One thing Milwaukie residents can count on in August is a slate of free, outdoor, family-friendly concerts in the Lewelling and Ardenwald-Johnson Creek neighborhoods. At least they can count on it this summer, as the concerts are back after a hiatus due to the pandemic.
This year the Milwaukie Parks Foundation will be selling duck race tickets the first Wednesday and Thursday in August at the concerts at Ardenwald and Ball-Michel parks. The duck race over the Kellogg Creek Dam will be held on Aug. 13.
The Lewelling Concert Series take place at 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday in August at Ball-Michel Park, 9781 S.E. Stanley Ave. Food will be for sale from Hearth and Soul Pizza.
First up on Aug. 3 is Big Plans, featuring blues, R&B and rock. An acoustic porch party will take place on Aug. 10, with four acts, including Howard Wade, Pat Peters, Jon Austen and Mary Flower. Portland blues powerhouse Norman Sylvester will wow the crowds on Aug. 17. Ten Spiders, highlighting unique and fun-roots rock with take the stage on Aug. 24 and the final concert on Aug. 31 will feature classic and modern salsa band Son de Cuba.
Ardenwald-Johnson Creek concerts
This concert series takes place at 7 p.m. on Thursdays at Ardenwald Park, 3667 S.E. Roswell St.
Food and beverages will be for sale from Milwaukie Cafe & Bottle Shop and the Office.
The first event on Aug. 4 will begin early at 6 p.m. to celebrate National Night Out, and then the Nu Wavers, a cover band of college radio classics, alternative and mainstream will entertain the crowd.
The Seymour Baker Band will take to the stage on Aug. 11 with a blend of folk, blues, Americana, rock, country and gospel. On Aug. 18, Big Plans will play blues, rock, R&B, a little "swamp feel" and country.
The final concert on Aug. 25 will feature sultry, electric blues from Kathryn Grimm and the Blues Tools.
The Lewelling Neighborhood has hosted summer concerts at Ball-Michel since the park was built over a decade ago, said Rebecca Stavenjord, chair of the Lewelling Neighborhood District Association.
"We took a pause for two years due to COVID-19 but are excited to offer the concerts again this year," she said.
"Events like this bring community members together and build important relationships. Music and celebration are a universal way to bring neighbors closer, and through the summer concerts we share that with the entire community," Stavenjord said.
The Lewelling NDA discusses potential performers, when booking bands.
"There are some long-time musicians who are extremely popular and are committed to returning every year. One example of that is Norman Sylvester, who is beloved in the community and has been a continuous act year after year," she said.
The NDA receives a small grant from the city of Milwaukie to put on these events, "but with rising costs we may not be able to continue as we have in past years," Stavenjord said.
She added, "These events have become part of the fabric of what we do, and it would be devastating to have to limit this annual series."
Visit with friends
The Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Neighborhood concerts bring people from two cities and two counties together, as the neighborhood encompasses the city of Portland and the city of Milwaukie and spans both Clackamas and Multnomah counties.
The main purpose of the concerts is to "get people to come out, have fun and see neighbors that we haven't seen for awhile," said Matt Rinker, chair of the Ardenwald-Johnson Creek NDA.
Sherri Campbell, a former active member in the Ardenwald Neigborhood, said she thinks the concerts have been a big part of the summer calendar since 2006.
Rinker said that bands reach out to the neighborhood association and organizers try to not repeat bands every year.
"We like to mix it up," he said.
Neighborhood Night Out is a tradition for the first concert of the year, and those activities will begin at 6 p.m. on Aug. 4; the concert will follow at 7 p.m.
In the past, public safety representatives have attended National Night Out from both the city of Milwaukie and the city of Portland.
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