Celebrate July 4 in style with the best PDX BBQs

As the nation celebrates its 240th birthday, Americans countrywide take to the most sacred of Fourth of July holiday traditions: the BBQ. Grills will fire across the land in recognition of the Declaration of Independence, and fireworks displays are planned in a variety of locations. Here’s a smattering of BBQs and parties throughout the PDX region.

Waterfront Blues Festival 2016 happens July 1–4 and brings a panoply of top notch blues musical acts, dozens of food tents and other vendors, and fantastic seats for the 10 p.m. Tom McCall Waterfront Park fireworks display. This is the largest blues festival on the West Coast, ladies and gentlemen. Tickets are $10 and proceeds support Oregon Food Bank.

The Great Western BBQ Cook Off at the 81st annual St. Paul Fourth of July Rodeo: It’s a road trip to the lovely town of St. Paul, halfway between Portland and Salem, but the 15 competitors in this BBQ contest promise happy bellies for all carnivores. Their competition theme this year is St. Louis-style ribs. Cost is $12/plate, drinks are extra.

The Estacada Timber Festival runs July 3 and 4 and boasts the largest fireworks display in Clackamas County. The full-fledged midway of carnival rides opens at 11 a.m. with a $5 fee per person for all over eight years of age and it’s $10 for parking. There will be Timber games and plenty of food and drinks. Both nights feature live music at 8 p.m. as well. Events take place at Timber Park, 90878 NW Evergreen Way, Estacada, Oregon. Hop on the Orange Line and high tail it to the festival.

The West Linn 2016 Star Spangled Fourth of July Celebration at Willamette Park (1100 12th St., West Linn, Oregon) begins at 6 p.m. and culminates in an ambitious fireworks display at dark. Admission to the park is free and BBQ will be on hand for purchase. Bring lawn chairs and blankets and relax for the evening with friends and family. You’ll need a car and driver in your party to commute from Portland State to West Linn.

Pedalpalooza wraps up its month-long bicycle-events extravaganza with their Fourth of July Ramble & Picnic at Laurelhurst Park (3700 SW Ankeny St.) on July 4 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The free-for-all bikers’ picnic features a mobile picnic and dance party on bikes. Family friendly, kids welcome, it’s a relaxed group ride with lots of stops for dancing and playing. Grilling picnics followed by the Pedalpalooza Award Ceremony will also happen at Woodlawn Park Amphitheaters: Northeast Degum Street at Bellevue Avenue and Northeast Oneonta Street at Claremont Avenue. A group ride from the parks to the fireworks will conclude the picnics around 8 p.m.

If it’s a more personal picnic experience you are after, try Bar Vivant’s Summertime Picnic Basket. Just reserve 48 hours in advance and choose from four designer picnic baskets or design your own. A basket for two costs $55 and typically holds two entrees, picnic snacks and wine, along with tableware and linens. For your own hike or trip, planning ahead to order a pre-made picnic basket might be just the thing for convenience.

For haute, make reservations for rooftop seats at Altabira City Tavern (1021 NE Grand Ave., #600, Portland, Oregon). The chefs have planned an all-American BBQ complete with front row seats to Portland’s downtown fireworks celebration. The menu includes Oregon razor clams, grilled salmon, smoked chicken, BBQ pork ribs and more.