How to Tackle Feast Portland 2016 Like a Pro

A guide to surviving your first Feast Portland

Feast 2016 is almost upon us, the fifth anniversary of this wonderful, wild food and drink festival in Portland. If you don’t already know, Feast is a four daylong celebration of the cuisine and culture of the Pacific Northwest, particularly Oregon and Washington. With five main events, a dinner series, smaller events, and after parties, it’s the biggest and best food party of the year. It’s also a chance to give back to the community—  Feast is more than just indulgence, and has raised over $230,000 in the last four years to fight childhood hunger. Find out how to get more involved here.

But Feast can also be an intimidating prospect, especially if you’re going to every event. Here are our tips for surviving your first Feast like a pro:

Well all have busy lives, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to prepare for Feast. Here are some steps to take in the week leading up to the event:

1. Take time off drinking
Feast is more than just about food — it’s also about celebrating local distillers, winemakers, bartenders, and brewers. Each event has drinks, and there are even separate smaller events like the Drink Tanks. In some of the bigger events it’s easy to grab a drink or two from the shorter lines while waiting for food. For your health, think about taking the week or so before Feast off from indulgences like alcohol.

2. Eat Well, Work Out
Don’t mess up your metabolism—keep your usual diet, or adjust it to be larger but healthier. Eat smaller meals throughout the day; that’s what you’ll be doing at Feast, anyway. Take some time to exercise, work out, etc… Remember, Feast means a lot of time on your feet, walking, waiting in lines, and even eating, so make sure you’re ready for it.

3. Buy a Charger for Your Phone
Half the point of going to Feast is to post about it on social media and make your friends jealous, so you don’t want your phone dying on you. While there are some areas to charge your phone, most Feast events are outside. It’s helpful to have an external charger for your phone.

4. Request Time Off Work
Are you just going to the Sandwich Invitational and Night Market? You just need Friday off. Are you going for the whole weekend? It might behoove you to take Monday, the 19th off as well to give your body time to recover.

5. Read Some Blogs and Visit the Site.
There are a number of great food bloggers in Portland and beyond, and they talk about Feast in the same way that Burners go on about Burning Man. They offer some great advice about what you should look for during the week. Also, be sure and visit the Feast homepage so you can plan out which chefs you want to visit most at each event.

Some of our favorite blogs include Nom Nerd, Martha Chartreuse, PDX Food Love, The Spicy Bee, Salt. Water. Coffee., Bakery Bingo, and Pechluck’s Food Adventures

Feast has arrived! It’s time to get down to the events and get eating. The events are huge, and can be overwhelming, so here’s some advice on how to navigate.

1. Get There Early
Get to an event before it opens if at all possible, and as early as you can to avoid waiting in lines just to get into the event. Then, head straight for the ones you’re most excited about; you’ve already researched this, so you know which ones you want to get to. Afterwards, once you’ve eaten a bit, you’ll feel more comfortable standing in lines waiting for the others.

2. Bring a Buddy (or Two)
Nothing is more fun than feasting with friends! Having someone to wait in line with, to plan your next event out with, and to share rides home with makes for a much more enjoyable Feast. That being said, if you aren’t with anyone, it’s easy to make friends! Chat with people in your line about their favorite snack so far and you might find your stay together the rest of the week.

3. Moderate Your Drinking
It’s easy to drink at Feast; there’s plenty of alcohol available, and often the lines for a drink are shorter than the lines for food. And drink you should, provided you like that sort of thing! There are some amazing distillers, winemakers, and bartenders, and even some events that are dedicated entirely to spirits (some of the Drink Tank events are still available, and you should absolutely think about getting a ticket). But while overindulging in food can leave you with a stomach ache, overindulging in drink can be far worse. Just be sure to take breaks, limit your intake, and stay hydrated. Remember, even if you’re not drinking much alcohol, the heat, crowds, and salty foods can still lead to feeling unwell, so drink plenty of water.

4. Get To and From Events Safely
Especially if you’ve been drinking, there’s no excuse to drive. Portland has so many options for alternative transportation: busses, light rail, streetcars, pedi-cabs, cabs, Lyft, Uber, or just plain walking. This year the events are bit more spread out, with a few crossing the river, but everything is still mostly centralized.

5. Enjoy Yourself!
Don’t push yourself, and don’t feel the need to get to everything possible. Feast is a large undertaking, even the individual events, and there’s no point to it if you aren’t enjoying yourself. Relax, snack, drink, and chat. Take breaks in the shade when you can. Leave early if you need to and don’t guilt yourself. It’s a festival, not an obligation, and you’ll have more fun and be less stressed for it.

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