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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 22 June 2023

Free outdoor movies and concerts in Portland’s parks make their return this summer, along with the Free Lunch + Play series, cultural celebrations, and more. To welcome them back, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) presents the Summer Free For All Free Lunch + Play Kickoff Celebration at lunchtime on Thursday, June 29 at  K  ͪunamokwst Park from 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Get summer started with meals for youth, free arts and music activities, games, and an exciting musical performance by Triple Rainbow. It’s free and fun for all!

“It’s just not summer in our city until the Portland Parks & Recreation Summer Free For All returns,” notes an excited Culture & Livability Commissioner Dan Ryan.

“I look forward to the series of festivals and performances each year, and this is one of the most exciting overall lineups yet.

“Summer Free For All is community-focused, and it blends world-class entertainment with meeting real community needs. I’m thrilled we’re able to showcase these key public services again, thanks in part to the investment Portlanders made in the Parks Levy.”

Free Lunch + Play 

Thanks to school district partners Portland Public Schools, Parkrose School District, Centennial School District, and David Douglas School District, PP&R’s Free Lunch + Play program expects to serve up to 50,000 free, healthy lunches to children this summer in parks and at three East Portland apartment complexes. More than 50% of young Portlanders qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year.  Portland Parks & Recreation supports families by offering nutritious meals and recreational activities during the summer break from school. Free lunches are accompanied by play activities including sports, games, arts, crafts, music, and other activities provided by trained staff, PP&R’s arts centers and community program partners. Lunches will be served at 29 sites across the city, including Mobile Lunch + Play sites.  

“Summer Free For All is a wonderful way to get introduced to all that Portland Parks & Recreation has to offer,” says Parks Director Adena Long. “And when school is out, Portland Parks & Recreation helps fill the summer meal gap with Free Lunch + Play offerings in parks, and even at apartment complexes. It’s going to be another vibrant season full of memorable events.”

East Portland Summer Arts Festival Celebrates Black Excellence

The East Portland Summer Arts Festival runs July 8-9, 2023, at Ventura Park. Launched in 2022 as part of Summer Free For All, the theme of this year’s arts festival is Celebrating Black Excellence.

This event will run 4 -8:30 p.m. each day, and attractions include multicultural music and dance performances free drop-in mini music lessons, arts and craft activities, and more will be provided by Portland Parks & Recreation's Community Music Center and Multnomah Arts Center. 

Washington Park Summer Festival 

This Portland summer tradition returns, featuring world-class performances at the Rose Garden Amphitheater in Washington Park.  

  • August 11, 2023 – NW Dance Project
  • August 12, 2023 – Portland Cello Project presents “Purple Reign: The Music of Prince”
  • August 13, 2023– Opera in the Park Portland

Movies, Concerts, and Cultural Events

Free movies and concerts outdoors in Portland’s parks make their return this summer, as do special cultural events including live standup comedy in partnership with Kickstand Comedy; We Outside, an outdoor wellness event for BIPOC communities, in partnership with The Numberz FM; and “The Jeffersons: Live,” a reenactment of the classic TV show, presented by playwright Kwik Jones.

Movie highlights include a screening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and some classic films like Hidden Figures, The Muppet Treasure Island, Super Mario Bros, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and much more.

A few concert highlights include Jujuba (Afrobeat) on August 17 at Alberta Park, Dance United (world music & dance) on August 10 at Peninsula Park, and Tiger Tiger: A Celebration of Our Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Communities on July 22 at Fernhill Park.

Free Open Play Swim Sessions

Portland Parks & Recreation’s popular outdoor pools will be open for the summer starting Wednesday, June 21; running through Sunday, August 27, 2023.

Each outdoor pool will host a weekly free swim session in addition to regularly scheduled swim lessons, open play swims, and water fitness offerings:

  • Creston Pool – Free swim on Mondays 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Grant Pool – Free swim on Wednesdays 1:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Ida B. Wells Pool – Free swim on Thursdays 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Montavilla Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 6:30-8:00 p.m.
  • Peninsula Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 1:00-3:30 p.m.
  • Pier Pool – Free swim on Thursdays 1:45-4:30 p.m.
  • Sellwood Pool – Free swims on Wednesdays 6:30-8:00 p.m.

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