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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Late Summer Frugal Fun 8.22.12

August is winding down, but with Labor Day Weekend coming up, we still have at least three good weeks/weekends to savor before all the outdoor coolness goes away (unless you live in a year-round warm climate). Most cities have fun things to do every weekend of the Summer, like free or cheap concerts, parties in the park and more.

This past weekend we took advantage of the good weather and attended Ecopalooza in a lovely Portland Park near the waterfront. There were food trucks, vendors and a line-up of bands leading up to the main event: Everclear – One of my favorite bands that also happens to be from the area! Ecopalooza is a yearly festival that celebrates green living and is totally solar powered. Better yet, it was only $12.50 to get in and lasted a good 9-10 hours.

Events like these are great, because they’re affordable, fun and you can bring a blanket and let your kids run around while you enjoy whatever’s happening – music, fashion shows, poetry slam – and munch on foods you brought from home or check out some of the latest food trucks or restaurants that are sponsoring the event and have food on-site.

Portland has a variety of free things going on each weekend between mid-June and Labor Day. You should check your city’s travel site to see what is happening around your local area. Here are just some of the things that you can do for free or cheap at home or on vacation:

  • Concerts in the park or town square – sometimes they will be free, sometimes they will be cheap, but usually they always feature local bands/musicians. 
  • Free movies in your neighborhood park or city center – bring a blanket and some snacks to watch a flick with hundreds of your closest friends.
  • Neighborhood parties – this weekend we’ll be attending a party in our nearby park that has free food, drinks and games. Your neighborhood might have vendors, parades and other awesome stuff.
  • Seaside celebrations – Near a port? Many times they offer days that are open to the public with games, prizes, face painting and other cool stuff. Terminal 4 at Port of Portland has a day each year that they bring in local musicians, offer giveaways and jetboat rides for super cheap. 
  • Air shows – Enjoy amazing plane acrobatics. 
  • Fairs! – County and State Fairs are all over this time of year. Churros, rides and 4-H animals. Oh yeah! 
  • Farmers’ markets – If you love fresh foods, then you will want to get up early on a Saturday morning (or some other day of the week if that’s when your local one is), bring some cash and a sturdy reusable bag.
  • Fountains! – If it’s hot and you have little ones and no pool, then your local park probably has a fountain for jumping in. It’s like sprinkler jumping times ten! 
  • Shakespeare in the Park – I did a post on my viewing of a performance nearby. 
  • Flea markets – Like farmers’ markets, but with old…I mean, VINTAGE goodies.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list, but you get the idea. Your paper likely has listings for cool stuff happening near you on the weekends. Don’t forget that parks are great places to bring your kids, because there are playgrounds and plenty of space for them to burn off energy and enjoy the Summer.

What’s your favorite frugal way to spend Summer days at home or on vacation?

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