Thomas the Tank Engine

The Rev. W. Awdry's classic stories of Thomas the Tank Engine and friends come to life with a fully functioning steam engine done up as Thomas. The Come Ride the Rails Tour stops in 40 cities to entertain more than 1 million visitors.

Beginning this weekend, the Mount Hood Railroad will take its turn, featuring Thomas the Tank Engine trips and activities for nine days. The train departs hourly, rain or shine, taking children ages 2 and up along with parents, grandparents and friends on a 30-minute ride in heritage rail cars pulled by Thomas.

Families also can meet and take photos with the superintendent of the railroad, Sir Topham Hatt; participate in hands-on arts and crafts at the Imagination Station; and enjoy live music, videos and storytelling.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FRIDAY-SUNDAY, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Thursday, June 24-July 2, Mount Hood Railroad, 110 Railroad Ave., Hood River, 1-800-872-4661, - $16 ages 2 and up; advance tickets recommended

Summer Kite Festival

Lincoln City sits on the 45th parallel, where warm and cool air currents make a nice mix for kites.

Check out kite performances, kite competitions including bol racing (large, doughnut-shaped spinning kites), a stuffed-animal drop, stunt kite demonstrations and more at this highflying annual coastal event.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. SATURDAY and SUNDAY, June 24-25, D-River State Wayside, Lincoln City, 1-800-452-2151, - free

Portland Parks

According to Portland Parks and Recreation, more than 1 million people cooled off in its public swimming pools last year.

With hot weather on the way and travel costs at an all-time high, the department says numbers could top that mark this summer. It all kicked off this week with the opening of 13 municipal pools around the city, including the refurbished Buckman Pool in Southeast.

Various events - among them, two-for-one Terrific Tuesdays - are geared to swimmers of all ages, including Mom and Dad.

- Eric Bartels

Various times and locations, 503-823-5130,


Portland Bridge Walks

Did you know that the Steel Bridge turns 94 next month?

Learn interesting facts such as this, and many more, by taking a tour of Portland's bridges with the expert, Sharon Wood Wortman, author of 'The Portland Bridge Book.'

The walk will cover about a mile of ground with frequent stops. Guest poets and musicians will pop up to add to the experience. A no-host lunch at Dan and Louis Oyster Bar concludes the walk around noon.

8:30 a.m. SATURDAY, June 24, meet on the steps of NW Natural, 220 N.W. Second Ave., 503-823-5127, $12 adults, $8 children under 10; registration not required, additional tour dates are July 4, Aug. 6, Sept. 4 and Oct. 7


Tibetan Cultural Festival

Experience Tibetan culture through traditional dancing, authentic food and handmade items at a festival sponsored by the Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association.

Live entertainment from the association's dance troupe; New York musician Tenzin Kunsang; the Tibetan Dance Troupe from Vancouver, British Columbia; and others will occur throughout the day. A Tibetan bazaar offers a range of items, from books about the Dalai Lama to tasty steamed dumplings called momos.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. SATURDAY, June 24, Oaks Amusement Park, 7100 S.E. Oaks Park Way, 503-233-5777, - free

Polka Dance Party

Czech this out! It's not just an all-ages party for polka, but for waltzing and old-time music, too.

The lively event, sponsored by the Czech Society of Oregon, is expected to draw roughly 200 folks with Czech backgrounds, or anyone else who's a lover of polka, sausage, sauerkraut and Pilsner Urquell beer.

The Country Czech Dutchman, featuring a concertina accordion, will perform live.

4 p.m. to 8 p.m. SATURDAY, June 24, Eagles Lodge, 4902 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., 503-234-5594, - $3


Good in the Neighborhood

Celebrate the diversity of the North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods this weekend at this free event, formerly known as 'Good in the Hood.'

Featured attractions include a parade, multicultural music on two stages, food, an 'information village,' a KidSpace arts and crafts area, a beer and wine garden, and an ethnic marketplace with 28 tables of goods from around the world.

Proceeds from the event will help the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods' assist low-income and at-risk residents.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. SATURDAY (parade), noon to 10 p.m. SATURDAY, noon to 7:45 p.m. SUNDAY (festival), June 24-25, King School Park, 4800 block of Northeast Sixth Avenue, 503-282-1288, parade route and event schedule are at - free

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