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4 Theme Ideas for Your Portland Deck Party

backyard barbequeSummer is just around the corner, and there’s nothing Portlanders enjoy more than a fantastic outdoor party. In this city of tattooed misfits, however, where originality is prized even more than organic produce, you may not be able to knock your neighbors’ socks off with a boring barbecue on your cedar deck. Portland partygoers are a sophisticated bunch – just ask the founders of Zombie Prom.

How, then, do you turn a plain-Jane deck party into a one-of-a-kind event your guests won’t soon forget? Simple: theme party. If you’re looking for a creative way to lure guests onto your backyard decking, Portland Oregon party themes to consider include:

1. The DIY BBQ

Portland is becoming increasingly known for its staunch do-it-yourself culture – quite possibly a nod to its self-sufficient pioneer roots. From brewing their own beer to installing their own decking materials, residents love to tackle DIY projects.

For a DIY barbecue, take the potluck concept to a whole new level. Invite the craftiest and cleverest of your friends and ask them to bring only something they made themselves. This can include food, fresh-squeezed juices, home-brewed beer, cloth napkins – the sky’s the limit. If you want to really drive home the DIY theme, you can even ask that your guests wear clothes or bring accessories they crafted themselves.

Don’t have a lot of DIY-inclined friends? Summer is a perfect time to introduce them to the concept. Set up a kabob assembly line on your cedar deck – Portland partygoers love skewers – and have your guests build their own meal. You can also buy crafting supplies and set up a station for people to make hats, bracelets, sunglasses or whatever else their imaginative minds can come up with.

2. Keep Portland Beered

In case you didn’t know, Portland is known for its many local breweries. In fact, Portland has more breweries than any other city in the nation – 28, to be exact. From the Alameda Brewhouse to the Bridgeport Brewpub to Widmer Brothers Brewing Company, we’re not short on something tasty to drink.

The Keep Portland Beered deck party plays off this brew abundance. Ask your guests to bring a six-pack of their favorite locally-brewed beer, or supply a sample of every kind you can get your hands on. For decorations, try asking for cocktail napkins featuring local brewery logos from bars or the breweries themselves. You can even get your guests involved in starting a new batch of homebrew to commemorate the party. Just try not to spill any on your decking materials.

3. Zombies Need Love Too

The undead aren’t just for Halloween anymore – at least not in Portland, where you’ll find various zombie walks, a zombie prom and even a chapter of the national Zombie Squad working throughout the year to ward off the living dead. Instead of fighting the zombie invasion, why not invite them to party on your cedar deck? Portland zombies love a good feast.

As the host, you will be responsible for not only having the most convincing costume, but also providing a slew of zombie-themed food and drinks. Try making a brain salad by mixing small curd cottage cheese, blueberries, blueberry gelatin, and blue food coloring. Make beef sirloin steak kabobs and serve with a bloody Mary dipping sauce. If you really want to gross out your guests – and who doesn’t? – try Googling “stuffed intestines recipes.”

4. Going, Going, Green!

Portlanders care about the environment. Oh, do they care. Eating organic, locally grown food and using sustainably harvested materials are just a couple of the eco-conscious behaviors you’ll see all over the city. When it comes to decking, Portland homeowners prefer cedar over any other decking material because it grows in the Northwest.

Honor your friends’ commitment to the environment with a green deck party. Here’s how this one works: Ask your guests to get to your party by eco-friendly means – public transportation, bicycling, on foot, or carpooling. Next, try to serve only locally-grown organic vegetables and free-range meat. Aim for a trash-free event; use only containers and utensils that can be reused, composted or recycled.

A Portland deck party or barbeque doesn’t have to be a boring event. Whether you’re showing off the local brews to out-of-town guests, chowing down on brain food in full zombie makeup, or supporting the environment by serving locally-grown, organic food, there’s no end to the kind of fun and funky deck parties you can serve in this great city.

[ photo by: ToastyKen ]

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