15. Sephora: 413 SW Morrison
  16. UnderU4Men: 800 SW Washington
  17. Pioneer Place: 700 SW Fifth Ave.
    Ann Taylor • Aveda • BCBGMAXAZRIA • Bebe • Billabong • The Body Shop • Cache • The Gap • H&M • L’Occitane • J. Crew • Juicy Couture • Kate Spade • Tumi



Portland Tomato Battle!

La Tomatina is the week long food fight festival in Bunol, Spain. Every year on the last Wednesday of August, the small town of Bunol, with a meager population of 9,000, graciously welcomes 20-40k people into their town for the largest tomato fight ever!  Catapulting tomatoes create chaos and pandemonium for exactly one hour.  At that point the water cannons sound indicating a cease in the food flinging.  Sounds like a rip-roaring, tomato-tossing, glorious-good time, if you could make it to Spain! Well don’t shed a tomato tear any longer my friend because the Tomato Battle is making its way across the country and will be stopping in Portland on July 21st!
The Tomato Battle unifies as many as 5,000 fruit-chucking fanatics for an afternoon of dancing to music, sipping libations, and flinging 300,000 pounds of roma tomatoes at one another. Mosh in a ketchup-covered fray that marries the traditions of Spain’s La Tomatina tomato-throwing festival and Germany’s Oktoberfest. Festivities commence at noon with registration and opening, followed by live entertainment and a costume contest. At 4:00 p.m., soldiers donning bathing suits, safety goggles, and well-treaded shoes converge on piles of past-ripe tomatoes and set about pelting people with fruits like sentient apple trees avenging the initial-carving of amorous teenagers. Beats and beer flow until past 6 p.m., when ruddy troops lay down their arms and rinse themselves clean of pulp and juice. An extra set of clothes is highly recommended.

All of the tomatoes used during the exhibition will have been previously marked for disposal, making the Tomato Battle an efficient and entertaining use of nonedible waste.

Tomato Battle is coming to the MacTarnahan’s Taproom in Portland, July 21, 2012

*Must be 21 or older to attend this event*

Buy your ticket now!

Schedule of Events for Saturday July 21, 2012

Noon                      Registration & Beer Garden Opens
1:00 p.m.              Live Entertainment by TBD
3:30 p.m.               Costume Contest
4:00 p.m.               Tomato Battle Begins
4:30 p.m.               Live Entertainment by TBD
6:00 p.m.               Wash up and go home!



Last Thursday on Alberta

Free ShrugsTell me your story.  Amazing Art

Air Powered fun house gameLast Thursday On Alberta is an epic block party held every, you guessed it, last Thursday of the month! What started out 13 years ago as an event to highlight the local galleries has morphed into a celebration of  community and all forms of art. Many people have branded Last Thursday as the “fun sister” of the 2 monthly Thursday festivals. You know, the one who is always on the verge of trouble, full of shenanigans, unpredictable and never dull or boring. I will agree that Last Thursday is all of those things but I would also say if you are a fan of First Thursday in The Pearl chances are you will enjoy Last Thursday on Alberta as well.  Here’s why.

The artists who set up booths to peddle their wares are driven by passion and their desire to create. The end result, one-of-a-kind statement pieces at bargain prices. Musicians are encountered on every corner and with just as much variety. Some belt out awesome cover songs, some play the accordion and make you feel like you’re at a street festival in an obscure European village, African drums are played with verve, funk, punk -you name it- you’ll hear it.

The Crowded Streets

Food, mmmmm, we all know Portland has a knack for gourmet street food. It’s no different at last Thursday on Alberta. Enticing smells permeate the air, mingling neighborly with the variety of  spices and and smells that have converged along this street. The restaurants are crowded, and honestly you can go to eat their any other night of the week, so why not enjoy slowly cruising the street and grabbing a bite from a vendor.

 Dancing with no worries            Those are some of the parallels to the “sweeter goody-goody sister,” what you gain by hanging out with the more whimsical, fickle sister  are experiences that leave vivid  footprints across the landscape of your memories. Stilt walkers, fire performers, a girl with  a bigillion hula hoops circling her body, adults and children dancing for no other reason than to please themselves, light-hearted humorous folks; a guy was giving away Free Shrugs, another had a sign that read: You tell me your story and I’ll give you a dollar, who do what they do because “why not?!”

The scene on Last Thursday on Alberta is definitely a Portland experience. Some of the best hours of people watching you’ll ever encounter. A portion of the street is closed off for this event but the whole street reverberates with the Last Thursday vibe. Traffic and parking are the only down falls. If you plan on going, go early if at all possible,  even the 5 gets jammed with traffic at an early hour. Parking is along the side streets and as you can guess, is tight and hard to come by. Cash is preferred but most vendors take credit. It’s kid friendly but I will warn that the street gets very crowded, so unless you stay on the perimeter or your kid is an admirer of knee caps and shoes, it’s better to go early stroll the street before the bulk of Portlanders converge.

Savor the art, the people, the food and the music! Let loose a little, dance in the street, tell a stranger your story-pet a pig! Have fun, take pictures and enjoy the experience of Last Thursday on Alberta!

If you’ve been before. What’s been your favorite sight or experience? Tell me about it in the comments.

Sea Dogs Love The Blues

The English had John Hawkins, Sir Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh. Portland has Finger and 10 or so, lesser well-known, Partial Pirates. Blimey!

Portland has “Partial Pirates?” Ok, as I read the article it didn’t really have the same allure and romanticism that Johnny Depp brings to mind but I am a girl who is fascinated by pirates, so I’m intrigued. Finger may have the tendencies to be a carouser, he is a pirate after all, but many boat owners who moor along the Willamette also state he is a stand up guy and the first to step up and help out anyone in need.

The Waterfront Blues Festival starts July 4th and this is the event Finger, and the rest of the partial pirates, have set down anchor for. He has also built two floating pirate viewing docks and crafted 1 raft, in the likeness of Huckleberry Finn’s, that will be used to ferry people over to the pirate docks! Finger seems to be a Pirate/party planner and he plans to “…have the best fucking seats in the house.” for this year’s 25th Anniversary Waterfront Blues Festival.

To read more about Finger check out this article, originally printed June 14, 2012 in the Willamette Week, written by JOHN LOCANTHI 

 Hobo Pirates of the North Willamette Yo, ho, ho and a can of PBR.

img_0049Finger the Partial Pirate paddles from his home to shore. – John Locanthi
The morning sun slips through gaps in the patchwork drapes of the captain’s quarters, landing an unwelcome blow on Finger’s sleeping face.

The hungover pirate rises from his untidy bed, grabbing a can of PBR as he walks past his drum set in the pilot’s cabin.
Finger hops from his boat onto his makeshift, free-floating dock near Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Five anchors hold his dock in place, leaving it just loose enough to give it a perpetual sway. Two Jolly Rogers face the shore, fluttering in the gentle wind. One is a traditional skull and cross bones, the other a hand flipping the bird.Crumpled beer cans litter his ship’s deck. Greasy pots and pans sit on the grill. A beat up blue dinghy is tied to a skateboard plank at the aft end. It’s the only way on and off the deck (for now).Looking at the chromatic collection of cheap beer cans in his tip bucket, Finger spits and bellows a hearty laugh.”It was a group effort messing up this dock,” he says, wiping a dreadlock from his tanned, leathery face. “I’m cleanin’ up shit until the others help out.”He pops open his PBR. Time for his morning “coffee.”

Finger has been living as a “Partial Pirate” on the river for three years now. Three winters, to be precise. That’s how Finger and his ilk measure time out here, as the brutal cold tests the mettle of even the scurviest of sea dogs. Some load up on propane tanks for heating, some just bundle up under a mountain of flannel and blankets. It’s a rough season regardless for the 10 or so Partial Pirates who live on the Willamette.

But it’s summer now. The sun is out, flocks of Canada geese and their goslings are covering the waterfront parks with a healthy layer of shit, and Bluesfest is on the horizon.

Finger and his tribe move from place to place throughout the year. Sometimes by their own choice, others when the river patrol tells them they’ve been in one spot too long. But they come back to this spot to make port every July. The festival along the waterfront caters to maritime music fans. The public docks at the nearby marina even allow people to be tied up for a free week.

Finger and fellow Partial Pirate Chris are not tied up at the marina. Finger’s boat wouldn’t fit—not that he wanted to anyway.

“We got the best fucking seats in the house,” Finger says.

His floating docks are equidistant between the two stages opening on Independence Day. Not too far from shore, either.

More Partial Pirates are on the way. Finger recently helped procure a sailboat for a friend in St. Helens who should be down shortly. A few are already tied up at the marina. All part of the big plans for the festival.

The wooden planks and large blocks of styrofoam on Finger’s dock are the beginnings of a large raft. Modeled after old illustrations from Huckleberry Finn, it’s going to be used to ferry larger crowds over to the pirate deck. The Huck Finn Raft is going to transform the waterfront festival into a party on the water—at least that’s the hope.

“We’re gonna wear straw hats and shit,” says Chris, taking a sip from his pounder of Rolling Rock.

A stripper pole is on the way for Bluesfest as well.

But living in a boat on the river is not an endless party. Keeping his boat in working condition is a full-time job for Chris, who says he’ll soon go to Portland Community College to study manufacturing. The nearest public pumpout is broken and locked up, though the Partial Pirates feel this is a passive-aggressive gesture to get them to leave, forcing Chris and the others to carry barrels of their shit to portable toilets and other places to dispose of it.

“I just paddle over to shore and sprint over to Starbucks or something,” Finger says. “This isn’t going to get in the way o’ Bluesfest.”

After the festival’s over, the pirate will return to his normal life, or as close to normal as that gets: repairing motors, drumming, drinking, and anchoring wherever he pleases. He makes between $30 and $50 a night playing his djembe outside Voodoo Doughnut on the weekends.

“My van was towed while I was sleeping in it,” Finger says. “I got that thing paid off, got in this boat, and never looked back. I can do what I want out here.”

The Partial Pirate tosses aside his empty beer can, picks up a coffee mug, adds in some coffee powder, and jumps in his little blue dinghy. Free hot water can be found ashore.

“Time for my real coffee,” says Finger as he paddles over to the waterfront.

06.15.2012 at 01:00
I have been an avid sailor in the Portland area for several years and have know “Finger” for a long time. He is a great and fun loving guy. Although his lifestyle may seem strange to others he is a truly happy individual and is living his life on his own terms. More power to him…

Anyway, looking forward to Bluesfest!!! PASSION PIRATES unite!:”) ~~_/)_~~

06.15.2012 at 04:23


Ahhh Finger.  Know him well, and I would trust him more than just about anybody to help out if someone was in trouble.  Stand up guy.


The Blind Cafe Portland

The Blind Cafe Video

The Portland Blind Cafe will once again be raising awareness, money and creating a truly unique experience for all those who attend this Friday and Saturday June 15-16th in Southeast Portland.

Three years ago I attended the Portland Blind Cafe hosted by Rosh. When I first read about the event I thought it was just a trendy experiment. Instead, I walked away with an experience that will be remembered vividly for the rest of my life.

A brief overview of the evenings happenings. This will in no way ruin your experience but if you’d rather stay “in the dark” about the entire experience skip down to My Experience.

The Blind Cafe

The Blind Cafe

The Evening Set-Up
After checking in you are instructed to find your same numbered table group. A room full of people are loosely gathered around their designated table number. This part is important because it gives you a chance to meet these people while you still can see them! Even if you are not nervous at all while waiting to go in, this opportunity and interaction was very calming to me once I lost the ability to see anything. Table groups are then led in a single file, hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you fashion to the dining hall. Before entering the darkened dining room, your blind waiter will be introduced and he will guide your group to the table. After all the shuffling, bumping and repetitive apologies to the person in front of you, behind you, and the furniture, which by now you believe could be a person as well, you are seated safely at your table for the remainder of the night. You begin the process of becoming familiar with the geography of your place setting and personal boundaries. Now the real experience begins to settle and unfold upon your senses. [Read more…]

Car2Go, BoltBus – Let’s Roll!

What has 12 wheels, 52 seats, wi-fi, AC  and is the newest and most economical way to travel?

Car2Go and Bolt Bus

Car2Go launched it’s 250 two-seater fleet of car-sharing vehicles in Portland this  April. How is Car2Go different than a Zipcar or Getaround? Car2Go charges by the minute not the mile and you do not have to return the Car2Go to a home base, it can be left anywhere within the 32 square mile home area, even in paid parking spaces(without paying).

How it works: you register on-line and pay a one time only $35 membership fee.  Once you receive your membership card in the mail you are ready to GO!  When you are in need of a car you easily pull up the Car2Go app on your smartphone or from your computer. A map will show you where all the Car2Go’s are parked throughout the city. Walk to that location and hold your membership card on top of the sensor that is flashing green on the windshield and the doors unlock! Climb in and login on their touchscreen dashboard. Do a quick assessment of the interior and exterior of the car for any noticeable damage, click “no damage” then the car can be started with the key that remains in the car. You’re free to use the vehicle for as long or little as you like without committing to a specific return time or specific drop off location. When you are done with the car you may park it anywhere within the designated home area, even in paid parking spaces and lots without paying.  Log out on the dashboard, close the door and walk away.  You are only charged for the time you drove the car, not the mileage.  The cute little pocket-sized car sits there and waits for the next person to hop in and take it for a spin! Very easy, very convenient, very economical for scooting around the city.

When driving the cars outside of the home area you’re rental time does not stop until it is back within the home area.  A 24 hr maximum rate of $64.99 applies and a maximum hourly rate of $12.99 applies.

Here’s a great example of how Car2Go worked perfectly and economically for my friend and I last Saturday night.  I needed to get back to my neighborhood in NW and my friend was travelling to his neighborhood in SE.  After we exhausted ourselves dancing downtown, instead of a cab that would of cost us easily $18 to take both of us home, we used the app. and located a car within 2 blocks of our location. We walked 2 blocks, jumped in and after dropping me off in NW my friend went his way over the bridge and parked the car 1o feet from his front door.  The cost, less than $5. My friend said the car was still there in the morning but sadly had been shiested before he needed it to get to work.

Want to explore beyond the city limits of Portland, like Seattle you say.  BoltBus is the newest, swiftest and most economical way to get there. BoltBus, a discount bus line started by Greyhound and has operated a similar service on the East Coast between Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., for about four years. Portland to Seattle is one of their first ventures into the Pacific Northwest.

With non-stop Portland to Seattle service that started May 17th,  Bolt Bus is making it easier and more affordable than ever to get to Seattle. Fares range from $1-$15 one way. The trip takes 3 hours and 15 minutes. 15 minutes faster than Greyhound and 30 minutes faster than Amtrak. Board the bus in Pioneer Square on SW Salmon St. in Portland and disembark at 5th Avenue South and King St. near International District/Chinatown Station in Seattle.

Do not be fooled by the term “bus” because BoltBus is no typical, smelly, stuffy, loud bus- it’s a luxury motor coach. Outfitted with free wi-fi, plug ins, leather seats, lots of leg room, AC, a bathroom and a smooth ride. You’re allowed 1 bag to be stored under the coach and 2 smaller carry-on bags that should fit in the over head storage if not in use. No pets are allowed and if you can pack light enough, a bike can be substituted  in place of your “checked” bag. If frequent trips to Seattle are in your future, register for the rewards program where 8 one-way trips earns you a free one! With the inexpensive fares and the comfortable amenities, it makes hitting up the nightlife and shopping in Seattle that much easier!

To find more answers about either of these newest modes of transportation click on the links below. And if you happen to drive a Car2Go to catch the Boltbus in Pioneer Square, take a picture and post it for me here or on Girl On The Go PDX  facebook page. I might have a local gift card to send out your way!  Happy trails!

To find more answers to your questions, details and important stuff, click on a link:  Car2go or  Boltbus