Annual summer festival shares best of Southwest Portland with visitors
by: Submitted Photo Thousands will once again line Capitol Highway Aug. 20 for Multnomah Days festivities.

Save the date; the Multnomah Village Business Association will host its annual Multnomah Days festival Aug. 20, organizing an event that's already shaping up to be a memorable one.

'Multnomah Days is a great day to join your friends and neighbors for a fun day for the entire family. 'It's a fun time for the whole family,' said Leigh Rosenwald, a Multnomah Days volunteer and owner of knack gallery. 'Beer and wine gardens, a parade, a kids' play zone, interesting vendors, music and food - what else could you ask for?'

So far, more than 60 community groups have already signed up to take part in the Multnomah Days parade, dubbed 'the biggest little parade' around, and there's still time to sign up.

This year, registration is as easy as ever. Simply email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Aug. 10 indicating that your group will be participating. You'll receive a confirmation email in response with the location where you'll meet to line up, and the rest of the organizing will occur the morning of the parade.

'It's something we've done in years past that has worked really well,' said Joan Steinbach, Multnomah Days parade organizer, volunteer and co-owner of Thinker Toys with her husband, Tye.

'It's a great way to get the word out about your (organization),' she said of the parade, which strolls down Capitol Highway over the viaduct between Southwest 31st and 35th avenues.

Another change to the parade's promenade is the addition of a second announcer. With one announcer stationed near Village Beads and another posted outside Annastasia Salon, onlookers at both ends of the route will be able to hear the details of each parade entry.

At the head of the pack will be Blaze, the Portland Trial Blazers' mascot, as this year's grand marshal.

'A lot of times we look within our community (for our grand marshal),' she said. 'This time we did something a little different. The Blazers mean a lot to people here in Portland.'

The annual 'Head of the Pack' dog parade will lead the way for the parade beginning at 10 a.m., and the main event will follow immediately after.

Once again, 100 food and artisan vendors will line Capitol Highway after the parade is through, showcasing handcrafted wares and serving up a variety of global cuisine.

Multnomah Village favorites including Down to Earth Cafe and Thai Herbs will set up shop for the event along with several newcomers, including JoPa and Hillsdale's Salvador Molly's.

'We're excited to get more community groups involved on the food end,' Luke Huffstutter, owner of Annastasia Salon and a Multnomah Days volunteer said. 'We continuing to find more ways to get the community involved and have a better representation.

'People are starting to step up more and more and bring more fun things to the day.'

Also bigger than ever is the Multnomah Days Kids Zone, hosted by the Multnomah Arts Center through a partnership with the Southwest Community Center, Portland Parks and Recreation and the Portland Police Bureau.

To keep the beat going and the crowd's spirits high, Multnomah Days will also feature a line up of street music with sounds ranging from zydeco to blues through 4 p.m. The Get-A-Life Marching Band will open with the first set at 11:30 a.m., followed by Grupo Condor and The New Iberians.

And, even after the streets have cleared, DrummerBoy will sing the blues from 6 to 10 p.m. at the festival's wine garden, sponsored by Sip D'Vine.

Organizers said Multnomah Days will also showcase the community involvement that happens year-round and off er people the opportunity to give back to these do-gooders.

'We're going to let more people know about some of these community groups that are doing good things,' Huffstutter said.

The SW Hills Kiwanis Club will kick off festivities bright and early with its annual pancake breakfast, to be held in the Key Bank parking lot, located at 3515 S.W. Troy St., from 8:30 to 11 a.m.

Meal prices include pancakes, sausage, juice and Starbucks Coffee, and all proceeds from breakfast sales benefit the Mt. Hood Kiwanis Camp for Children and Adults with Disabilities.

This year will also be the first year the MVBA has partnered with Neighborhood House to gather donations of nonperishable food and cash for Neighborhood House's programs and the Multnomah Village Bloc's Initiative. Three kiosks will be set up around the event to collect donations.

And, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Lucky Lab Public House will host a dog wash fundraiser to benefit DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital.

'It's such a great community event,' Steinbach said of Multnomah Days. 'People plan their summer vacations around it. It's pretty darn cool to be a part of (it).'

'It's such a traditional event, we've just spent a lot of time streamlining its organization, Huffstutter said. 'We'll just keep trying to keep growing the vision for next year.'

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