Monthly Archives: June 2013

13 Nights on the River Concert Series -FREE!

If you drive about 30 miles north of Portland on Hwy 30, you will wind up in my hometown of St. Helens, Oregon.  If you just happen to make that drive this Thursday, June 6th, you will be rewarded with being able to enjoy the first of a series of concerts called 13 Nights On The River. This family-friendly, outdoor summer event happens every Thursday all summer long, starting June 6th and going until August 29th, and, it’s completely FREE!

Flyer graphic art designed by Steve Johannsen,
Flyer graphic art designed by Steve Johannsen,

Held at Columbia View Park on the Columbia River ( it’s a fenced park, a safe distance from the water, btw), the concert also offers an open air market with vendors selling food and refreshments, jewelry, art, crafts, and more. Grab the kids, load up the car, grab dinner at one of the booths and kick back to watch some great family-friendly bands and enjoy the river.  You can also pack up your own dinner for a picnic in the park. Bring along blankets, chairs, and maybe an umbrella if the weather is having a moody day 🙂

Here’s the schedule ( * note: I provided a link to their page, but the concert schedule is not yet posted. Concerts schedules are subject to change or cancellation at any time, so try checking their site frequently before heading out!).

Flyer graphic art designed by Steve Johannsen,

I have been attending these concerts since they began a few years back, and I can honestly say that they are always enjoyable. They usually have a great selection of food, and, as long as the weather holds out, it makes for a fabulous evening, kicking back in the grass, watching little kids twirl  and couples dance. Do yourself a favor, and head out, at least once, early in the concert season. You might just wind up with a new Thursday evening tradition for your family!

Fun For Pennies Tip: Just go to the concert. It’s fun. Ok? and FREE. What more do you want?

UP NEXT: More festivals and events!


Playdate PDX. When the fun must be contained indoors.

I was pretty skeptical about Playdate PDX the first time I took my kiddos there. I much prefer being outside, roaming free in the open, as opposed to an indoor play park, packed full of screaming kiddos. I also balked at the price, especially for what I saw as a glorified McDonald’s playplace. I mean, I can take my kids to play there for the price of a medium  fry. But I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Playdate PDX looks tiny, from the outside. And, on a crowded day, it even feels kind of tiny and cramped on the inside. But, there were a few redeeming qualities of this place that finally won me over. Let me highlight those point for anyone who has yet to step foot in this wonderful oasis of kiddy fun.

  1. It’s always open, rain or shine.  Can’t go to the park? Fine. Playdate PDX it is.
  2. The kids eyes, upon seeing this colorful monstrosity for the first time, is just magical. Have your camera ready, cuz this will probably be the last time you see them as anything but a blur of motion for the next few hours.
  3. Adults can play too. SWEET. Seriously, don’t you sometimes miss climbing around that smelly McPlayplace, with all those tunnels and ball pits and windows to wave incessantly at your mom and dad?
  4. Air cannons. You can shoot foam balls at people. At your own kids, even. SCORE.
  5. Their slide is literally the fastest, craziest, most adrenaline inducing slide I have EVER been on. Just watch out for the bump at the bottom, it’s a pain in the butt. Seriously.
  6. THEY SERVE ALCOHOL.  No, I am not messing with you. Wine and beer, people. It’s liquid sanity in these kinds of places. These people are geniuses.

One thing that I always appreciate is the willingness of establishments to allow outside food or drink. Playdate PDX doesn’t really allow this, but to make up for , they do serve some  pretty tasty and health-conscious choices for snacks, like hummus and veggies,  and  everything from paninis to pizza to sweet potato or green bean fries. Not to mention coffee from Stumptown Coffee and and baked goods from Gabriels’ Bakery.

They even have a dollar deal menu with small snacky items like GoGurt, Hardboiled Egg , Mozzarella String Cheese , Banana, Orange , Apple Sauce , Apples Slices , Baby Carrots , Slices of Cucumbers, and Snap Peas.

I already mentioned that I thought the admission was kinda spendy. But after spending an entire afternoon there, and leaving with happily exhausted kids, I was a bit less put off by all the mula I had forked over. For all the fun and running they had, and the actual kicking back I got to do,  it was well worth the cost.  I even made a couple of mom friends while hanging out on the couch watching our kids run around like monkeys!

Plus, there was wine.

Admission: Toddlers 3 and under are $5 on Saturday and Sunday, and also on school holidays, $4 all other days. All other ages ( kids) are $10 sat/sun/school holidays, and $8 all other days.  I didn’t have to pay to play on the jungle gym with the kiddos, so that was great.

Hours are 9-8 Sunday- Thursday, 9-9 Friday and Saturday

( Photo courtesy of Summer Balcuns)


Fun For Pennies Tips: 

  • Wild Wednesdays offer free admission for each child bearing 2 cans of food to donate to the food bank.
  • Make sure to wear or bring socks! Kids will not be allowed to play without them. They can be purchased at the counter, though, if you do forget.
  • Fridays feature a complimentary performance/reading by the Dragon Theater Puppets.  These will start at 6:30 p.m.



* Featured photo is courtesy of Playdate PDX.

NEXT UP: Outdoor festivals and events!