One of the things I like most about our neighborhood is being able to walk a few short blocks for food and entertainment. In July my wife and I along with the dog packed up a picnic and walked to Eliot’s Dawson Park to see free concerts. This year Dawson Park hosted three “Summer Concerts in Portland Parks” on Wednesdays in July and we attended them all.
On July 9 Voodoo BBQ hit the stage and was the first band to play in the newly renovated Gazebo. I liked seeing the Gazebo used as a stage – it was a nice change from previous years. Voodoo’s New Orleans inspired funk was fun, entertaining and upbeat. After a very unpredictable spring, the weather was perfect and it really felt like summer was finally on the way!
The Gazebo Re-dedication Celebration was held the following Wednesday, July 16th. Unfortunately I missed the speakers, but I understand several people spoke about the significance of the Gazebo and what it took to get it renovated. Eliot Neighborhood Association hosted a VIP tent near the stage to say thanks to all the community sponsors. There was free ice cream for all and glow sticks for the kids. We gave our glow sticks to our kid, er…dog, who didn’t seem to mind wearing them on his collar.
The concert itself featured Patrick Lamb who has ties to Eliot neighborhood. He and the band put on a fabulous show. I was able to talk with Patrick a little after the concert and he signed the CD I bought. He genuinely felt honored to be part of the Dedication Celebration.
Finally on July 23 Aguamiel graced the Gazebo. Their salsa music was popular at the 2007 concert and again this year. Many people got up and danced and they even held a mini salsa training session. Since I am convinced I have two left feet when it comes to dancing I decided to lay low and watch.
This year I purchased CD’s from 2 of the 3 bands. I am somewhat old fashioned and have no problems buying a CD to support a band…especially a local band. Why didn’t I buy three? Aguamiel did not have CD’s for sale.
A special thanks goes to Legacy, New Seasons, Portland Development Commission, Albina Rotary, African American Health Coalition, Portland Community Land Trust, Portland Trailblazers, Urban League of Portland, and Wonder Ballroom for making the concerts happen.
Next July watch the eliotneighborhood.org website for information about Concerts in the Park.