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Photo: Portland Parks & Recreation
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 24 May 2024

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is bringing back its series of Summer Free For All events for 2024. The popular annual program, made possible by the 2020 voter-approved Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy), will begin with Free Lunch + Play on Monday, June 24 at 20 parks citywide - including eight in East Portland.

Filling the summertime meal gap with Free Lunch + Play

More than 50% of young Portlanders qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year. This program supports families by offering nutritious meals and recreational activities during the summer break when most schools are not in session. Meals are accompanied by play activities including sports, games, arts, crafts, music, and other activities provided by trained staff, PP&R’s arts centers and community program partners.

Free Lunch + Play is delivered in partnership with four local public school districts including Portland, Centennial, David Douglas, and Parkrose at about two dozen parks across the city (Monday through Friday) and five Mobile Lunch + Play sites in East Portland (days vary; see the online schedule for details).

 Mobile Lunch + Play

Portland Parks & Recreation brings the Free Lunch + Play experience to children at four apartment complexes and one park for kids to enjoy meals, arts, crafts, games, and sports.

Summer Free For All 

This year’s program features more than 50 events for people of all ages, including multicultural festivals, free outdoor movies, concerts, and more across the city.

“Summer Free For All is one of Portland’s signature annual event series,” says Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan. “This year’s lineup is full of fun, diverse entertainment for Portlanders of all ages.”

“Summer Free For All is one of the best ways to get introduced to all that Portland Parks & Recreation has to offer,” says Parks Director Adena Long. “And when school is out, Portland Parks & Recreation helps fill the summer meal gap with Free Lunch + Play offerings in parks, and even at apartment complexes. It’s going to be another lively season full of memorable events. I hope people take part in them, and even better, come work with us this summer!”

 Summer Free For All Kickoff Event

The kickoff celebration will be held on Thursday, June 27 at McCoy Park from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Lunch will be served along with live music, Arts in the Park, and the Rose City Rollers. 

 Portland Summer Arts Festival: July 6-7 at Ventura Park

This year’s festival headliners are Grammy-nominated soul and R&B artist Allen Stone and Grammy-winning percussionist and pop icon Sheila E. The event will run from 6-8:30 p.m. each day. Attractions include multicultural music and dance performances, free drop-in music activities, arts and craft activities, and more.

 Washington Park Summer Festival: August 10-11 at the Rose Garden Amphitheater

Events begin at 6 p.m. each day. The festival features live outdoor performances by Dance Church and Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater with live music by Darrell Grant and his ensemble on Saturday and Sunday will feature Ballet Papalotl and Edna Vazquez with Mariachi Portland.

Highlights of movies, concerts, and cultural events

 Summer Free For All events at Gateway Discovery Park

Free Open Play Swim sessions at PP&R pools, part of Summer Free For All

Portland Parks & Recreation’s outdoor pools will be open from June 20 through August 23. Creston Pool and Peninsula Pool will remain open through September 6 with a modified schedule. 

 Fitness in the Park

Free fitness classes begin June 24 and run through August 30 at seven Portland parks and one Portland Parks Golf course.

 

For schedules and information, visit the Summer Free For All webpage

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