Cheap & Easy

The Best Bang for Your Buck Events in Portland This Weekend: June 21–23, 2024

Tigard Festival of Balloons, Summer Story Fest, and More Cheap & Easy Events Under $15
June 21, 2024
Watch as colorful hot-air balloons take to the sky at the Tigard Festival of Balloons. (Tigard Festival of Balloons via Facebook)
As usual, we're here to take the guesswork out of planning a great weekend. Browse our cheap and easy guide for event picks from Summer Story Fest to the Tigard Festival of Balloons and from the Foster Summer Soiree to Pride at the Museum. For more ideas, check out our guide to the top events of the week.

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Kickstand Comedy In The Park Remind List
Kickstand Comedy's hugely popular Comedy in the Park series has returned, hitting Laurelhurst Park on most Fridays through September 6. Grab your pals with a sense of humor and drop your blankets early—the free stand-up show has been known to draw crowds of 4,000 or more. The plus side of the bonkers crowd is the unmatched dog-watching; I'm a fan of Laurelhurst duck-watching, too. This Friday, a lineup of much-loved funnybones will head to the stage after local laughers Rachelle Cochran and Julia Corral get the crowd going. LC
(Laurelhurst Park, Laurelhurst, free)


Mossytown x Secret Room Art Show Opening Past Event List
Have you heard the news? Secret Room Press’s new shop is wedged between Bollywood Theater and Salt & Straw on SE Division—the team recently took over the lease from Little Otsu. You might have spied Secret Room Press during their Lloyd Center pop-up last year, during which they hawked very cool risograph-printed books and zines. The new space features all the books, zines, and prints you're expecting, plus a rotating RISO art gallery. The gallery's latest show, SPRING, is an interestingly timed collaboration with multimedia artist Mossytown. The show opens on June 21, the summer solstice, aka not-spring. But it promises "ceramic pals, risograph prints, a zine, and infinite love," so I'm still on board. LC
(Secret Room, Richmond, free)


A Goon's Moon in June: A Pre-Pride Goon's Swoon Party Past Event List
I'm honestly shocked that there are not more Pride events that coincide with this month's full moon. I mean, the moon is arguably the most world-renowned gay icon. Dance in the luminous glow of Lady Lunar at this selenic dance party that embraces "the freedom to be sexy, goofy, and wildly expressive." No matter which expression of pride you feel the strongest gravitational pull toward, this party will have it all: drag performers, go-go dancers, DJs (DJ Dissolve, MAWMIE, and Summerofmitch), and delicious food. AV
(4904 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Hawthorne District, $10-$30)

The Midnight & The Sïx's 3 Year Anniversary Party Past Event List
Portland's rock 'n' roll cocktail bar the Midnight and its basement venue the Sïx will celebrate their third anniversary with an evening of live music and drink specials. Catch performances from shoegaze trio Darkswoon, goth duo the Black Doors, and a special acoustic set from doom metal band Carrion Empire. DJ Glittery Ghoul will hold down the fort upstairs, spinning records all night long. AV
(The Midnight PDX + The Sïx, Sunnyside, $13-$15)


Pride at the Museum Past Event List
Who doesn't love bright colors and flashing lights? As part of Pride at the Museum, you can play with 20,000 LEDs to freeze your shadow, paint with light, and bounce laser beams. Speaking of lasers—the planetarium will have light shows synced to the music of Lady Gaga, Queen, and Beyoncé. Science-oriented queers can check out demonstrations on flying robots, big data, renewable energy, and explore the museum's featured exhibit, Tyrannosaurs - Meet the Family. Local queen Poison Waters will host drag queen story time in the kid-oriented Science Playground and emcee a drag show later in the evening. Cap things off with a little shopping: Always Here Book Store will be on hand with queer books for all ages, and Gay Crochet Co has some of the cutest handmade products I've ever seen (pride flag octopuses?!?). SL
(OMSI, Central Eastside, $8-$10)



That's What She Said: Pride Edition Past Event List
Queer feminist comedy collective That's What She Said will hit up Curious Comedy on June 22. Expect to hear from local faves as they bask in some summertime wisecracks and celebrate Pride with much-needed laughs. Best part? All proceeds from this edition of That's What She Said will be donated to Black & Beyond the Binary Collective, a nonprofit that "builds the leadership, healing, and safety of Black-African transgender, queer, nonbinary, two-spirit, and intersex (TQN2SI+) Oregonians." Cool! LC
(Curious Comedy Annex, King, $15)


Foster Summer Soiree Past Event List
In past years, the Foster Summer Soiree included sidewalk vendors and promotions at local vendors, but this year, they're taking over the entire street! Southeast 63rd Avenue will be closed south of Foster and feature a block party in collaboration with St. Francis Ice Cream, Kitchen Culture, and Royalty Spirits. Per usual, Laurelwood Park will host a vendor marketplace and a main stage with live performances from noon to 5 pm including electro-hip-hop group St. Johns Yacht Club and clowns-on-bicycles duo Olive & Dingo. If you're looking to purchase some unique, locally-made goods, you're in luck: Meet Your Maker Market, Queer Art Market, and Spectrum Art Market will all be popping up in the area, in addition to tons of deals and activations at neighborhood businesses. SL
(Laurelwood Park, Foster-Powell, free)


Hedwig and the Angry Inch Past Event List
Adapted from a hit '98 glam rock musical, Hedwig and the Angry Inch follows a genderqueer German singer who lands in the rural Midwest after a botched sex reassignment surgery. John Cameron Mitchell wrote, directed, and starred as Hedwig in the punky, ingenious masterwork of queer cinema. Haven't seen it? The flick is one perfect way to pregame for Pride—even Roger Ebert admitted that it was "strange how the movie seems to be loud, flashy and superficial, yet gives a deeper dimension to its characters." LC
(Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy, $10)


Hollywood Farmers Market Strawberry Day Past Event List
Happy strawberry season to all who celebrate!! Celebrate the abundance of this ephemeral, magical time of year at the Hollywood Farmers Market with all-ages activities, free berry and ice cream tastings, Latin tunes from Dina Y Los Rumberos, and a themed raffle basket. Proceeds will benefit the educational, entertainment, and food access programs.
(Hollywood Farmers Market, Hollywood, free)


RENAISSANCE / RENAIDDANCE: Celebrating Beyoncé Past Event List
I think we can all agree that Beyoncé's latest albums, Renaissance and Cowboy Carter, were made for the dance floor. So, don't miss this opportunity to "release your stress" by dancing to Acts I and II, along with the old-school disco, techno, and country bangers that inspired them. Don't be a bitch, come take it to the floor now! AV
(Holocene, Buckman, $16)


Gay Prom Past Event List
Prom makes more sense for adults than it does for high schoolers. For one, most of us have shed our teenage insecurities and are more willing to take fashion risks and take up space on the dance floor. Plus, we likely have love in our lives worth celebrating—whether that be romantic or platonic. And, we’re old enough to drink alcohol, which naturally makes a party more tolerable. Give yourself the prom experience you deserve at this queer prom aiming to "support and celebrate [the] ever-growing community of acceptance and diversity." Come dressed to impress in something glamorous, bold, or just something that makes you feel, as the promoters put it, "fabulous and free." AV
(The Aura Nightclub & Lounge, Metzger, $10)

The 2nd Annual Pride Color Throw! Past Event List
Wear an all-white ensemble and prepare to be pelted with vibrant, colorful powder at this joyful all-ages Pride event hosted by Portland Beer Week and Threshold Brewing. Just exchange your suggested donation to Pride Northwest for some colored powder packets, and enjoy the explosion of color spilling out over Threshold's outdoor street plaza. The event is followed by a parade around the Montavilla neighborhood, so you can strut around and show off your new rainbow raiment for all to see. JB
(Threshold Brewing & Blending, Montavilla, free)



Talk of the Town Past Event List
Look, Portland is great and all, but there are more than enough reasons that living in the City of Roses might also have you feeling a little glum. Talk of the Town has your back, though. The recurring improv show will hit the stage again with a guest sharing what makes Portland great—good art, great food, and hilarious, off-the-cuff conversation. This month's guest, Dr. Carrie Hsia, is a queer Chinese American chiropractor who also founded the AAPI Affinity Climb Night, a space for AAPI folks to climb in community. The Portlander will inspire a ragtag team of improv experts to create fresh scenes and characters on the spot. Just don't bring your umbrella—it's gauche. LC
(Siren Theater, Boise, $12)


Gaza Benefit at Alder Commons Past Event List
For those of us with limited funds, it can feel daunting to make a difference during a devastating humanitarian crisis. That's why I love to see like-minded neighbors pool their money together for good. Stop by Alder Commons this Sunday to raise money for Palestinian families evacuating Gaza at this all-ages afternoon of music, art, and crafts. Local DJ troupe Anjali & the Incredible Kid will supply the tunes alongside Balkan music and dance group the Baksana Ensemble. Plus, there will be on-site screen printing, flower bouquets and art for sale, and tasty fare from Jawaher and the Vegan Syrian. AV
(Alder Commons, Beaumont-Wilshire, Sliding scale, $25 suggested)

2024 Milk Carton Boat Race Past Event List
Last year saw the 50th installment of the Milk Carton Boat Race, an annual tradition in which teams compete in races across the casting pond with floating contraptions made from recycled milk cartons and jugs. With nine racing categories from four children riders to single adult riders, there's plenty to cheer on. The Royal Rosarians host this event which marks the end of the Portland Rose Festival—local dairy Alpenrose will donate an amount of milk equivalent to the cartons used in the races to the Sunshine Division food bank. SL
(Westmoreland Park, Southeast Portland, free)


Sunday Sessions: Nonbinary Girlfriend with Girl Fiend Past Event List
Now that the sun is consistently shining, Rontoms’ free weekly music series Sunday Sessions has returned to the bar’s spacious patio. This weekend, sit back and sip on a refreshing bev while dreamy punk band Nonbinary Girlfriend reminds you that it's good to leave the house sometimes. Expect to hear songs from their latest album, BIG AND KIND, which is a cathartic explosion of soul-baring vocals, shoegaze riffs, and purging percussion. LA-based indie rock trio Girl Fiend will open. AV
(Rontoms, Buckman, free)


Sapphic Sundays Past Event List
In celebration of Pride Month, the vibey, neon-illuminated bar Pink Rabbit will cater to "queer girls and theys" each Sunday in June. Enjoy drink specials, all-day happy hour, crafts, music, and gay movies. Personally, I hope that But I'm a Cheerleader, Chappell Roan, and lots of bedazzling are all part of the (queer) agenda. JB
(Pink Rabbit, Northwest Portland)


Butch Is Not A Dirty Word Past Event List
Producer and photographer Esther Godoy's Butch Is Not A Dirty Word celebrates all things butch identity, centering butch voices and raising consciousness around the term through portraits of butch-identifying people. At this free art viewing and artist talk with Godoy, attendees can head to the Winningstad Theatre lobby to learn more about their explorations of queer histories, then groove around at an after-party helmed by "Southerplayerlistic" DJ Aspen, the house DJ for the Portland Timbers. LC
(Winningstad Theatre, South Park Blocks, free)



Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts Past Event List
For over 60 years, the free Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts has supported the diverse creativity of our decidedly artsy region. They'll return this year with better-than-ever programming, including mixed media exhibits, an artist market, and groovy performances by Robert Henry & the Repeaters, Jacquie Roar, and others onstage at George Rogers Park and Lakewood Center for the Arts. LC
(Lakewood Center for the Arts, Lake Oswego, free, Friday–Sunday)

Summer Story Fest Past Event List
It's about to get reallllllly cute on Sandy Boulevard this weekend: Outlet PDX and queer bookstore Honeyed Words will present a "summer celebration of storytelling" in the vibey garden of New New Crusher Court. Over 40 zinesters and authors will be on site, leading workshops and slurping ice cream from Not 2 Sweet. Poke your head in Honeyed Words for queer and trans reads, or Sonny’s House, where you'll find bookish tattoo flash. Outlet PDX will host a zine workshop, and later on, an after-party organized by Ignatz-nominated local artist Liz Yerby will keep the meet-cute energy flowing. LC
(Outlet PDX, Kerns, free, Friday–Sunday)

Tigard Festival of Balloons 2024 Past Event List
Early birds will get access to a pre-dawn balloon launch out in Tigard, but if you'd rather sleep in, dreamy floating baskets will be elevated several times over this three-day hot air balloon festival. On the ground and under their bobbing shadows, you'll find booths selling handmade wares, local food vendors, and carnival rides and games. As the sun sets on Friday and Saturday, keep your eyes peeled for the "Night Glow," when balloons are ignited and inflated while tethered to the ground for up-close mesmerization. Other entertainment includes a rock-filled main stage, Rogue Ales beer garden, a kid's zone with a Trader Joe's snack booth, and a Sunday car show with everything from roadsters to pickups. SL
(Cook Park, Tigard, $15, Friday–Sunday)


Tree People: Puiden Kansa Remind List
Works by Finnish artists Ritva Kovalainen and Sanni Seppo will come together for this photography exhibition, which draws from forest-based mythology to reflect on ancient customs and beliefs in rural Finland, Estonia, and East Karelia. To capture the images in Tree People, Kovalainen and Seppo researched and traveled for a decade; the results feel both sacred and familiar. After all, most of us have felt a close connection to a tree at some point in our lives. Head to the exhibition to learn more about the forest spirits and stories, then explore the World Forestry Center and Discovery Museum's wood-filled space. LC
(World Forestry Center & Discovery Museum, Washington Park, $0-$8, Friday–Sunday)


Portland Beer Week Past Event List
The annual celebration of all things beery and beautiful in the Pacific Northwest returns in grand style, stretching the definition of "week" to encompass 10 whole days, and sprawling all over the city like a freshly shaken can of lager popped with no regard, featuring a wide range of events at notable breweries and venues. This year's lineup includes a pizza party, a "Make Your Own IPA Ice Cream" event, pop-ups, tap takeovers, special releases, workshops, a wrestling-themed "Snackdown" competition, and more. JB
(Various locations, Friday–Sunday)


Designing Women Past Event List
Curator-photographer Melanie Flood and artist Matt Morris come together in Designing Women to address (and critique) a polarizing question: What is a woman? When Flood’s photography is paired with Morris's paintings, textiles, and perfumery, a multimedia experience floods the senses and conjures yet another question: Who is the designer of women? "Though the assertion that women can be designed establishes an aesthetic project and a subject position, it is unknown what actors are at play," the artists explain. I'm intrigued by Flood's beach ball breast and Morris's digital prints on ruched satin. LC
(ILY2, Pearl District, free, Friday–Saturday)

Ivan McClellan: Eight Seconds Past Event List
When photographer Ivan McClellan attended the country's longest-running Black rodeo back in 2015, he described it as "like going to Oz — there was all this color and energy." The experience led McClellan on a trek across the US to discover all things Black rodeo culture, from Texan stables to LA ranches. In his Eight Seconds long-form photography project, McClellan documents "the lives of Black men and women who live a Western lifestyle across the United States." LC
(Blue Sky Gallery, Pearl District, free, Friday–Saturday)

Jessie Weitzel Le Grand: Two Suns Over the Neon Reef Past Event List
In Jessie Weitzel Le Grand's last solo exhibition at Chefas Projects, the sculptor's quirky creations imagined an alternate dimension or afterlife called Ny By. Le Grand is nothing if not imaginative, and Two Suns Over the Neon Reef proves it: Another selection of "peculiar creations by the citizens of Ny By" conjures artifacts from the strange realm where geodes, blossoms, and sandwiches reign supreme. No language, no laws, and no existential crises emerge in Ny By. (BRB, applying for citizenship now.) LC
(Chefas Projects, Central Eastside, free, Friday–Saturday)

Rob Lyon: Also Votives Past Event List
British painter Rob Lyon's second exhibition with Adams and Ollman explores landscape through a spiritual lens. Also Votives is also the first display of the artist's drawings, and an accompanying zine makes the show an unusual treat for fans of his deceptively simple charcoal and oil compositions. Drawing inspiration from the chalk hills of England's coastal South Downs, Lyon "conjures its unique spirits, which he then uses as a gateway to transcend the logic and limitations of the physical world in pursuit of spiritual or metaphysical connection." The results are bold and portal-like, full of sharp angles and genuine curiosities referencing everything from Neolithic burial mounds to celestial forms. LC
(Adams and Ollman, Northwest Portland, free, Friday–Saturday)

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