In just about six weeks, Portland will be host to FEAST Portland (Sept. 18-21). In it’s third year, FEAST highlights Oregon’s bounty of food and wine. There are dinners with chefs, cooking demos, food challenges, wine tasting and much, much more. If you have the slightest affinity for any of the above-this is not one to miss.
Tickets start going quickly right about now so act soon if you want to go. If you discover the event you had in mind is sold out, consider volunteering. I volunteered last year and I had a fantastic two days amongst “my people.”
I volunteered for two events last year. The first event was the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting which takes place on a Friday and Saturday in Pioneer Square. I’d say a third of the square is covered in tents and under those tents you’ll find samples of foods from a smorgasbord (see what I did there?) of Oregon’s finest foods. From seafood to chocolate to cheese to sauces and so much more. In the center of the square, you’ll find cooking demos from both local and national chefs. In another part of the square, you’ll find a few dozen wineries offering wine tasting. That was my volunteer area last year. My duties included making sure to answer any questions, empty the tasting/sample buckets, picking up the occasional stray napkin and just making sure everyone is happy. Safe to say, everyone was.
Aside from supporting a great cause, another perk to volunteering is that you get a break to go enjoy the event for a little while. During my break I won a $50 gift certificate for taking a test drive in a Lincoln. Not bad for a 5 hour shift.
My second volunteer shift was for High Comfort at the Nines Hotel. This a dressier event and made for a fun evening. High Comfort features over 20 chefs along with a number of wineries.
It was great to sample food from chefs both from Portland and from all over the country. There was bubbly at the entrance, cocktails from Hendrick’s Gin, Coffee from Stumptown and treats from Salt and Straw (if I remember correctly). My shift was only about 5 hours and it was great to mingle everyone.
So, consider volunteering if the event you wanted to go to is sold out. One event I won’t be volunteering at this year is Night Market. My lovely wife bought me a ticket so I’ll be attending for my first time. If you see a bald man in brightly covered pants, it’s a good chance it’s me. Come over and say hi. I’ll see you there.