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PDX OPERAbeat | A Company Blog is the blog for all things Portland Opera, featuring a variety of guest contributors who will provide insider's tidbits on all we do to celebrate the beauty and breadth of opera.


Last Friday, August 26, we set up shop out on our patio with baskets of pretzels and peanuts, a couple kegs of Widmer beer, and a PA system blasting opera. And these signs:

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Why? It was our Bikes, Beer, Big Night event! Once a year we like to take advantage of our great real estate -- our patio backs onto the Eastbank Esplanade -- and hand out free beers and snacks to the cyclists, runners, and pedestrians who pass by our doors. We pump up the opera, pull out the patio tables, and enjoy the sunshine!

Generally the biggest hurdle is getting people to understand that FREE BEER means … free beer. Totally, no-strings-attached, free. We give out beers because we love you.

It was another beautiful day, and we had a great crowd.

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Two of our lovely staff members (Hannah Gildea and Claudie Fisher, Communications and Development department) checked IDs and greeted incoming party guests.

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Bike parking filled up fast.

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Rob Ainsley (our Associate Music Director) and friend Matthew Strickland make beer drinking … adorable.

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As for yours truly: a half hour prior to the start of the event I attempted to slip past the patio for a quick run, but was absconded! And forced to wear FREE BEER signs!

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By "forced" I might mean "offered with unbridled enthusiasm."

Hood to Coast runners were passing by -- the nearest exchange point was right up the esplanade -- so it made for a big crowd out there! I even managed to convince a couple of the HTC volunteers to abandon their posts and come for beers! I will omit their names so they don't get in trouble. (And if it makes you feel any better, I myself volunteered for the race later in the evening.)

Sadly, the heat made me sweat through my sign, so after four one-mile trips back and forth up the esplanade, the FREE sort of … melted?

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Fortunately it seemed like most of the folks I passed on my runs got the message. It was a great crowd!