Balloons fill a field and then float heavenward during the Festival of Balloons in Tigard. (Courtesy Festival of Balloons)
Balloons fill a field and then float heavenward during the Festival of Balloons in Tigard. (Courtesy Festival of Balloons)
It’s springtime in Oregon and that means outdoor festivals and events are starting up. Also on the spring and early summer agenda are some events that will get people thinking, even praying.

Concerts at the zoo

In 1979, the Oregon Zoo hosted its first outdoor concert series, the first of its kind in the United States. Now, the annual summer attraction features a variety of performers from June through September and allows visitors of all ages to take in great music among the animals.

This year’s series starts on June 14 and will feature the band RAIN as they perform the songs of The Beatles in a tribute to Abbey Road. Other artists one stage later in the season will be Amos Lee, the Oregon Symphony, the Indigo Girls and The Piano Guys, among many others.

Tickets range in price depending on seating. General admission, reserved and terrace seating are available for each concert but some concerts are already sold out. This year, the concert series will end on Sept. 7.

Nearest Catholic parish: St. Mary Cathedral, NW 18th Avenue and Couch St. Weekend Masses: Saturday 5:30 p.m., Sunday 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 5:30 p.m.

Festival of Balloons

Summer is the perfect time to take in the sights of the Festival of Balloons in Tigard. During the festival, which takes place June 21-23, visitors can watch hot air balloons fly into the sky.

Along with the hot air balloons, there will be live music, a 5k run, food vendors, a car show and a carnival with rides, making the festival a great place for everyone in the family.

Some of the balloons include designs of an owl, a fish, a bird and a squirrel. Other balloons include colorful patterns and every hot air balloon is flown by an experienced pilot.

The balloons will launch each day around sunrise from 5:45 a.m. to 6:15 a.m.

Though visitors cannot take a hot air balloon ride high up into the sky, they can take a tethered ride on the festival grounds. Tickets for the festival go on sale the first week of June.

Nearest Catholic parish: St. Anthony, 9905 SW McKenzie St. Weekend Masses: Saturday 5 p.m., Sunday 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. (Vietnamese), 4:30 p.m. (Spanish), 7 p.m.

Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts

For 56 years, the Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts has showcased local artists and sought to educate the public about art. Each year, the festival has a variety of categories for artists to submit their work to including a special exhibit.

This year, the theme of the special exhibit is “Origin Stories: Comics and Identity” and will celebrate the medium of comics as a way to tell stories. There will also be an “Art in the Park” exhibit where regionally and nationally recognized artists from the Pacific Northwest will be featured. Local students will display artwork and there will be an open show where judges will award prizes.

The festival will take place June 21-23 and includes music, food booths, arts and crafts and more. The event is put on by the Lakewood Center for the Arts, a nonprofit.

Nearest Catholic parish: Our Lady of the Lake, 790 A Avenue. Weekend Masses: Saturday 5 p.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5 p.m.

Walking in the Light of the Holy Spirit with Dina Marie Hale

An adult convert to Catholicism, Dina Marie Hale is using her gift of public speaking to share her story and spread God’s word. On June 5, Hale will be giving a talk at Our Lady of Peace Retreat House in Beaverton on the presence of the Holy Spirit in her own life.

Her talk is a part of the Twilight Talks Series and will include adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Hale grew up Lutheran, spent her high school and post college years living a secular life and eventually found her home in Catholicism. She became a confirmed Catholic at the Easter Vigil in 1999.

A graduate of Lewis and Clark College, Hale has used her communications degree working in radio and television. From 2000 to 2018, she worked at Mater Dei Radio as a host and program director.

Nearest Catholic parish: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 3145 SW 192nd. Weekend Masses: Saturday 5:30 p.m. (Spanish), Sunday 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. (Spanish)

The Grotto

While The Grotto is known for its lights during Christmas, spring and early summer are great times to check out the garden.

The garden can be a peaceful place to reflect on personal faith or just enjoy nature. Hundreds of statues including St. Francis of Assisi, the child Jesus and St. Joseph and the Via Matris — which includes 34 wood carvings dedicated to Mary — are spread throughout the wooded sanctuary.

There are multiple chapels and shrines for prayer and meditation and visitors can go through the Stations of the Cross or take a walk through the rose garden. Flowers in bloom now include rhododendron and azalea. Those looking for a quiet afternoon can visit the Peace Garden.

The Grotto is open from 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. The lower garden, Grotto and chapel are open and free to the public while admission to the upper garden can be bought at the gift shop or visitor center.

There are Masses in The Grotto’s Chapel of Mary weekdays at noon, Saturdays at 8 a.m., and Sundays at 10 a.m. year round and noon in the Grotto plaza May through October.

Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death

On Thursday, June 6, at 7 p.m., Our Lady of the Lake Parish will be showing the documentary, “Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death.” After the screening, there will be a discussion with Drs. William Toffler and Charles Bentz.

The film by Kevin Dunn, which was completed in 2018, asks the question: Should euthanasia and assisted suicide be legal? The documentary looks into both sides of the argument and speaks to experts on the issue. The film explores how assisted suicide and the laws around it affect society.

Assisted suicide has been a controversial issue for years but has recently become a hot debate topic in media and society. Catholicism has long-held beliefs on the issue and the documentary screening and discussion will allow viewers to dive into the Catholic perspective on the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia.

Nearest Catholic parish: Our Lady of the Lake, 790 A Avenue. Weekend Masses: Saturday 5 p.m., 7:30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5 p.m.

Pfeifer is a student journalist at University of Portland.