In 2005, Jennifer Ries, a student at Mary Woodward Elementary School in Tigard, wrote a letter to then-Tigard Mayor Craig Dirksen asking for the creation of a "Family Day." In the letter, the second-grader said the event should have sandwiches and cookies.
"Families are important and it would be a fun day for families," Jennifer wrote at the time.
Dirksen agreed, and that's how Family Fest was born.
This year's event is set for Saturday, Sept. 7, and Sunday, Sept. 8, across multiple Tigard venues.
"This year's Family Fest is reflective of our strategic vision of building a more interconnected and healthy community," said Tigard city spokesman Kent Wyatt. "The popular Fun Run is back and encourages community members to get their steps in before enjoying the food and activities at the Street Fair, Latino Festival, and Festival of Fun."
The Downtown Tigard Street Fair, organized by the Tigard Downtown Alliance, will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 7, on Tigard's Main Street. The event will feature vendors, entertainment and more.
Steve DeAngelo, board president of the Tigard Downtown Alliance, said he's excited about the event, which started out small but has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. He said the gathering is a great way get the community out to enjoy a day in Tigard's downtown, just south of Southwest Pacific Highway, also known as Highway 99W.
The event has attracted as many as 7,000 visitors.
"Last year, it was crowded from the time we opened to the time we closed," said DeAngelo, who owns DeAngelo's Catering on Burnham Street.
This year, 179 vendors are expected at the street fair.
"This event is about bringing the community into our downtown core to celebrate community, connect and have a good time, as well as begin to honor, celebrate and recognize the diversity within our community," said Debi Mollahan, treasurer of the Tigard Downtown Alliance and chief executive officer of the Tigard Chamber of Commerce. "Through events of this type, the TDA works to bring the broader community into downtown Tigard to create awareness of our ever-improving and ever-changing mix of businesses and encourage residents to shop locally."
Also on Saturday, Sept. 7, is the Tigard Latino Festival. The fourth annual incarnation of the event will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Southwest Main Street. The community festival, which is put on by the City of Tigard, features Latin American food, dance performances and face painting for children.
The Latino Festival also includes a 6:30 p.m. appearance by Pa'lante, featuring a "fiery, authentic and irresistible Salsa, Latin Jazz and Afro Cuban rhythms by an outstanding array of professional musicians."
Mollahan said there is more to do in downtown Tigard than ever, with recent business additions that include an escape room, board games, board game bar, vintage pinball, table tennis, whiskey library, Zumba and an increasing range of services, pet grooming as well as a doggie day spa.
For all those wanting to get a little exercise, a Family Fest 5K Fun Run is also slated for Saturday, Sept. 7, sponsored by Tigard Parks & Recreation.
Runners and walkers of all ages are welcome. Parking is available at Tigard City Hall, where participants can check in as well, beginning at 9 a.m.
The 3.1-mile walk or run begins at Tigard City Hall at 10:30 a.m., meanders through the city and ends on Main Street.
The entry fee is $5, and children under age 5 run for free. Early registration is available online and includes a T-shirt.
The fun continues on Sunday, Sept. 8, at the Tigard Public Library. From 2 to 3 p.m., families are invited to the Tigard Library Puett Room (on the first floor) for a chance to create ferocious paper bag dragons.
And why dragons?
"Libraries breathe fire into the imagination and creativity into the soul," said Terri Smith, youth services senior library assistant, who is in charge of the program.
At the same time, participants can also try their hands at making a folk-art bean mosaic.
Also in the library on Sunday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. will be award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick, appearing in the Burgess Community Room. Kirkpatrick will talk about writing and her latest novel, "One More River to Cross."
The story is based on the survival of the Stevens-Murphy party, who left Missouri two years before the Donner Party to journey through the treacherous Sierra Nevada Mountains. Seeking religious freedom and education, the group of mostly Irish Catholics, were fine until heavy snow caused difficulties.
"We are always excited when we have an author as popular as Jane Kirkpatrick," said Paula Walker, library communications coordinator. "And we are especially excited that she will talk about her brand-new book."
Kirkpatrick, a New York Times bestselling author, will have books on hand that can be purchased and she will sign them as well.
Sept. 7 musical lineup
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