On any given weekend, we need few excuses to visit the unique collection of restaurants, brew pubs and retail shops that line the sidewalks of N Mississippi Avenue. But on Saturday, July 11, this family-friendly neighborhood will play host to the Mississippi Street Fair, Portland’s largest street fair and one of the city’s most beloved annual community gatherings. Read on to find out why you have to go.

photo: Deanna N. via Yelp

Music and Activities
With tens of thousands of people expected to attend this year’s fair, organizers have lined up more than 40 bands to perform on six stages (keep track of the full schedule here). Families in particular should be sure to stop by Mississippi Pizza—not only for the tasty pies, but to catch a musical performance on its sponsored Kids Stage.

Children will find other fun activities among the 200 vendors expected at the fair, as the New Seasons Kids Zone will set up shop at N Mississippi Avenue & N Beech Street. And they’ll also be overjoyed to find a dunk tank at N Failing Street from 1-5:30 p.m.—providing both a cool antidote to the summer heat and a perfect way for kids to seek revenge on their unsuspecting parents.

Food and Drink
Because N Mississippi Avenue is home to so many restaurants, food carts and beer purveyors, it’s no surprise that these local favorites will play a starring role at the street fair. Meat lovers shouldn’t miss the Grandfather’s Rib-Off Competition, which will be judged at 3 p.m., while kids will appreciate a stop at Ruby Jewel for one of their famous hand-crafted ice cream sandwiches, like their drool-worthy lemon cookie honey lavender ice cream concoction. Parents can keep an eye out for the beer and wine gardens. They’ll be open from noon-8:30 p.m.

photo: Hilary B. via Yelp

Getting There
To make the most of your family experience at the Mississippi Street Fair, keep a few things in mind. Street closures can make parking a bit difficult, so consider making the journey by bike, bus or MAX. For complete information on street closures, detours, public transportation and parking, click here.

The proceeds of the Mississippi Street Fair will benefit the Boise-Eliot School and Self Enhancement Inc., but that’s not the only way you can help the community. Interested in volunteering at the street fair? Find details here, and get a free t-shirt, snacks and a beer token for your efforts.

Mississippi Street Fair
Sat., July 11, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Admission: Free
N Mississippi Ave. between N Fremont & N Skidmore
Online: mississippiave.com/streetfair

What’s your favorite neighborhood street fair? Let us know in the comments below!

— Maura O’Brien

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