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16 Free Oregon Summer Events
With the warming of the weather can often come the emptying of the wallet, what with all the ice cream cones and similar splendors you have to buy to make it through the summer.
Save yourself some sunscreen money by checking out these free events around Portland and throughout the state. There's the offbeat, like the PDX Adult Soap Box Derby and the World Naked Bike Ride. There's the family-friendly, like the Rockaway Beach Pirate Festival and the Rose Festival parades. And there's the quintessentially summer, like the Summer Kite Festival and Three Days of Aloha.
They're all fun, they're all free, and they're all worthy of your Oregon summer bucket list. Make it a good - and inexpensive - one.
For more good times this summer, check out our complete 2016 Summer Events Guide, with concerts, road trips and 35 more events.
The rose festival's kickoff parade and the accompanying Starlight Run illuminate downtown Portland's streets just as the weather gets warm enough to make watching a nighttime parade enjoyable.
June 4; downtown Portland; free; rosefestival.org
Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest
Sand sculptors build castles and sculptures so nice you'll wish the tide wouldn't ever come in.
June 10-12, building happens June 11; Cannon Beach; free to watch, $5-$20 to compete; cannonbeach.org
Grand Floral Parade
The Rose Festival's cornerstone event and the must-see Portland parade of the summer, with a chance to check out the floats up close right afterward.
June 11; downtown Portland; free; rosefestival.org
Delta Park Powwow and Encampment
Native American tribes from around the region gather for cultural dancing, drumming, craft and food in this decades-old celebration of heritage.
June 17-19; Delta Park, Portland; free; more information on the Delta Park Powwow & Encampment Facebook page
Showdown at the Loops
Some regulars on the steep and winding Maryhill Loops Road start up their own international downhill skateboarding and luge race to replace the defunct Maryhill Festival of Speed.
June 21-25; Goldendale, Washington; free to watch; maryhillratz.com
Rockaway Beach Pirate Festival
Join a legion of roaming pirates on the beach for cannon blasts, sword fights, treasure hunting and more scallywagging.
June 24-26; Rockaway Beach; free; rockawaybeach.net
World Naked Bike Ride
One of Portland's biggest group rides just happens to involve thousands of naked cyclists protesting against oil dependence and for cycling safety and body positivity.
June 25; location TBA; free; pdxwnbr.org
Summer Kite Festival
Kits fill the sky above Lincoln City's beach, some small, some downright enormous. Kids can make their own kites, and everyone can learn to fly like a pro.
June 25-26; Lincoln City; free; oregoncoast.org
Robin Hood Festival
With a name like Sherwood, a city would be wrong to take its Robin Hood connection lying down. Merrily, the Robin Hood Festival in Sherwood, Oregon, does anything but.
July 15-16; old town Sherwood; free; robinhoodfestival.org
Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
Soak in the jams from beneath the St. Johns Bridge and let the summer sun and Willamette breeze run over you like the smoothest jazz.
July 15-17; Cathedral Park, Portland; free; cpjazz.com
GRAAND Kinetic Challenge
Engineering artists drive pedal-powered sculptures over road, sand dunes, a mud bog and a river in the most creative race you'll see all summer.
July 16-17; Corvallis; free to watch; davincidays.org
PDX Pop Now!
If ever there was a way to get exposed to Portland's music scene, this is it. Catch the festival under the Hawthorne Bridge and catch up on what's spinning from local stars.
July 22-24; AudioCinema, Portland; free; pdxpopnow.com
Three Days of Aloha
Why dish out the cash for a summer Hawaii vacation when all the island culture and color you could ask for happens here in the Northwest.
July 28-30; Vancouver; free festival, but some activities have fees;hawaiianfestivalpnw.com
More than 100 years of history are packed into this boat-centered celebration, and this year's tips a hat to the Astoria-Megler Bridge's 50th birthday.
Aug. 10-14; Astoria; most events are free; astoriaregatta.com
PDX Adult Soap Box Derby
One of Portland's favorite wacky races is going downhill fast, in the best way possible. Check out speed and art cars careen down Mt. Tabor in this iconic DIY race.
Aug. 20; Mt. Tabor Park; free to watch; soapboxracer.com
See more dahlias than you could have ever imagined existed, whether by a stroll through 30 acres of blooms or three rooms stuffed with arrangements.
Aug. 27-29, Sept. 3-5; Swan Island Dahlias, Canby; free; dahlias.com
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