New exposition to show off outer East Portland

See why you should plan to attend ‘EPO XPO’ July 24, 25, & 26 – where you will enjoy the City’s biggest neighborhood fair, carnival, and thrill rides, all in one place …

Using an aerial photo of the Ed Benedict Community Park area, Mark White, chair of the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association gives committee members a look at how the East Portland Exposition might be laid out.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The three-day celebration of outer East Portland neighborhoods, on July 24, 25, & 26, at Ed Benedict Community Park, started with one man.

Mark White, Chair of the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood Association – the person spearheading the event, called the East Portland Exposition (abbreviated EPO XPO) – told us he had been looking for ways to promote the neighborhood, and to help build a positive identity for outer East Portland neighborhoods in general.

“I drive through Ed Benedict Park almost every day,” White said. “It occurred to me that this would be a great place to hold a festival. And, if Funtastic Traveling Shows, just across SE Powell Boulevard in the old 104th Drive In site, put on a carnival – it would make a great, destination event.”

Many would shy away from the task of assembling community service providers, businesses, non-profit organizations – and a major, regional carnival company – into a summertime event. But not Mark.

“In the past, I was an event planner, arranging professional conferences,” White explained. “So, my experience with organizational logistics makes that part easy for me. Plus, I have a personal interest in the education and multiculturalism that make up a significant part of this event.”

Tom Lewis, Chair of Centennial Community Association and Jon Turino, executive director of the Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Associations are two of the dozens of volunteers who meet with Mark White while planning the East Portland Exposition.

Creating an annual festival
If all goes as planned, White said, he looks forward for the EPO XPO to become an annual festival – a “destination event” that showcases the positive aspects of outer East Portland.

“This year is about getting a sense of ownership of this festival for people right here in East Portland,” White said. “Next year, we hope to introduce the rest of Portland to the event. Next year, people will be able to travel here on the new MAX Light Rail line from all over Portland!”

Four of the high school interns working on the East Portland Exposition project look over the planning sheets showing activities, events and volunteer needs.

What to expect
EPO XPO will feature numerous exhibitors, lots of entertainment and food, and a wide variety of educational presentations and demonstrations – all designed to enhance quality-of-life for all attendees, White explained.

In addition, Funtastic Traveling Shows will be presenting a carnival on their property, located across the street from the park. Admission to EPO XPO and the Funtastic Carnival are free-of-charge (but you’ll pay for the food, rides, games, or produce you choose to purchase).

You’re invited to participate in these free activities:

  • Mini Music Lessons with the Community Music Center
  • Tai Chi – Senior Recreation
  • Floral Design – Senior Recreation
  • Youth Activities – East Portland Community Center
  • Environmental Activities – Environmental Education
  • Ceramic Tile Decorating – Multnomah Arts Center
  • Skateboard “best trick” contest, at the Skate Plaza
  • Free blood lead testing for children by the Josiah Hill III Clinic, sponsored by the Portland Water Bureau
  • Educational programs and exhibits

Enjoy the entertainment, including:

  • A puppet show
  • Mexica Tiahui: Azteca Danza
  • The rock and blues music of “STR8 UP”
  • Portland Metro Concert Band
  • Live DJ From SPUN Academy at the Skate Plaza

When and where
The East Portland Exposition – both the Festival and Carnival – will be open:

  • Friday, July 24 from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, 25 from 11:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and,
  • Sunday, July 26 from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Ed Benedict Community Park is located on outer SE Powell Boulevard, east of the I-205 freeway, between SE 100th Avenue and SE 104th Avenue.

Be aware that parking is very limited in and around Ed Benedict Community Park; plan accordingly! Handicapped parking is available.

Lots of free parking is available at Ron Russell Middle School and Earl Boyles Elementary Schools, just blocks from the event, down SE Bush Street.

And Eastport Plaza is providing about 120 parking spaces at the NORTH END of the plaza, between Izzy’s Pizza and the US Post Office. A free shuttle van will take visitors to and from the exposition in about 30 minutes.

Visit the event Internet website for more details – www.epoxpo.org – and we’ll see you at the East Portland Exposition!

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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