Historic Downtown District
Heading through Gresham on busy Division Street or Powell Boulevard, it’s easy to miss the city’s beautifully refurbished historic downtown district that is sandwiched between the two main arteries leading to and from nearby Portland to the west. But Gresham’s eclectic downtown area offers myriad excellent options for dining, shopping, and imbibing, and also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including the longstanding Gresham Arts Festival, an engaging celebration featuring events for all ages.
Gresham Arts Festival – Best USA Festivals Photo Gallery
The festival kicks off on Friday evening at 5 pm with the Art Under the Stars, where attendees can join festival artists and stroll the downtown area into the night, checking out the shops, enjoying a glass of wine, and perusing the silent auction that benefits Gresham Outdoor Public Art, all to the accompaniment of live music.
Then on Saturday morning at 9, the festival proper begins, with more than 150 juried artisans filling the downtown streets with an array of unique handcrafted art; live cultural and musical performances continue throughout the weekend, and Gresham’s shops and restaurants throw down the welcome mats.
Gresham Arts Festival holds the Guinness record for the largest display of chalk pavement art.
The Kids’ Village at the centrally located Gresham Arts Plaza offers all sorts of free fun activities for children, including face painting, music, and the Children’s Fountain, and kids can join adults in creating the epic Chalk of Fame pavement chalk murals—a feat that set a Guinness World Record in 2015 for the largest display of chalk pavement art, subsequently beaten by a Canadian event, and then reclaimed by Gresham Arts Festival in 2017; be sure to sign up in advance on the festival website to participate in this free artistic endeavor, which goes on all day, from 9 am to 5 pm.
The Gresham Arts Festival culminates in the popular Gresham’s Got Talent event held Saturday evening from 6:30 to 9:30 to showcase the wide array of talented entertainers in the community. Featuring celebrity judges, along with local food and drink, this lively event draws throngs of festive onlookers, and provides the perfect nightcap to a wonderful community arts celebration.
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