PORTLAND, Ore. — As the old cliché goes, variety is the spice of life. There's plenty of variety to experience this weekend to keep you occupied — whether you're in Portland, across the river in Clark County or on the Oregon Coast. And at least one of these events will actually be spicy.
Vancouver Summer Brewfest
When: August 12-13
Where: Esther Short Park, Vancouver, Wash.
What's going on: If you've quite recovered from the Oregon Brewers Festival, there are many more brews to experience just across the Columbia this weekend. The Vancouver Summer Brewfest features about two dozen Washington breweries, food trucks, live music and a great place to hang out and enjoy all three. And if you're looking to pair the experience this weekend with something offering more for the whole family, the Clark County Fair is going on in Ridgefield at the fairgrounds — with all the rides, exhibits and fair food you can stand.
PDX Hot Sauce Expo
When: August 13-14
Where: OMSI Bridge Lot, 1945 Southeast Water Avenue, Portland
What's going on: Whether you're in it for the flavor or for the perverse desire to melt your own face, the 5th annual PDX Hot Sauce Expo offers selections from a wide variety of vendors — with an extra helping of "EXTREME." There's sauce sampling to be had, of course, but also Lucha-style wrestling; The Stage of DOOM, which is a (hot sauce-laced) food and pepper eating contest; food, craft beers and competitive cocktails. EXTREME!
When: Aug. 14, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland
What's going on: The India Cultural Association of Portland says that this is its largest annual outdoor festival in Oregon, celebrating Indian culture, music, dance, fashion, art, history and foods. This will be the 28th year it's been held, and the event drew about 15,000 people in 2019, the last pre-pandemic gathering. It's expected to be even bigger this year. The event is free, though donations are requested.
Elephant Garlic Festival
When: August 12-14
Where: 30975 Northwest Hillcrest Street, North Plains, Ore.
What's going on: This annual festival in North Plains is about way more than just garlic, but it's also really about the garlic. Expect craft vendors, food vendors, a beer and wine garden, live music, a marathon and other runs, a parade — and garlic. Lots of garlic. Seriously, this festival promises pungent fun.
Portland BBQ & Brews
When: August 12-14
Where: Washington-Monroe Park, 1300 Southeast Stark Street, Portland, Ore.
What's going on: If you're serious about BBQ and beer — and you're ready to come back for more Oregon brews after sampling what Washington has to offer — look no further than Portland BBQ & Brews. Here's a healthy helping of breweries, food vendors, live music and a wing eating contest. The event itself is free, but you'll need to buy drink and food tickets to enjoy those. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics of Oregon, according to the organizers.
Seaside Beach Volleyball
When: August 11-14
Where: Seaside Beach, Seaside, Ore.
What's going on: If you're serious about beach volleyball — or even just curious — this is the place to be. The Seaside Beach Volleyball is huge, featuring more than 185 courts and 1,600 teams. Amateurs come from all over the world to take part. You can register to play or just watch the action.
Providence Bridge Pedal
When: Sunday, Aug. 14 at 1 p.m.
Where: Multiple locations
What's going on: Ride your bicycle across many of Portland's treasured bridges through your choice of routes — there's even a "stride" option for those prefer to walk just the Fremont and Steel bridges. One option begins with breakfast from the top of the Fremont Bridge. With the exception of the three-mile Kids Pedal, these rides do come with a cost, with proceeds benefiting the Better Outcomes thru Bridges program. All routes end back at Southwest Naito Parkway and Ash.
Oregon Coast Hiking Exploriences
When: Friday, Aug. 12 (next event)
Where: Spyglass Ridge Trailhead, 3340 Southeast Harbor Drive, Lincoln City, Ore.
What's going on: If you can get past the abominable portmanteau "explorience," Lincoln City Parks & Recreation's series of guided hikes can be a great way to get outside and meet new people along the beautiful Oregon Coast. There's a series of events over the next few months, but the next one is Friday at Spyglass Ridge. The base hike is just over a mile, but there are options for a longer hike by exploring the interior trails.