Fall is in the air, and the winds are blowing in a whole host of events for you to partake in this September. From festivals bound to get you in an autumnal mood like the Mount Angel Oktoberfest to the biggest celebrations of geekdom including Rose City Comic Con, and top-notch entertainment from Tame Impala to An Evening with David Sedaris, our picks will help keep you busy all throughout the month. So mark your calendars, grab those tickets, and find even more ideas in our complete food guide and event calendar.
2021 Belmont Street Fair
Held annually on the second Saturday of September, the Belmont Street Fair is one of the city's most well-attended street fairs. Stroll down the main stretch of Belmont, which will be closed off to cars for the event, while checking out wares from local vendors and eye-catching performances. The family-friendly outing will also include activities geared toward all ages.
Belmont District (Sat Sept 11)
DoveLewis Dogtoberfest 2021
To raise money for DoveLewis' blood bank, dogs and their hoomans are invited to this pooch-centric party that will include a photo booth and pet photo contest, a paw print art station, plus beer and Lucky Lab swag.
Lucky Lab Brew Pub, Buckman (Sat Sept 18)
El Grito 2021
Coinciding with Hispanic Heritage Month, this fiesta commemorates the independence of Mexico and other Latin American countries from Spain. The most important holiday observed by Oregon’s Hispanic community, the occasion will be celebrated with folkloric and Aztec dancers, live mariachi, salsa, cumbia and pop music, as well as traditional food and beverages, and community booths with interactive and educational materials.
Rose Quarter Commons, Lloyd District (Weds Sept 15)
McMenamins UFO Festival
An event truly out of this world, this festival honors the 1950 Trent sighting in McMinnville, which yielded some of the most credible UFO photos to date. Encompassing two days of expert speakers, an alien costume ball, a cosmic costume contest, and more, this extraterrestrial event is the second largest of its kind in the country after one held in Roswell.
Hotel Oregon, McMinnville (Sept 23-25)
Mid-Autumn Festival / Zhong Qiu Jie (中秋節)
Zhong Qiu Jie (中秋節), a.k.a. the Mid-Autumn Festival, is one of the most important holidays in Chinese culture. Following the lunar calendar, the celebration takes place on or close to the "harvest moon" during the autumnal equinox. Stroll through the tranquil Chinese Garden, which will be adorned with festive hanging lanterns. You'll also be able to get hands-on at a lantern making station, view a calligraphy demonstration, and try some mooncakes, the festival's signature treat.
Lan Su Chinese Garden, Old Town-Chinatown (Sept 18-19)
Mount Angel Oktoberfest
Celebrate the autumn harvest German style, with plenty of beer, brats, spaetzle, and more. Mount Angel's 56th Oktoberfest will include lots of revelry, with jaunty music provided by bands of all sorts—strap on your lederhosen and get down to Chardon Polka Band, Gruber Family Band, a brass band, and a squeezebox (whatever that is) band.
Mount Angel (Sept 16-19)
Oregon State Fair
The Oregon State Fair makes its return this year with the theme Fun Makes A Comeback! The week-and-a-half long event will feature the Columbia Bank Concert Series, carnival rides, fair fare such as foot-long corn dogs, funnel cake, and fried foods of all sorts, agricultural displays, horse shows and livestock displays, and a new wine tasting event called Celebrate Oregon Harvest.
Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem (Aug 27-Sept 6)
Spirit of Halloweentown
You'll find it impossible not to get into the spooky spirit at St. Helens' annual tribute to Halloween. Leaning into the fact that the movies Halloweentown and Twilight were partially filmed there—Ashley Greene aka Alice Cullen will even make an appearance this year—the city transforms into a themed attraction complete with a giant pumpkin, circus performers, a haunted house, and more.
St. Helens (Sept 18-Oct 31)
FOOD & DRINK
Negroni Week 2021
For this yearly event sponsored by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, bars all over the city will mix up everyone's favorite bitter crimson cocktail to raise funds for charitable organizations. Participating venues can stick to the classic version made with gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth and garnished with an orange peel or whip up their own unique variations.
Various locations (Sept 13-19)
Pix Pâtisserie 20 Year Anniversary Party
Fête Portland's pastry institution as they ring in their 20th year of supplying us with fine desserts, chocolates, and more. Said desserts and tapas will be available for purchase so you have sustenance to fuel your moves for a dance off and a chance to win a $100 Pix gift certificate. In the spirit of getting out of the house and having a reason to dress up again, the person deemed best dressed will also win a gift certificate. Competitive folks might also like to try their hand at speed pétanque, which is similar to bocce. And of course, it wouldn't be a party without some bubbly. Pix will toast their accolade of having the World's Best Champagne and Sparkling Wine List for the seventh consecutive time complete with a sabering demo.
Pix Pâtisserie, Kerns (Sat Sept 11)
James Blake: Friends That Break Your Heart Tour
Singer and producer James Blake's music sits at the intersection of electronic, soul, and post-dubstep. He'll bring his haunting and expansive sound to Portland, where it's bound to blow your mind as it's filtered through the Schnitz's newly upgraded sound system. Whether you're there to hear tracks off his new studio album Friends That Break Your Heart, or old ones like "Retrograde," Blake's music is sure to reverberate through your entire being.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Downtown (Tues Sept 21)
Lose Yr Mind Fest 2021
Push your worries and cares out of your pretty little head and get lost in the music during this annual independent music festival. The seventh iteration of Lose Yr Mind will span one weekend with Meatbodies, Acid Dad, Dommengang, Help, and Dirty Princess taking the stage on Saturday, and Deap Vally, Death Valley Girls, Scott Yoder, Sleeping Beauties, Spoon Benders, and Plastic Cactus slated for Sunday.
Vitalidad Movement Arts Center, Buckman (Sept 17-18)
Oregon Symphony Waterfront Concert and Festival
To see summer off with a bang, the Oregon Symphony is bringing back its popular Waterfront Concert and Festival. New music director David Danzmayr will lead the symphony through a lively program of works from popular films, masterworks by the world's finest composers, and classical favorites, culminating in Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture complete with cannon fire courtesy of the Oregon Army National Guard and a grand fireworks display. Other featured performers include the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Opera, Darrell Grant's PDX Jazz Masters Trio, Portland Taiko, singer songwriter Saeeda Wright, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Corazones Alegres Ballet Folklórico, Chris Pureka, Joaquin Lopez with harpist Antonio Centurion, and more.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Downtown (Sat Sept 4)
Portland's "little orchestra" Pink Martini features over a dozen musicians who perform a multilingual repertoire that's exotic yet familiar, seamlessly switching between jazz, classical, pop, and global music sounds. The band has a certain je ne sais quoi that puts everyone in a good mood—they don't just perform a show, they also know how to throw a party.
Edgefield, Troutdale (Sat Sept 18)
Psychedelic rocker Kevin Parker is joined by his live band members to perform his sonically complex 2020 album The Slow Rush. Special guest Perfume Genius, who also released an album last year, will open.
Moda Center, Lloyd District (Sun Sept 12)
Jesus Christ Superstar
Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, often regarded as his best musical, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The rock opera depicts the last week of Jesus's life as seen through the eyes of Judas. This traveling Broadway production won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.
Keller Auditorium (Sept 28-Oct 3)
Joy (Comes) in the Mourning
Curated by Portland Playhouse's community programs and associate artistic director Ramona Lisa Alexander, this hybrid festival presents interactive experiences that will explore the themes of loss and grief. After a trying year, this community gathering seeks to create a sacred space to mourn and heal with the help of artists, healers, dancers, faith-based leaders, singers, musicians, and community groups.
Portland Playhouse and Virtual (Sept 10-18)
Mercury Movie Mashup
The Portland Mercury is bringing three of its world-famous film festivals into one big, sexy, stoney, scary, movie showcase. Get a taste of all three film festivals with select shorts from SPLIFF (a stoner film fest), SLAY (a horror film fest), and HUMP! (the little porn festival that started it all!) Get ready for all the blood, drugs and sex they could fit into one short film showcase!
Clinton Street Theater, Hosford-Abernethy (Sept 10-11)
PDX Kids Film Festival: The Best of the Festival’s Short Films
The PDX Kids Film Festival presents a series of wonderfully crafted short films from all over the world. Curated by the PKFF team, the program includes films fit for young audiences spanning from animated to live action to documentary, with a total run time of 80 minutes for short attention spans.
The Lot at Zidell Yards, South Waterfront (Sun Sept 12)
POW Film Fest
POW Film Fest amplifies the voices of underrepresented women and non-binary directors. This year's program will open with the documentary Faya Dayi, which examines Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop. The bulk of the festival is composed of a diverse slate of short films broken up into programs with themes like "misogyny," "rise," and "empirical."
Hollywood Theatre and Clinton Street Theater (Sept 3-6)
Iliza: Back In Action Tour
See the comedian, show host, and first female winner of Last Comic Standing get back to what she does best: provide searing commentary on the female condition, embody a repertoire of boisterous characters, and above all, make us laugh until our faces hurt.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Downtown (Sat Sept 25)
This comedy titan, known for his long-running and wildly successful podcast WTF with Marc Maron, will bring self-revelatory anecdotes, biting cultural analysis, and (one hopes) in-depth updates on his cats to the stage.
Aladdin Theater, Brooklyn (Fri Sept 24)
GeekCraft Expo PDX
Kit out your geeky lifestyle at this crafty pop culture marketplace offering one-of-a-kind goods from local makers.
Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District (Sept 25-26)
Rose City Comic Con
This locally produced con has a focus on comics, comic creators, and the creative process. That said, you’ll still have the opportunity to cosplay your favorite characters, and try to keep your cool while getting autographs and partaking in photo-ops with George Takei, cast members from The Boys, The Mandalorian’s Carl Weathers, and more.
Oregon Convention Center, Lloyd District (Sept 10-12)
READINGS & TALKS
An Evening with David Sedaris
Although he now lives in Europe, David Sedaris is unquestionably one of America’s preeminent humor writers. The NYT bestselling author will regale the audience with his signature autobiographical tales dripping with self-deprecation and satire, presumably from his essay collection The Best of Me, which was released last year.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Downtown (Fri Sept 17)
SPORTS & RECREATION
Grand Prix of Portland
With the distinction of being the only Verizon IndyCar Series race in the Pacific Northwest, the Grand Prix will see drivers at the top of the open-wheel racing game navigate thrilling twists and turns.
Portland International Raceway (Sept 10-12)
Fans of golf, soccer, or perhaps both will get the chance to take aim at targets along midfield at Providence Park during Topgolf’s Live Stadium Tour.
Providence Park, Goose Hollow (Sept 9-12)
Art in the Pearl 25th Anniversary Festival
Feast your eyes on works by artists from all over the U.S. at "one of the top 10 Arts and Crafts Festivals in the country" (Art Fair SourceBook). Art appreciators will have the opportunity to chat directly with artists and craftspeople to learn about their processes, see live demonstrations, and purchase pieces from wood furniture to photography to ceramics right on the spot.
North Park Blocks, Pearl District (Sept 4-6)
Portraits of Them
After a year of documenting their experience with low-dose testosterone through monthly portraits, artist Ursa Nüffer-Rodriguez presents this multimedia exhibition which includes video, photos, audio experiences and sculptures, offering a different narrative of (trans)gender becoming than the idealistic, linear portrayal that is often fed to us.
Tips on Failing, Boise (Sept 4-18)
Time-Based Art Festival
If quarantine had you asking "what is time?" within the last year, then perhaps PICA's cutting edge annual contemporary art festival can answer that question. Expand your mind by taking in experimental art by local and international artists ranging from ephemeral performance pieces to print projects to artist lectures.
PICA, Kenton (Sept 16-Oct 3)
Venice VR Expanded 2021
Fine art meets tech in this immersive exhibition that manipulates space for a 360-degree storytelling experience like no other. The Portland Art Museum is once again the exclusive U.S. host for this competition within the Venice International Film Festival, which is organized by the Venice Biennale, so don’t miss this singular chance to explore new worlds through stunning visuals and soundscapes.
Fields Ballroom at the Portland Art Museum, Downtown (Sept 1-19)