PORTLAND, Ore. — The weather is still plenty warm in Portland, but we're also starting to reap the benefits of something new — fall events. At least for the time being, it's possible to enjoy the changing of the season under a sunny sky and with balmy temperatures, so take advantage while you can.
Rose City Comic Con
When: Sept. 9-11
Where: Oregon Convention Center, 777 Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Portland
What's going on: This is it — the big one. Portland's own nerd Mecca. Featuring the likes of Billy Dee Williams, Giancarlo Esposito, Khary Payton, Rainn Wilson, Amber Benson, Charisma Carpenter, Julie Benz, Elijah Wood and Sean Astin (to name a few). If you don't know the names ... don't worry about it, maybe this ain't for you, kid. Expect comics, cosplay, art and artists, vendors, panels, demonstrations and workshops. All the things! Seriously, why are we bothering to tell you? Whatever your nerd bag, they've probably got a booth for that bag, and probably at least one booth that just sells bags. Bags for every bag. It's bags all the way down.
The Maize at the Pumpkin Patch
When: September through October
Where: The Pumpkin Patch, 16511 Northwest Gillihan Road, Portland (Sauvie Island)
What's going on: See, maize is another word for corn. But a maze is a network of paths formed into a puzzle that's intended to confuse and titillate the senses (or house a minotaur). Sometimes mazes are made in corn fields. Thus, "The Maize." Awesome, glad we got there. Amazing. Anyway, nothing screams fall family fun like a corn maze and a pumpkin patch, and this iconic example on Sauvie Island combines the two! It just opened last weekend and will remain open well into the fall, but here's your notification to make it happen. Go forth and live that pumpkin spice life.
Belmont Street Fair
When: Saturday, Sept. 10
Where: Southeast Belmont Street from Southeast 33rd to Southeast 39th, Portland
What's going on: We've seen plenty of neighborhood street fairs this summer, but it's September — the time for outdoor fairs is nearly at an end. If you want a last hurrah and find the Belmont neighborhood enchanting, here you are: food and retail vendors, live music (there are two stages) and activities for all ages.
Portland Dragon Boat Festival
When: Sept. 10-11
Where: Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland
What's going on: After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Portland Dragon Boat Festival is back. Races run pretty much the length of Tom McCall Waterfront Park, but the festival itself will be down at the south end, between the Hawthorne Bridge and RiverPlace. This includes food vendors, a beer garden, entertainment and merchandise.
When: Sept. 9-10
Where: John's Marketplace (both the Powell and Multnomah locations)
What's going on: It's September, which is nearly October, and Portland has a bunch of Oktoberfest events going on nearly every weekend fit to satisfy your beer-swilling desires. Of all the Oktoberfest events, this is certainly one of them. If you're not familiar with John's Marketplace, it features a notoriously huge selection of beer, so they know their stuff when it comes to its consumption — and they've got two locations at which to get an early start on the Oktoberfest festivities.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
When: Sept. 9-25
Where: Chapel Theatre, 4107 Southeast Harrison Street, Milwaukie
What's going on: It's a little late for midsummer, but it's never too late for Shakespeare. This production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Theatre Berk is certainly that, but it promises an infusion of modern (maybe postmodern?) dance and style, alongside more female and non-binary interpretations of the characters. Considering that all the performers were male in Shakespeare's time — regardless of the characters' persuasions — turnabout should be fair play.
When: Sunday, Sept. 11
Where: Wellspent parking lot, 935 Northeast Couch Street, Portland
What's going on: Curious about tomatoes? Do you enjoy eating said tomatoes? Perhaps you're interested in cultivating tomatoes? Are you a killer tomato? Whatever the answer, Tomato Fest '22 is surely the place for you. The event promises tomato tasting, education on the topic and a sampling of tomato-forward treats.
Chapman "Swift Watch"
When: September, one hour before sunset
Where: Chapman Elementary School, 1445 Northwest 26th Avenue, Portland
What's going on: Maybe the idea of bird watching sounds to you like the wildlife equivalent of watching paint dry, but we promise, there is something special about watching the swifts at Chapman Elementary School. Every September, a population of migrating Vaux's swifts returns to the Chapman chimney. Around sunset, you can sit out and watch the speedy little birds swarm through the sky before funneling down the chimney as the light fades. If you're lucky, the whole display is preceded by a brilliant Portland sunset, and the orange-tinted sky fades to purple as the birds find their resting place for the night. It's a bit meditative, and there are no electronic devices involved unless you bring one with you. Sit down, look up, swift out.