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Portland's 10 Unmissable Events and Festivals in September 2014

Portland's 10 Unmissable Events and Festivals in September 2014

Picture of Marcelina Morfin
Updated: 9 February 2017
While the summer may be winding down in September, the events and festivals taking place in Portland are heating up. From art exhibitions to food festivals to lively concerts to cultural fetes, many things are still waiting to be discovered in this beautiful Pacific Northwest city. Here is a curated list of exciting celebrations in Portland, Oregon, this September.


Art and Music | Suzhou Summer: The Art & Music of China

Until 30 September

Lan Su Chinese Garden is a beautiful garden built by artisans from Portland’s sister city, Suzhou, located in China’s Jiangsu province. This summer the garden presents Suzhou Summer: The Art & Music of China, which features artworks — painted by Suzhou artists — from The Han Collection, which are for sale, plus Chinese music on Sundays. Many activities and demonstrations are on the schedule, including calligraphy and accordion bookmaking on Fridays plus seal carving on Sundays. Before or after visiting the art exhibition, guests can explore the lush gardens and visit the teahouse for delicious Chinese tea and snacks.

Suzhou Summer, Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 NW Everett St., Portland, OR, USA, +1 503 228 8131



Design | Fashioning Cascadia: The Social Life of the Garment

Until 11 October

Seeking to explore crafts and the role they play in today’s society, The Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art is an institution that provides audiences with interesting exhibitions featuring a host of crafts. One current show, Fashioning Cascadia: The Social Life of the Garment, examines fashion of the region and everything that goes into a piece of clothing, including, but not limited to, the design process, the production, and the wearing of the item. The show also questions how the fashion industry can become more sustainable. Designers featured in the exhibition are from the Pacific Northwest and include Michael Cepress, Michelle Lesniak, and Liza Rietz to name a few.

Fashioning Cascadia, Museum of Contemporary Craft, 724 NW Davis St., Portland, OR, USA, +1 503 223 2654


Fashioning Cascadia: The Social Life of the Garment
Liza Rietz, Crescent Dress, 2013 | Photo by Christine Taylor/Courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Craft


Food | Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University

Every Saturday until 20 December

There is no better way to learn about a city’s culinary culture than by visiting a local farmers market. Numerous farmers markets are available throughout Portland, but the flagship market — established in 1992 — is the Portland Farmers Market at Portland State University. Named the best market in the USA by several media outlets, over 200 vendors set up booths at PSU each Saturday where they sell a variety of food and other products, including fruit, vegetables, coffee, chocolate, and flowers to name but a few. With tasty edibles for everyone, prepared items are also in abundance, such as sandwiches and baked goods, plus many gluten-free and vegan options as well.

Portland Farmers Market at PSU, SW Park Ave. & SW Montgomery St., Portland, OR, USA


Portland Farmers Market
© Allison Jones | Courtesy Portland Farmers Market


Art | Time-Based Art Festival

11 – 21 September

Presented by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, the Time-Based Art Festival, better known as TBA, is a contemporary art celebration currently in its 12th year. The participating artists — who come from around the globe — are known for thinking outside the box, and the TBA is the perfect event to showcase their work. An encouraging environment where artists can share their art plus explore new ideas, the art festival takes place in various venues across Portland and features live performances, visual art, workshops, plus other activities. Cellist Maya Beiser, artist and writer Emily Roysdon, and actor Jack Ferver are just a small sampling representing some of the creative minds appearing at TBA this year.

Various venues throughout Portland, OR, USA


Time-Based Art Festival
Luke George | Photo by Jeff Busby/Courtesy of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art


Food | Feast Portland

18 – 21 September

While this culinary event is only in its third year, Feast Portland has garnered many accolades in a relatively short amount of time, including making Fodor’s list of the best food festivals in North America. Established by Mike Thelin and Carrie Welch, this festival is a foodie’s paradise that celebrates the delicious flavours of Oregon all the while raising money to combat childhood hunger in Oregon and beyond. Featuring both local and national chefs, many ticketed events — all food and drinks are included in the price — are available throughout the festival and include hands-on classes, such as learning to make handcrafted sodas, tasting panels, and main events, which include exquisite dinners.

Various locations throughout Portland, OR, USA


Feast Portland
Courtesy of Feast Portland


Culture | Polish Festival

20 – 21 September

Thousands of people gather each year to partake in the many exciting offerings at the Polish Festival, which is currently in its 21st season. A cultural fete celebrating everything Polish, food lovers can sample delicious savoury and sweet fare, such as pierogi ruski, potato pancakes, and traditional Polish cakes, plus Polish beer and wine. Many performances showcasing traditional Polish folk dances and music will also be available plus a Polka contest for both children and adults. A fun-filled weekend for the entire family, there is also a street dance plus many activities designed for children, including art projects and a bounce house.

Polish Festival, 3900 N. Interstate Ave., Portland, OR, USA


Culture | Rose City Comic Con

20 – 21 September

Currently in its third year and co-produced with Emerald City Comicon, Rose City Comic Con is the largest festival of its kind in Portland. Celebrating comic books and pop culture, this festival also focuses on gaming and sci-fi and will feature a host of events, including photo opportunities with celebrity guests, a costume contest, and many exhibitors specialising in comics, tattoos, and games to name a few. Writer Kurt Busiek, actor Sean Astin, and voice actor Robert Axelrod are just a few of the special guests that make up an impressive array of stars on the line-up this year. A family-friendly event, people of all ages will take delight in this pop culture affair.

Rose City Comic Con (Oregon Convention Center), 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, OR, USA


Music | Project Pabst

26 – 28 September

Wanting to create a ‘love letter to Portland,’ Pabst Blue Ribbon has put together the first-ever Project Pabst. A music festival for adults who are 21 and older, numerous musicians and bands will be performing day and night. During the day, music lovers can gather to listen to performances along the Willamette River while night-time concerts will be scattered throughout different venues across Portland. Revellers can expect great music by Tears for Fears, Violent Femmes, Modest Mouse, Speedy Ortiz, GZA plus many others. Plenty of beer — PBR, of course — will be available along with many food options.

Project Pabst, Zidell Yards, Portland, OR, USA


Food | Portland VegFest

27-28 September

Celebrating its 10th year, Portland VegFest is a unique event focused on the vegan lifestyle, which includes plant-based food. While geared towards vegans, the event welcomes everyone interested in this lifestyle and those who wish to seek more information about it. Over 100 vendors will be on hand to offer free samples of sweet and savoury fare, plus there will also be cooking demonstrations along with several booths that have a wealth of information on veganism. Special guests speakers, such as actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr. and vegan pastry chef Fran Costigan, will lead informational talks. With activities for both children and teens, it is an event for the entire family.

Portland VegFest (Oregon Convention Center), 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Portland, OR, USA


Portland VegFest
Courtesy of Portland VegFest


Fashion | Portland Fashion Week Fall Edition

29 September – 2 October

Established in 2002, Portland Fashion Week Fall Edition is a unique fashion event — held at the Pioneer Courthouse Square — showcasing the clothing of local designers plus a few from Seattle. Spread out over four days, fashionistas can view beautiful designs for children’s wear, couture, bridal, and ready-to-wear items, plus The Art Institute Portland Student Show takes place on the last day of the event. Fashion designers and clothing lines featured this year include Jaefields, Katie Guinn, Boulevard de Magenta, and Devonation to name but a few. A lively fashion show, there will also be live musical entertainment, delicious cuisine provided by various Portland food carts, plus after parties following the runway shows.

Portland Fashion Week Fall Edition, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland, OR, USA


Portland Fashion Week Fall Edition
PFW Launch Party | Photo by | Courtesy of Portland Fashion Council