Summer Free For All Returns for 2023!

News Article
Full slate of FREE movies, concerts, Free Lunch + Play, and more; second annual East Portland Summer Arts Festival set for Ventura Park
Published

(Portland, OR) – 

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is bringing back an amazing series of Summer Free For All events for 2023. The wildly popular annual program will begin with Free Lunch + Play on Wednesday, June 21 at 17 parks in the Portland Public School district area and at seven school district sites located in East Portland on Monday, June 26, 2023. PP&R’s Free Lunch + Play events will kick off dozens of amazing outdoor citywide events all summer long. Schedules and information are posted at portland.gov/parks/arts-culture/sffa in English and Spanish. Schedules will be posted soon in Russian, Somali, Chinese, Vietnamese, and many other languages.

Four children in t-shirts and shorts enjoy a Free Lunch + Play meal at a Portland park in 2022.
Four children enjoy a Free Lunch + Play meal at a Portland park in 2022. Portland Parks & Recreation gives away at least 50,000 free meals each year in the summer gap when school lunches are not served.

Summer Free For All is a community-building, annual program that takes place in Portland parks. The series includes free cultural events for everyone, Free Lunch + Play meals for kids through our school district partners, and free activities for families and people of all ages. This year’s program includes 50 events, including multicultural festivals, free outdoor movies, concerts, and other special events across the city. The Free Lunch + Play program will again provide free lunches to youth while most schools are not in session for summer. PP&R’s Free Lunch + Play is delivered in partnership with four area public school districts including Portland, Centennial, David Douglas, and Parkrose at 24 parks citywide (Monday-Friday) and five Mobile Lunch + Play sites in East Portland (days vary; see online schedule for details).

Funding 

The 2020 Parks Local Option Levy (Parks Levy) is making Summer Free For All possible and the program would not be occurring without this critical community investment. As promised to Portland voters, the Parks Levy will, in part, deliver recreational programs, including family-friendly movies and concerts, fitness and art classes, teen- and senior-focused programs, life-saving swim lessons, and Free Lunch + Play. The Parks Levy also committed to removing financial barriers and Summer Free For All’s free programming eliminates cost as a barrier to participation. Thank you, Portland, for your support of the Parks Levy!

Scheduled for 2023: Big names, lifelong memories in the making 

A profile shot of musician/producer PF Morton on a sunny day, in front of some homes. Morton is wearing a black long-sleeved shirt and a stocking cap.
The annual East Portland Summer Arts Festival returns July 8-9 at Ventura Park. PJ Morton is this year's headliner, the multiple Grammy Award-winning keyboardist for Maroon 5 and an accomplished songwriter, singer, and producer!

PP&R is proud to bring back the annual East Portland Summer Arts Festival, July 8-9 at Ventura Park, headlined by PJ Morton, the multiple Grammy Award-winning keyboardist for Maroon 5 and an accomplished neo-soul, R&B, and funk songwriter, singer, and producer!  

You’ll also want to put the return of the Washington Park Summer Festival, which runs August 11-13, 2023, on the calendar. 

“It’s just not summer in our city until the Portland Parks & Recreation Summer Free For All returns,” notes an excited Culture & Livability Commissioner Dan Ryan. “I look forward to the series of festivals and performances each year, and this is one of the most exciting overall lineups yet.

“Summer Free For All is community-focused, and it blends world-class entertainment with meeting real community needs. I’m thrilled we’re able to showcase these key public services again, thanks in part to the investment Portlanders made in the Parks Levy.”

SUMMER FREE FOR ALL THIS YEAR INCLUDES: 

The Kickoff 

Play for days at Free Lunch + Play, where kids come to share a meal together and have fun in the sun! 

Portland Parks & Recreation welcomes everyone to join the Summer Free For All Free Lunch + Play Kickoff Celebration at lunchtime on Thursday, June 29 at  

K  ͪunamokwst Park from 11:30am-1:30pm. Get summer started with meals for youth, free arts and music activities, games, and an exciting musical performance by Triple Rainbow. It’s free and fun for all! 

What:            PP&R’s Summer Free For All Free Lunch + Play Kickoff event  

When:           June 29, 2023 

Where:          K  ͪunamokwst Park 

Time:             11:30am-1:30pm 

“Summer Free For All is a wonderful way 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 vibrant season full of memorable events.”

It’s back! East Portland Summer Arts Festival – July 8-9, 2023, at Ventura Park 

Launched in 2022 as part of Summer Free For All, the theme of this year’s arts festival is Celebrating Black Excellence.  

This event will run 4 -8:30pm each day, and attractions include multicultural music and dance performances free drop-in mini music lessons, arts and craft activities, and more will be provided by Portland Parks & Recreation's very own Community Music Center and Multnomah Arts Center.  

Washington Park Summer Festival 

This beloved Portland summer tradition returns, featuring world-class performances at the gorgeous Rose Garden Amphitheater in Washington Park.  

  • August 11, 2023 – NW Dance Project 
  • August 12, 2023 – Portland Cello Project presents “Purple Reign: The Music of Prince” 
  • August 13, 2023– Opera in the Park Portland

Movies, Concerts, and Cultural Events

Free movies and concerts outdoors in Portland’s parks make their return this summer, as do special cultural events including live standup comedy in partnership with Kickstand Comedy; We Outside, an outdoor wellness event for BIPOC communities, in partnership with The Numberz FM; and “The Jeffersons: Live,” a reenactment of the classic TV show, presented by playwright Kwik Jones.

Movie highlights include a screening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and some classic films like Hidden Figures, The Muppet Treasure Island, Super Mario Bros, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and much more.

A few concert highlights include Jujuba (Afrobeat) on August 17 at Alberta Park, Dance United (world music & dance) on August 10 at Peninsula Park, and Tiger Tiger: A Celebration of Our Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Communities on July 22 at Fernhill Park.

Free Lunch + Play 

Thanks to our school district partners Portland Public Schools, Parkrose School District, Centennial School District and David Douglas School District, PP&R’s Free Lunch + Play program expects to serve up to50,000 free, healthy lunches to children this summer in parks and at three East Portland apartment complexes. More than 50% of young Portlanders qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year.  Portland Parks & Recreation supports families by offering nutritious meals and recreational activities during the summer break from school. Free lunches 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. Lunches will be served at 29 sites across the city, including Mobile Lunch + Play sites.   

Mobile Lunch + Play Program, part of Free Lunch + Play 

Our Mobile Lunch + Play program is back and will travel to five locations, two times per week, in East Portland in park-deficient areas. 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.  

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

Portland Parks & Recreation’s popular outdoor pools will be open for the summer starting Wednesday, June 21; running through Sunday, August 27, 2023. 

Each outdoor pool will host a weekly free swim session in addition to regularly scheduled swim lessons, open play swims, and water fitness offerings:

  • Creston Pool – Free swim on Mondays 6:30-8:00pm
  • Grant Pool – Free swim on Wednesdays 1:00-3:00pm
  • Ida B. Wells Pool – Free swim on Thursdays 6:30-8:00pm
  • Montavilla Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 6:30-8:00pm
  • Peninsula Pool – Free swim on Tuesdays 1:00-3:30pm
  • Pier Pool – Free swim on Thursdays 1:45-4:30pm
  • Sellwood Pool – Free swims on Wednesdays 6:30-8:00pm

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