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10th Annual Slabtown Festival

On Saturday, 9/10, all are welcome to the 10th Annual Slabtown Festival, celebrating the history of this NW Portland neighborhood It's a big day -- and all big days deserve a parade, some beer and a healthy dose of history.

Slabtown has been a residential Portland community, distinguished by a mixed ethnic component, since the 1850s. It encompasses roughly from NW 16th Ave. to Montgomery Park and from the Willamette River to NW Pettygrove. The neighborhood gets its name from the enormous quantities of slab wood -- the rounded, exterior parts of a log cut away to square off lumber -- that were a popular form of heating fuel in the early 1900s, produced by the neighborhood lumber mills.


This free, all-day, family-friendly event starts at 11 a.m. with a parade led by the Grand Marshal Bud Clark, two-term Portland mayor; longtime tavern-owner (Goose Hollow Inn); Slabtown resident; and star of this famous poster.

This year's 10th annual event is especially poignant since its original co-founder, the late neighborhood historian Mike Ryerson, was best friends with Bud Clark and because Ryerson's friends and family will be in attendance at the parade. Mike had really looked forward to seeing this festival into its 10th year, but sadly he passed away in January 2015.

The parade will be followed by some history programming and tours, kids' facepainting, puppet shows and balloon craziness, and continues late into the evening with live music.

As of this year, the festival is located at the Food Front Co-op at NW Thurman & 23rd Place, with history events at McMenamins Tavern & Pool, plus fun and deals at the 23rd Avenue Bottle Shop.

Festival Schedule


10:30 a.m. - Organize at New Seasons Market, 2170 NW Raleigh St.

11 a.m. - Parade departs, led by grand marshal Bud Clark, the Transcendental Brass Band, The Circus Project, Andy Furgeson of Red Yarn, as well as family and friends of festival founder Mike Ryerson.

All are welcome to join the parade! The route will go from New Seasons west to NW 26th Ave., north on 26th past Friendly House to Thurman St., then east to the festival site at 23rd Place.


McMenamins Tavern & Pool

Noon 'til 1 p.m. - Old Slabtown walking tour, featuring history of early development and industry, streetcars, Beaver baseball at Vaughn Street Park and ESCO. Led by local historian Norm Gholston. Meet at McMenamins Tavern & Pool.

1 p.m. 'til 2 p.m. - "Sons of Slabtown & Tales of Westside Sports," a history presentation by Portland author/historian Don Nelson. His new book of the same title will be available for sale.

2 p.m. 'til 2:30 p.m. - "The Trail, a Great Attraction of the 1905 World's Fair held in Slabtown," a history presentation by Portland historic preservationist/historian Dr. Tanya Lyn March (shown here, with festival founder Mike Ryerson).

2:30 p.m. 'til 3:30 p.m. - Walking tour of the 1905 World's Fair site in Slabtown, highlighting "The Trail, one of the fair's most popular attractions." Led by Portland historic preservationist/historian Dr. Tanya Lyn March. Meet at McMenamins Tavern & Pool.

3:30 p.m. 'til 4:30 p.m. - "Characters of Old Slabtown," a history presentation by McMenamins historian Tim Hills.


Food Front Co-op Lot

Noon * Penny's Puppets * puppet shows & storytelling entertainment for kids?
1 p.m. * The Alphabeticians * rock ‘n' roll for families
2 p.m. * Café Cowboys * prairie music
3 p.m. * Steve Cooper & Friends * music & sing-along
4 p.m. * Alexandra Wiley * post-folk troubadour


Shawn Brannan, face painter
Les Schwab kids' games & activities
ESCO interactive steel-casting booth
Food Front Co-op's Farm-to-School hands-on exhibit
Slabtown neighborhood photographic history displays


11 a.m. 'til 5 p.m. 
• $1 the Crowler® fill charge waived
• Hourly raffles
• 10% off to-go bottles and cans (excluding liquor)
• 20% off apparel

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