More Portland Christmas Lights!

December 20th, 2012

There are many ways for Portlanders to enjoy the Christmas Season.  At Portland International Raceway hosts “Winter Wonderland“ the largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi River.  You can enjoy this drive-through light show right from the comfort of your own car!

Another great place to enjoy Christmas displays is Peacock Lane, in SE Portland.  Every house on this one city street is decorated with Christmas lights.  You can drive your car down the street, or just walk along the sidewalk and enjoy the displays. Families serve hot cider and cocoa, and there is even a horse-drawn carriage!

Holiday Ale Festival & Zoolights!

December 9th, 2012

This is a great time to enjoy the Holiday season here in Portland.  Last week, several students attended the annual Portland Holiday Ale Festival at Pioneer Square.  Students could taste over 30 different flavors of beer and mead (honey wine), from nutmeg beer to chocolate ale!

This Tuesday, a number of students also went to see the Zoolights!  This is a fun and magical display of Christmas lights inside the Oregon Zoo.  The Christmas lights are in the shape of animals from all over the world.  Each year they get more and more lights, so be sure to come every year!

PELA News: Thanksgiving Weekend in Wine Country

November 22nd, 2012

This weekend, more than 140 wineries are open to the public during Thanksgiving Weekend in Wine Country, west of Portland.

Many of these wineries are not open at any other time during the year. Festivities include tasting of new releases and older vintages, barrel tastings (getting served wine directly from a barrel!), and specialty foods.  Some wineries even have live music.

When you visit a winery in the U.S., they usually require a ‘tasting fee‘ between $5 – $20–for that fee, you get to taste around 5 or 6 wines.  If $20 sounds expensive, that is because you usually get to keep the wine glass as a souvenier!


PELA News: Help keep Portland green!

November 9th, 2012

This Saturday, PELA student will volunteer at the monthly NW Portland Neighborhood Cleanup–a gathering of Portlanders living in the Northwest Portland who work to keep their neighborhood a beautiful place to live and shop.

This morning event will focus on cleaning up litter on streets and sidewalks, and is hosted, and all participants of the cleanup will be able to enjoy free coffee, tea and pastries supplied by Food Front, a local co-op grocery which focuses on selling locally-grown and produced food.

Because Portlanders love their city so much, several neighborhoods around Portland have monthly or seasonal cleanup days.

You can also find almost every month “beautification projects” conducted in some Portland neighborhood.  These art projects can involve simple projects such as repainting park benches or fences, or bigger projects such as painting street intersections and creating


PELA News: PELA trip to the Corn Maze!

October 5th, 2012

This month, PELA will take our students out to get lost in a Corn Maze!  This is one of our students’ most favorite school trips, and is a popular American activity in the fall.

Every year on Sauvie Island (just north of Portland), a local farmer creates an artistic and intricate maze in one of his corn fields.  Thousands of Portlanders come to enjoy an afternoon wandering the maze, as well as buying locally-grown fruit and vegetables at the farm’s market.  There is even a hay ride out to a pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkin!

To find out how to get there on your own, visit the Corn Maze Website!

Every October, you can also enjoy the Haunted Corn Maze–a corn maze filled with spooky and scary fun for all ages!  You can experience the Haunted Corn Maze every Friday and Saturday till Halloween.


PELA News: Dance at the Greek Festival!

October 1st, 2012

Starting today is one of Portlanders’ favorite cultural festivals: the Greek Festival!  This fun festival is held at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in NE Portland.  For 3 days you can enjoy  Greek food, music, dance, and cultural tours.  Over 15,000 people attend this festival every year.

Watch Greek dancers, dressed in gorgeous authentic hand stitched Greek costumes, dance all weekend long–you can even join in and learn!

During the festival, you can also take a tour of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and learn about the symbolism of the artwork inside their chapel.  A part of the proceeds from this festival go toward supporting various local charities.

You can find information on the Greek Festival’s location here.


PELA News: Party at the Portland Polish Festival!

September 21st, 2012

The Portland Polish Festival is a 2-day long party celebrating Portland’s strong Polish community.  At the Festival, you’ll be able to taste Polish food, enjoy live music and dance performances. During the festival, there will be non-stop stage performances, including a few dance groups and music bands, polka contests, a street dances both nights, delicious Polish food and imported Polish beer.

Admission is FREE!

The event is held in North Portland–you can take the MAX Yellow Line north to the Overlook Park MAX Station.


PELA News: Support your neighbors at the Slabtown Festival!

September 9th, 2012

If you are looking to see a neighborhood in Portland often missed by tourists, you should go to the annual Slabtown Festival. located in NW Portland!  This free community event is a family celebration that brings together the neighborhood’s past, present and future!

Enjoy live music, face painting, children’s crafts, a rock climbing wall, a bounce house, Slabtown baseball & history exhibit, merchant booths, food vendors, abeer garden and more!

Slabtown Festival benefits the Friendly House, a non-profit neighborhood center and social service agency in Portland, Oregon.

Some of our PELA students will be attending this event as part of our Volunteer Program. They will be helping with entertainment, sell raffle tickets, help artists, and work the information booth.

You can find information on the location and hours for the Slabtown Festival here.


Portland is the Beer Capital of America!

August 26th, 2012

Portland has been brewing beer since before Oregon was even a state.  Since 1985, we have been famous for having more kinds of beer made here than anywhere else in the U.S.  Is it any wonder that Portland hosts over 20 different beer festivals and events throughout the year?

These festivals are also great opportunities for our PELA students to volunteer!  Dozens of PELA students each year volunteer at the following festivals, using their English with local Portlanders!

Zoobrew Local beers are served and live music performed inside the Oregon Zoo!

Portland International Beer Festival This festival invites beers from all over the world to compete with each other to see which beer is voted “Best in Beer”!

Oregon Brew Festival & Parade Over 70,000 people attend this event celebrating local beer-makers.

The Bite of Oregon This festival celebrates local beer, wine and food!

Widmer Oktoberfest This is the largest German Oktoberfest in Portland.

Holiday Ale Festival This festival takes place in the heart of downtown Portland at Pioneer Courthouse Square next to Portland’s city tree.

We hope to see you in Portland at one of these festivals!

PELA News: Enjoy Italian food & dance!

August 20th, 2012

At the Festa Italiana, held every year at Pioneer Square, you can stomp grapes to make wine, enjoy music and dance performances, and eats a lot of Italian food!  And admission to the festival is FREE!

Beginning Thursday, there will be live musicians and dance performers on stage every hour.  A dozen different Italian shops and restaurants will have booths at Pioneer Square, serving everything from anti pasta to Italian breads and gelato!