It’s true. Portland has a ton of harvest festivals, Halloween events and more u-pick farms than you can handle. But there’s more to October than you think. From a stage performance retelling an ancient tale of two brothers to a family rave, check out these art, performance, culture and nature events that completely rock. 

NWCT Sun Serpent

photo: The Sun Serpent by ©2015 Jenny Bunce

NWCT’s The Sun Serpent
Through an innovative mix of language, masks, and digital media, this live theatrical performance tells the ancient story of two brothers on a journey that begins when Cortes’ fleet arrives in the world ruled by the Aztecs. Oct. 3-24, $13-$19/youth; $18-$23/adult, Ages 8 & up. Event details.

Portland Greek Festival
This 63rd annual event includes Greek folk dancing, delicious food, cooking demonstrations, imported crafts and fine jewelry from Greece to purchase and kids’ activities, including face painting, games and coloring. Oct.2-4, Free, All Ages. Event details.


photo: Portland Marathon Kids’ Fun Run and Festival by MarathonFoto

Portland Marathon Kids’ Fun Run and Festival
Kids can participate in the Portland Marathon festivities with four different races just for them: Walk, Run, Wheel; Toddler Dash (2-4 years); Kids’ Fun Run (ages 5-8); and a Mini Marathoner Run (ages 8-12). A family festival surrounds the races with face painting and other activities for kids. Oct. 3, $25/child, Ages 2-12. Event details.

BirdFest and Bluegrass
oin the Friends of the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Staff for this 16th annual weekend of nature, wildlife and Native American culture in the celebration of autumn and the fall migration. Families can enjoy live bluegrass, nature walks, refuge mammal talks, arts and crafts, canoe rides and kayak tours. Oct. 3, Free, All Ages. Event details.

Trashcan Joe
This entertaining band performs traditional American styles of music with instruments made from found objects like trash cans, washboards and seashells. Their charismatic and highly energizing live shows tickle little funny bones and teach kids that anyone can make music with just about any object and a dash of creativity. Oct. 6, Free, All Ages. Event details.

Kids’ Cheese Class
What’s the best way to learn about cheese? To eat it! Lots of it! Little ones will get cheesy with cooking teacher and curd nerd, Cheyenne Terbrueggen, from Elephants Delicatessen, learning about and tasting different kinds of cheese (even stinky cheese, ewww!) and the animals that make it. Advance sign-up is appreciated. Oct. 9, $5 suggested donation/child, All Ages. Event details. 

Art in the Burbs
Bring friends and family to browse and shop the gallery of artwork by over 75 local NW artists. The show features unique artwork, a student art gallery, local food, musical performances and a chance to support the arts in our schools. Oct. 9-11, Free, All Ages. Event details.

You Light Up My Life Glow Party
Cut the rug with your little ones at this magical party for mini people with lots of special features designed with your child in mind, like an all day dance party, interactive glowing art installations, an infant sensory play zone, hula hoop decorating, hula hoop and dance performances, group games, a photo booth, food carts and sing-alongs. Nap mats and nursing areas, too! Oct. 10, $10/person, All Ages. Event details.

Salmon Homecoming
Oxbow Park’s section of the Sandy River offers the perfect view of salmon swimming upstream to spawn. Polarized fish-viewing glasses will be available and naturalists will be on hand to point out the salmon and answer any questions. Afterwards, visitors can warm up by the campfire and sip hot cocoa. Oct. 17-18, Free, All Ages. Event details.

Cider Mill Festival
Celebrating its ninth year, the Cedar Mill Cider Festival is something of a trip back in time. As the Lauren Sheehan String Band performs folk, bluegrass and other old-time music, Boy Scout Troop 208 will serve free fresh apple cider, hand-cranked from antique presses. Kids can enjoy games, activities and pioneer coloring pages with the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation District, while adults can peruse the country store and sample the pulled pork goodness of Da Fat Boyz’ sandwiches and nachos. Oct. 18, Free, All Ages. Event details.

What’s your favorite fall arts activity? Let us know in the comments below. 

—Suzie Ridgway

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