Hot Summer Festivals You Can’t Miss

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Summertime is fast approaching, and with it, Portland’s red-hot festival season. Between now and August, make the most of summer with these can’t-miss parades, fairs, and fetes in and around (or within two hours of) the city. Read on to learn how you and the kids can dance around a maypole, make merry at a medieval-themed street fair, and/or fly in hot-air balloons above the Willamette Valley.

photo: Sassa Anders Carter

Portland Scandinavian Midsummer Festival
Ring in the summer solstice (and channel your inner Viking) at this annual midsummer festival, now in its 89th year. Along with Nordic music, games, and food, you and the kids can craft floral wreaths, make dala horse lanterns, enjoy free face painting, and dance around the maypole. Cost is $8/adults, $7/seniors & students, $17/families, free for kids 11 & under.

June 10, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Maypole raised at 2 p.m.
Oaks Amusement Park
7805 SE Oaks Park Way

Bastille Day Festival
Each July hundreds of Francophiles gather in the Pearl to celebrate France’s National Day (aka Bastille Day, the closest French equivalent to our 4th of July) at this lively fete, hosted by Portland’s chapter of Alliance Française. Nosh on artisanal foods while listening to French-style music before trying your hand at Pétanque, a French bocce ball. Other entertainments are planned, including a costume contest for the best Bastille-inspired outfit. This event is free for all ages.

July 15, Noon-6 p.m.
Jamison Square Park
810 NW 11th Ave.

photo: Sherwood Robin Hood Festival

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival
Did you know that the spirits of Robin Hood, Maid Marion, and the Merry Men are alive and well in Sherwood…Oregon? This 64-year-old festival has a lot going on but it’s basically made up of two components: a two-day street fair filled with medieval merrymaking and a two-day international archery competition between Sherwood and Nottingham, England. There’s also a community parade, live entertainment on three stages, medieval reenactments, and a castle building contest, so be sure to check the schedule online for times and locations. Free for all ages.

July 14-15, see website hours vary (main festival)
Sherwood Old Town, near the City Hall
22560 SW Pine St., Sherwood

July 15-16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (archery tournament)
Edy Ridge Elementary School
21472 SW Copper Terrace, Sherwood

Bite & Brew of Salem
Taking place in Salem’s 23-acre Riverfront Park, this four-day event has everything you could ever want in a festival: all-day live music; carnival rides and games (there’s even special rides just for the kids); fresh, local cuisine; and craft beverages. Pro tip: Making a day of it? Be sure to bring some blankets and/or lawn chairs for relaxing in the park. $20/family, $8/adult, $4/seniors & military, kids 5 & under are free.

July 20-23, hours vary by day
Riverfront Park
200 Water St. NE, Salem

photo: Kirt Edblom via Flickr

Northwest Art & Air Festival
What happens when you combine 70 Northwest artists and 30 hot-air balloons in one park? You get Albany’s Northwest Art & Air Festival. First, try catch one of the early morning balloon lift-offs in the park. It’s worth getting up for! Then while away the day visiting dozens of arts and crafts booths and/or catching live bands playing on two stages. There’s also a special kids zone filled with activities. Pro tip: Don’t miss Friday’s Night Glow (weather permitting), when you and the kids can stroll around dozens of tethered, brightly lit hot-air balloons at dusk.

August 25-27, hours vary by day. Balloons lift off at 6:45 a.m. daily.
Timber-Linn Memorial Park
900 Price Rd. SE, Albany, Or

Festival of Sail
This maritime celebration in Tacoma kicks off with a parade of 20+ historic and replica sailing ships cruising along the waterfront. For an up-close-and-personal experience, take an on-board tour or 90-minute day sail. Make sure the little ones catch a glimpse of Mama Duck floating in the harbor. The six-story-tall, 11-ton rubber duck is the largest of its kind in the world. Admission prices range from $9-20. Day sails are extra.

June 15-18, hours vary by day
Foss Waterway
579 Dock St., Tacoma, Wa

What are your favorite summer festivals and parades? Let us know in the comments!

—Carrie Uffindell

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