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Mid-Summer Thoughts: Concerts in the Park

A few weeks of concerts are now behind us - be it concerts at the parks, Kruger's farm concerts, Zoo concerts.  In the past few weeks, we've seen triple digit temps and rain, which has definitely affected whether we pack the picnic or not.  Last week on a rainy Wednesday, we decided to brave the weather and hope for the best: we hit Peninsula Park for some 'hot 20s jazz'.  The rain decided to stay away, but the concert was cancelled for good measure anyway.  It was just as well: we caught up with old friends and spent the evening picnicking right on the stage.

In the past few weeks, we have picnicked at Sellwood Park, Fernhill Park, Peninsula Park.  We've had several evening jaunts at Jamison, too, of course!  We have found that we all enjoy it most when:  1) the play area is within line of sight from the grassy area so the kids can play while parents catch up on the picnic blanket, 2) we are able to position ourselves in the spot that is just-so -- not too close to the music so we can still catch up with friends, and 3) we have enough provisions for the hungry picnickers.  For these reasons, we have enjoyed our concerts at Fernhill - with the merry-go-round in plain sight from the parents' perch on the grass - even though Peninsula Park is more of our neighborhood park.

So, we ask: Which parks have been great for you and your picnicking family?  What's in your picnic basket?  (We typically have tofu slices, prosciutto, grapes, straweberries, baguette, cheese, water, wine)  How many concerts in the outdoors have you hit so far this season?  How early do you get to the park - a little early to score the perfect spot or after the first set has already begun?


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It wouldn't be summer without an outdoor show by Portland's own 3Leg Torso. Normally we catch them w/ the Festival Symphony around August, but this year they also did a July 4 show at the Zoo. Dunno if it was the weather or the competing Blues Fest keeping folks away, but it was the first time we've been able to sit "that close" to the stage at a Zoo concert -- the usual teeming masses just weren't there. Good time was had by all, especially when the sun moved behind the ampitheater!

I also feel like our family needs to get to the outdoor concerts to validate our summer. We don’t go to the Zoo concerts because of the crowds, and we prefer the Park concerts. Sellwood has worked out great for us. We like to sit back far from the stage so we can watch our kids play in the grass in front of us. We also love the beauty of Krueger’s Farm. There’s a lot for the kids to do there. A couple of weeks ago when the temperature was in the 90’s they turned the sprinklers on in the grassy area where the kids play. It was wonderful.

When our oldest was younger and constantly running off, we would tie a balloon to her so we could see where she was at all times. We try to bring relatively easy foods to eat for little ones, like sandwiches or burritos. We arrive early so we can get a parking space close by incase there is need for a diaper change or change of clothes. That way we don’t have to lug everything out of the car.

Happy Valley Park in the Clackamas area is terrific! The park put in a large splash pad with tons of fun fountains. On Thursday nights the Concert in the Parks series starts at 7PM, the music gazebo is situated close to the splash pad so we can munch while the kids play.

We live near Dawson Park and attend the Wednesday night concerts there. Tomorrow there is one for an R&B singer. I think the playground is better for the little ones (I have a 19 month old) then Peninsula Park. The concert two weeks ago was not very crowded - I think a lot of people were afraid of the heat. It turned out to be a lovely evening (the park is shaded) with a nice breeze. The salsa band was great - the little one sleep well and even past her current 5:30 am wake up. We are thinking of hiring the band to play nightly so we can get some sleep!

The concerts at Dawson started the first summer we were parents five years ago. They have been a wonderful summer treat. We load up the wagon and cooler and head on over. It is a great way to get out for an evening and see a bunch of friends and neighbors.

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