Cultural Resolutions for 2016

by Melanie Davis
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If your resolutions for 2016 include a greater appreciation for Oregon and the variety of things it has to offer, here’s a list of twelve places and events to write into your calendar: June: Festival of Balloons It’s a yearly sight that delights young and old with the sight of bright floating objects in the sky. Many people outside the festival will be able to admire the great hot air balloons that participate in the event running from June 24-26. But if you enter the grounds at Cook Park in Tigard, you can take part in many more activities, like carnival rides and a twilight run, car show, live music and the Night Glow, which turns the balloons into giant lanterns! Learn more about the event and the balloon pilots at tigardballoon.org July: The River Bride Oregon Shakespeare Festival is more than what its name implies, although 2015-6 mark important anniversaries for the Bard and much of their season is a balance of his comedies and tragedies. However, among the Ashland theater company’s offers is Marisela Treviño Orta’s play about sibling rivalry, tangled passions and unknown risks, closing on July 7 after a run that begins in February. The playwright seeks to explore Latino folklore and family dynamics in a whole cycle of plays, this one among them. OSF continues also putting diverse faces to the classics, with an African-American cast in “Twelfth Night†and a production of “The Winter’s Tale†set in dynastic China and America’s Old West. For more information check out the bilingual show descriptions at osfashland.org August: Crater Lake On August 25, 2016 the National Park Service celebrates its Centennial, and what better place to be than at Crater Lake National Park, a jewel of the state. It was only natural that such a site would be preserved to be enjoyed by all, but the over 400 national parks now also help us learn about American history, including the heritage of Latinos, Pacific Islanders, women’s history and LGBTQ icons. Other national parks and monuments in the state include the Oregon Caves (Cave Junction), the John Day Fossil Beds (Kimberly), and sites along the Nez Perce Historical Park the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail (which span four and eleven states respectively). Read more at nps.gov/crla portland film festivalSeptember: Portland International Film Festival There is no excuse to miss “one of the coolest film festivals in the world†when it’s right in Portland. It includes chats with filmmakers, workshops on script writing, and more, with films and participants from around the world converging on the City of Roses. Check portlandfilmfestival.com for details. October: Day of the Dead In the course of the past three decades, Portland has enthusiastically embraced Día de los Muertos, largely thanks to the “traditionally original†celebration at Milagro, the main showcase for Latino arts and culture in the city. Multiple events like painting and altar exhibitions, a dinner at which calaveras (rhyming roasts) are read, and of course, a brand-new production each year full of music, dance and remembrances of our ancestors near and far. The theatre company is not alone in the celebration, however. More and more private and public celebrations are being organized around the city and state (and country, for that matter), such as McMenamin’s raucous Crystal Ballroom party that grows with every year. Milagro’s festival runs from mid-October to early November, and many of the other events concentrate around the weekend closest to 10/31-11/2. Check out milagro.org, and elhispanicnews.com for more events. November: Wordstock The Pacific Northwest is notorious around the country for its love of food, booze and books, which many attribute to the rainy weather. A little liquid sunshine could not stop the groundbreaking event that was Woodstock, and neither is the similarly-named literary festival deterred by a little (or a lot of) precipitation. This year’s Portland’s Book Festival will take place on November 5 in and around the Portland Art Museum, and it will showcase those other two local loves, local food and drink. The 2016 author lineup will be announced in September 2016; the 2015 lineup included Sandra Cisneros, Jesse Eisenberg, and the local ethnographer of Afro-Caribbean dance, Catherine Evleshin. Find out more at literary-arts.org December: Fireworks at Skibowl Holiday light displays are everywhere this time of year, but for a different experience in a different setting, Mt. Hood Skibowl puts on weekly fireworks display to light up the sky near the highest point in the state. The resort is one of the oldest in the country, and will celebrate 50 years of night-time skiing in 2016. There are also activities throughout the year, an annual powwow and it is also the site of the Wiwnu Wash Tribal Heritage Center highlighting the history of the native Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs. On select days during the skiing/snowboarding season the resort also holds Ski for Sunshine (a partnership with the Portland Police Bureau’s food and clothing relief organization), during which visitors ski for free in exchange for non-perishable donations. Saturdays during December Visit skibowl.com for more information