River Fest on the Deschutes
The fast-moving Deschutes River and its environs have it all - arid weather, dramatic canyons, fragrant desert sage and wildlife like bighorn sheep, bald eagles, mink, otters and rainbow trout.
No wonder that the city of Maupin, located in the heart of Wasco County, feels like celebrating.
The county has happily evolved into an outdoors mecca, famous for the Deschutes' Class II, III and IV white water rapids, and excellent fly-fishing.
The second annual River Fest is an all-day family affair. The requisite snacks, live music and kids' games are just the beginning.
Rafting trips, five- and 10-kilometer walks and runs along the river, and fly-casting demonstrations round out the day. Consider spending the evening at an area campsite or inn where you can enjoy the resplendent night sky.
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. SATURDAY, Sept. 16, Lower Deschutes, Oasis Riverview Campground, 609 U.S. Highway 197, Maupin, 541-395-2611, deschutesriveroasis.com/riverfest.pdf, free
Midland Central's 10-Year Celebration
Parkrose has become one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in Portland. When Midland Library opened in 1996, ample space was allotted for collections in Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Vietnamese.
The anniversary party reflects and celebrates this international community, with a Chinese lion dance, Mexican folk dancing by Ballet Popotle, Middle Eastern music and movement from Americanistan, and Au Co, a Vietnamese dance team.
Snacks and craft projects like birdhouse making should keep younger kids amused; 'tweens can peruse their MySpace accounts on the many public computers.
1 p.m. to 5 p.m. SATURDAY, Sept. 16, Midland Library, 805 S.E. 122nd Ave., 503-988-5392, www.multcolib.org, free
Race for the Cure
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has been a national leader in educating women (and men) about the intimidating disease since its first event in 1982. Over the years, the foundation has contributed more than $500 million toward breast cancer research.
Race for the Cure has evolved into the foundation's trademark event, drawing approximately 1 million participants across the U.S. In Portland, you can choose from a one- or five-kilometer walk, or a five-kilometer run for the big race.
The weekend's other events include the Komen Health Fair, Survivors' Luncheon and Survivors' Fashion Show.
Race-day registration begins 6:30 a.m. SUNDAY, Sept. 17, Southwest Naito Parkway and Taylor Street, 503-552-9160, race.komenoregon.org, $10-$25, free for kids 5 and under
Mount Angel Oktoberfest
If you can't make it to Germany, Mount Angel's event may be the next best thing. The rural community is close to Portland, and the quaint setting draws 350,000 folks for an annual pilgrimage.
Oktoberfest organizers make a valiant attempt at authenticity. Bavarian treats are served in 60 food chalets; there's a large arts and crafts show, as well as an interactive family Alpinegarten.
You can burn off your bratwursts in the 10-kilometer volkswalk. After you've eaten, appreciated art and worked up a sweat, it's time to worship at the church of hops, aka the biergarten.
If you don't have a designated driver, look into local accommodations. Many beers have such a high alcohol content these days, even one imperial pint can put a smaller person over the legal limit.
11 a.m. to midnight FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. SUNDAY, Sept. 15-17, Mount Angel Village, 40 miles south of Portland on U.S. Highway 214, or Interstate 5, Exit 271/Woodburn, then follow signs to Silverton and Mount Angel, 503-845-9440, www.oktoberfest.org, free, $4 parking
The Regional Arts and Culture Council teams up with Tryon Creek State Park, 652 acres that are home to more than 200 varieties of flora and fauna and feature miles of hiking, biking and horseback trails. Northwest artists, sponsored by RACC, unveil five installations this weekend, integrating man-made beauty with the park's natural splendor.
A central goal of the project is to bring attention to Tryon Creek Park's accessibility, reminding us how lucky we are to have green spaces just a few miles from downtown. Visitors of all ages are invited to create their own projects, like bamboo-print journals and lichen collages.
The relationship between the arts and the outdoors won't end here: Throughout the year artists will give Sunday afternoon talks at the park.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. SUNDAY, Sept. 17, Tryon Creek State Park, 11321 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd., 503-636-4398, www.tryonfriends.org, free
Alberta Street Fair
Northeast Alberta Street continues to gentrify with upscale restaurants, boutiques and wine shops, but its annual street fair is far from staid. Actually, it promises to be livelier than ever.
Roving street performers, crafty DIY vendors, funky live music and a parade featuring decorated bikes and costumed pets promise to, as the popular bumper sticker reads, 'Keep Portland Weird.'
Ethnic street food and art - including face painting and ceramics stations for kids - and a horse-drawn trolley are on board as well. The fair is also a great time suss out bargains at unique but sometimes spendy stores like Imp, Ped-X and Tumbleweed as they clear out summer stock.
Best, and least expensive, of all is the great people watching.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. SATURDAY, Sept. 16, Northeast Alberta Street from 11th to 31st avenues, 503-972-2206, www.albertastreetfair.com, free