Although the delta variant is proving to be a bit of a killjoy, summer events are pushing on full steam ahead. Fortunately, a majority of events are taking place outdoors to take full advantage of the sunny season, and some hybrid events are still on the books. Heading to an indoor event? The county and state do recommend resuming indoor masking regardless of vaccination status. To make sure you’re not left with FOMO, we’ve rounded up our pick of the crop, from music festivals like the Vanport Jazz Festival and The Lot Summer Music Festival to entire weeks dedicated to a single theme like Sneaker Week PDX, PDX Hip Hop Week, and Portland Mercury’s Burger Week.
Sneaker Week PDX
Sneaker Week highlights innovators and artists based in Portland, a hub for the global sneaker industry, through the themes of art, design, sport, music, media, tech, and science.
Various locations (Aug 5-11)
My People’s Market: In It Together
Browse an array of handcrafted products from BIPOC makers, artists, culinary wizards, and beverage crafters—all to the soundtrack of local performers curated by Black and Brown collective Y.G.B.
North Park Blocks (Aug 6-8)
Oregon Sunflower Festival
Get lost in a sea of yellow at the largest sunflower festival in Oregon. Admire over 30 varieties of sunflowers, explore Lee Farms' 120+ acres, take a scenic hayride, get your pick of the crop from a u-pick field, navigate through a sunflower maze, and more.
Lee Farms, Tualatin (Aug 6-29)
2021 Oregon State Fair
Partake in all the fried food your heart desires, then try not to puke them back up while zooming every which way on the fair’s brightly-colored carnival rides. Those who want to keep their feet firmly planted on the ground can check out the fair’s agricultural and animal displays, the Columbia Bank Concert Series, and a new wine tasting event.
Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem (Aug 27-Sept 6)
Swan Island Dahlia Festival
This year’s festival sadly won’t include an indoor display, but floral aficionados will still be able to traipse through colorful fields while stopping for photo ops, peruse a farmers market (Fridays only), take floral arranging and crafts classes, and more.
Swan Island Dahlias, Canby (through Sept 24)
Cinema Unbound Summer Movie Series
The Northwest Film Center's genre-spanning Cinema Unbound program will delight audiences with a rooftop series at Lloyd Center. Eighties favorites like The Dark Crystal and Steel Magnolias will be screened open air.
Lloyd Center (Aug 1-30)
Drive-In Movie Spectacular
Warm summer evenings call for outdoor movie nights, and the Hollywood Theatre is here to deliver with drive-in screenings on the Portland Expo Center's 60-foot mounted screen. To bolster the already enticing notion of seeing gems like Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Wizard of Oz en plein air, the screenings will be paired with live bands and/or DJ sets.
Portland Expo Center (Aug 5-28)
Agnès Varda Forever Festival
Few filmmakers have succeeded at blurring art and nonfiction quite as consistently as the late French director Agnès Varda, whose oeuvre Martin Scorcese has summarized as "big and small, playful and tough, generous and solitary, lyrical and unflinching." See a selection of her greatest work throughout the second half of the month, including Cléo from 5 to 7, Lions Love (...And Lies), One Sings, The Other Doesn't, Vagabond, and The Gleaners and I.
Clinton Street Theater (Aug 19-31)
FOOD & DRINK
23rd Annual Elephant Garlic Festival
The city of North Plains’ flagship event pays tribute to all things elephant garlic with a parade, vendors, music, and more. One needn’t worry about their breath while attending this festival, as the pungent smell of garlic is sure to be wafting around everywhere.
Jessie Mays Community Park, North Plains (Aug 13-15)
Portland Mercury’s Burger Week
Don your finest stretchy pants and get ready for the meat sweats because the Portland Mercury’s Burger Week is back! Brought to you by The Merc and New Seasons Market, you’ll find one-of-a-kind burgers at 38 of Portland’s finest establishments for a mere $6 each.
Various locations (Aug 16-22)
Feast Family Reunions at The Redd
Grab your fam, blood or chosen, for a family reunion you can actually look forward to attending. Part of Feast Portland’s Summer of Feast lineup, this food-filled series will feature tasty creations born from imaginative themes and some of Portland’s finest chefs, alongside ice cold bevvies and music.
The Redd on Salmon, Central Eastside (Aug 28-29)
Vanport Jazz Festival
Spend the better part of your Saturday taking in some of the smoothest Jazz the Pacific Northwest has to offer in the fourth annual edition of this festival that honors the lost city of Vanport and features artists Gerald Albright, Marion Meadows, Sheila E, and more.
Colwood Golf Center, Cully (Sat Aug 7)
Madison Plaza Summer Series
This pop-up series presented by the Portland Art Museum, The Numberz FM, and the Portland Bureau of Transportation continues with a community conversation, a PDX Hip Hop Week show, and an afternoon of Black health and wellness programs.
Madison Plaza, Downtown (Aug 15-28)
The Lot Summer Music Festival
Headlined by Blitzen Trapper and Parisalexa, this two-day festival will have afternoon and evening showtimes on each day.
The Lot at Zidell Yards, South Waterfront (Aug 14-15)
Montavilla Jazz Fest
Jazz trumpeter Farnell Newton headlines this free two-day festival, which will be livestreamed from Portland Metro Arts. This year’s program is bolstered by the world premiere and additional screenings of Call + Response, a music-meets-film project.
Virtual (Aug 20-Aug 22)
Portland Hip Hop Week
Now in its sixth year, Portland Hip Hop Week highlights the genre with album release shows, the 2021 Star Awards, showcases featuring rappers and producers, and a concert benefiting OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute.
Various locations (Aug 20-26)
Aggrieved Portland resident and frontman Isaac Brock and his longtime band of indie rockers will take to the Edgefield stage two nights in a row.
McMenamins Edgefield (Aug 27-28)
Original Practice Shakespeare Festival
Pull up a blanket and lay out your finest picnic spread at parks around town to watch Shakespeare performances like you’ve never seen them. The OPS troupe performs the Bard in the original practice techniques of Elizabethan England, complete with limited rehearsal, scrolls in hand, audience interaction, and an onstage prompter.
Various locations (Various dates between Aug 5 and 29)
All Fantasy Everything
Proud Portland son Ian Karmel hosts this podcast where fellow comics Sean Jordan and David Gborie fantasy-draft everything under the sun, from rap albums to Taco Bell menu items, before roasting each other’s questionable picks.
Revolution Hall (Sat Aug 14)
St. Johns Comedy Festival
Laugh until your cheeks hurt courtesy of 15 of Portland’s best working stand-ups at the first-ever St. Johns Comedy Festival. Co-presented by Curious Comedy Theater and veteran comedian/St. Johns resident Susan Rice, a portion of proceeds will to go towards The St. Johns Center for Opportunity & Do Good Multnomah, which helps houseless veterans find shelter and aid.
Stormbreaker Brewing, St. Johns (Aug 20-21)
READINGS & TALKS
Melissa Broder in Conversation with Katherine Morgan
Poet and essayist Melissa Broder’s vulnerable and surreal writing is on full display in Superdoom, a collection that brings together the best of her cult out-of-print poetry works. She will be joined in conversation by bookseller and chapbook author Katherine Morgan.
Virtual (Tues Aug 17)
SPORTS & RECREATION
Providence Bridge Pedal
Put your pedal to the metal across Portland’s iconic bridges in Providence’s annual bike ride that provides spectacular views of the Willamette River. The event offers different routes for cyclists of all abilities, including a kids’ pedal and a five-mile stride if you’d prefer to hoof it.
Various locations (Sun Aug 8)
Hood to Coast Relay
Traverse terrains of all sorts in Oregon’s most popular walking and running race, which stretches from mountain to shining sea, and is dubbed the “mother of all relays.”
Various locations (Aug 27-28)
Ware Ceramics Maker+Maker
Contemporary ceramic artist collective Ware Ceramics will pair 20 makers with complementary local businesses so you can simultaneously snag a handmade candle and new ceramic candle holder, some locally roasted coffee and an earthenware mug, or a planter plus a plant baby.
Oakshire Beer Hall (Sun Aug 8)
Color Line: Black Excellence on the World Stage
A selection of W.E.B. DuBois’s photographs and charts from the 1900 Paris Exhibition depicts African American life and invites museum-goers to engage with the visual dynamics of race.
Portland Art Museum (Aug through Nov)