Going Back to School American Idol-Style

We're delighted to partner with the Columbia Gorge Outlets to bring you the news of this exciting event on August 19 from 12-1:30pm!

Depending on your POV, we are now in either the best or worst season of the year – back-to-school shopping. Are your kids excited? Nervous? Filled with existential dread? And how about you?

It’s the time of year that reminds our children how soon they’re going to class and reminds us how much they’ve grown because nothing fits anymore. 

As summer winds down and we prepare for going back to school, we must face the fact that eventually, our children may have to wear something besides shorts and flip-flops. No matter how you cut it, you probably have to take your children shopping for clothes. And if they are past the age of letting you pick their outfits, they have…OPINIONS!

Enter American Idol

This year, however, you can sweeten the school shopping experience by heading to the Columbia Gorge Outlets for new clothes and a chance to see beloved American Idol contestant, Colin Stough. Saturday, August 19th, visitors can enjoy a meet-and-greet with the country singer from 12-1:30pm, during the back-to-school sidewalk sale.

Image of American Idol contestant Colin Stough.

While we can’t promise that Colin will spill the tea on Ryan Seacrest or Katy Perry, we do know he’s scheduled for a live performance at the mall. So get your cowboy boots on, wrangle your children, and head to the Columbia Gorge Outlets for this fun annual event.

All the Style without All the Cost

Once you’ve oohed and aahed and maybe grabbed a photo opp with Colin, it’s time to hit those shops. If you have young children, Gap and Carter’s are probably your go-to stores to stock up on a lot of essentials.

As the mom to two teen girls who regularly require outfits that slay, here are our top stops at the outlets.


My girls and I don’t shop without beverages. It seems to be physically impossible. This time of year is also great to stock up on tumblers and single-serve packs to tuck away for teacher holiday gifts.


Evidently, the Adidas Samba is a top priority for school-year footwear this fall. You and your kids are sure to find some good deals on loads of styles at the Adidas outlet store.

Image of mom and young daughter trying on shoes to buy for back-to-school shopping.Famous Footwear

The UGG Minis are also in high demand this year, and Famous Footwear may be the place to find them. With lower prices than other stores, Famous Footwear helps get the whole family prepped for the school year. From sneakers to snow boots to heels for homecoming dances, you’ll be all set.


Although I don’t enjoy wearing hard pants, my kids love a good pair of jeans. And since Levi’s jeans last for years, they make perfect hand-me-downs eventually, too. And through Sunday, if you spend $125 in the store, you get a free exclusive all-occasion carryall bag.


If you’re shopping for the high schooler who lives exclusively in giant hoodies, Gap has you covered. No judgment here at all.


While we Pacific Northwesterners don’t really do the whole umbrella thing, we do like our Columbia rain gear. And to all you middle school parents who lament their child’s unwillingness to understand the value of a jacket, there is hope. When my oldest became a sophomore in high school, she magically transformed into a coat-wearing being. It was glorious.


This stop may be a little bit more for me than for my girls. I do love a great purse.

Check Off Your Whole List

With the variety available at the Columbia Gorge Outlets, your family will likely get all the back-to-school clothes needed to start the year. From shoes to undergarments to the perfect chunky cable knit sweater (ahhh, sweater weather), the outlets have it all.

And with live music and the chance to see an American Idol fan fave, this Saturday is the perfect time to go shopping. Will I see you there? 

Previous articleLearning Through Your Stomach
Next articleGirls on the Gridiron
Kristin Ratten is passionate about seeing moms and entrepreneurs succeed. As the mom of four teenagers, she understands the ups and downs of parenthood in all its stages and the unique challenges that come with running a business while running a family. And as the owner of Little Lambs Christian Montessori School, Kristin has 30+ years of teaching and parent coaching experience. Kristin also owns Kristin Ratten Content Services, where she spends time creating high-performing content and strategy for small business owners. She is a vocal advocate for small businesses and supporting local economies. When she’s not teaching/writing/parenting, Kristin is an avid reader, making her uniquely suited to the rainy days of her native Pacific Northwest. She and her husband are embracing this stage of parenting that involves being called “Bruh” on a regular basis.