As a veteran festival goer, I have some suggestions below for how to get the most out of the Portland Polish Festival, which takes place this Saturday and Sunday, September 25 and 26! In my book, this is the best fall festival in Portland.
- Bring cash! There’s an ATM, but why wait in two lines when you can wait in just one – the token line. Pay cash for the $1 tokens to buy drinks and food.
- Take MAX! Get off at the Overlook stop on the Yellow Line and walk 2 blocks up Interstate. Or take the 4-Fessenden to Mississippi and Failing, walk west and cross the Failing Street Pedestrian Bridge. You don’t want to have to drive or ride your bike after a few Polish porters (see below)
- Plan your Saturday arrival for after sunset! That is, if you’re not particularly fond of negotiating dense crowds and waiting in hour-long lines for potato pancakes. The crowd thins a bit after sunset on Saturday, and that’s the best time to be at the fest!
- Stay late Saturday night! The street dance from 8pm-10pm is the most fun you’ll ever have dancing in a parking lot to the music of legendary Portland band Chervona!
- Go for the combo plate and the placki! Enough pierogis, gołąbki, kiełbasa, bigos, and potato pancakes for a small village; share with a friend! Since the potato pancakes are served up from a different booth, split up and establish a meeting spot for after you’ve got your delicious food in your hands.
- Beware the Polish Porters! Delicious but strong (ranging generally from 8.5-9.5% ABV). The pilsners and other choices are also delicious, and of more typical strength. There’s also wine and mead!
- Post-Fest: The Alibi – literally stumbling distance from the festival; one block up Interstate.
Heather and I both blogged the festival in 2008 and 2009 – reap more tips by perusing our reviews:
- Pierogi ruskie, Gołąbki, and My Favorite: Placki Ziemniaczane (2008)
- A Night At The Polish Fest (2009)