If the Rose Festival is the unofficial official kick off of the summer (which has long bene my contention), the Fourth of July is the highlight. Fourth of July in Portland, Oregon is especially special. From the plethora of fireworks shows to the barbecues and the crowds of folks hustling and bustling through downtown, the Fourth of July is always a special time for me, and I know for others as well.
This year, we are gonna do something different. We are skipping Seaside, skipping Fort Vancouver, skipping staying home and firing off fountains and ashen worms. This year, we’re gonna make our way over to Sellwood, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods in all of Portland. My buddy Niko and his wife Sadie are having an epic barbecue. They’re buying a whole pig and roasting it underground, luau style. They’re hand forming organic free range burgers, they’re even providing meatless options for those who need it. The lettuce and tomatoes are coming straight from their garden. It’s bound to be an epic, truly Portland, experience.
The one tricky part in Portland about the Fourth of July is the lack of really cool legal fireworks. But, my tricky friend Niko is making his way up to Black Cat in Vancouver and bringing back some epic roman candles, bottle rockets, fountains and spinners. These are hardly legal, of course, but they’re going to be used and fired off anyway. I mean, they can’t fine everyone firing off illegal fireworks, right?
Between delicious bites of roasted pig, burgers made with home made buns and baked beans that, if I remember correctly, are absolutely divine, this contraband will be released from the croquet and frisbee laden back yard.
Will we get caught? Possibly. But, that’ half the fun. This country was founded on rebellion. This country was founded on independence and doing your own thing. It’s a very Portland thing to do in a very Portland neighborhood. It’s a very Fourth of July thing to do.
Afterwards, we will gather around the fire pit. I’ll probably bust out my acoustic guitar and I’m sure Niko will pull out his djembe and I know Sadie will get our her harmonicas, and, we will sing. Dylan, Decemberists, Joan Baez, Toto. It’ll be a celebration of life, of freedom, of friendship. Maybe it won’t be traditional, but, most things in Portland are hardly traditional. I’ll take a day of fun and games and friends and sun and, of course, delicious food and contraband fireworks, any day of the week. The Fourth of July in Portland is like nothing else. I look forward to experiencing it every year.