Our family doesn’t own a TV, but we have plenty of streaming options. As a result, we rely on word-of-mouth to know what new shows to seek out. When the team at the Columbia Gorge Outlets contacted PMB to see if we’d be interested in attending their Back-to-School Bash event with CW’s “Riverdale” star Ashleigh Murray, my seventh-grader hopped online to check out the show in preparation. Our introductory screening of Episode 1 was immediately followed by a three-day binge of the nail-biter series because WHOA. We. Were. Hooked.
Murray, who plays Josie McCoy on “Riverdale,” will also be the lead character in a spinoff series, “Katie Keen,” slotted to air in 2020. My kids, ages 12 and 8, joined me at the Columbia Gorge Outlets to meet her alongside a few hundred other fans.
Getting to the Columbia Gorge Outlets
You would think the adventure would have been a little complicated and involved. However, I recalled from our visit last year that getting to the Columbia Gorge Outlets was a breeze. Located in Troutdale, the shopping center is just off I-84 and easy to find from the exit. Our arrival time was slotted for 12:45 p.m. on a Sunday during the back-to-school rush. Worried about parking, I made sure to get there early. And while the outlets were certainly busy, we found a spot quickly and cruised right in.
Dazzled and Awestruck
Here’s the thing about TV stars: they are also living, breathing people like the rest of us. At first, when Murray arrived in a limo, my kids’ hushed questioning of “Is that her?” and “Is she here?!?” echoed those of the other fans awaiting her arrival. A few minutes later, she approached the event area, looking like the walking, talking TV star she is, and my kids poked me excitedly telling me that was her. Yep, yes. She is, indeed, the person she is.
A cluster of girls near me in “Riverdale” cheerleading shirts (gold sleeves, for those who watch the show) became a little giddy; one of them wiped away tears of joy. The adorableness of their excitement mixed with the ease of attending the FREE event means I have already put next year’s Back-to-School bash on my to-do list. Who knows what show we’ll discover next?!
Moments later, when my oldest stepped up to Murray, who is 5’4, she asked, “Whoa, do you play basketball or something?” A sheepish chuckle from my tween was followed by Murray kindly encouraging a photo. The boys – a little star-struck – suddenly needed guidance as to how to take a picture. Just the basics, guys: stand, look at camera, and smile.
Z100 Portland was also on-site with a fun booth and giveaways in partnership with the Columbia Gorge Outlets. My kids walked away with a t-shirt and an Avengers poster, which was pretty much the cherry on top of an already spectacular experience.
Speedy Bargain Shopping
Coming down from the excitement, the boys asked if we could make a quick stop at the Adidas store located in the shopping center. All three of us are not the most enthusiastic shoppers, but I recalled walking away with some great finds at the Outlets last year and agreed to take a look. We’re on a strict budget, and I was doubtful we would find anything in our price range. However, my multi-tasking mom brain also remembered that we were heading to the Coast later that afternoon, and my rapidly-growing middle schooler had just informed me he had zero sweatshirts that fit. Lo and behold, we found the perfect item at 40% off!
The Columbia Gorge Outlets offer more fun, family-friendly, FREE events throughout the year, where every month has a different theme! Coming up on September 7 is the next edition of their Adventure Club for Kids from 9-10 a.m. featuring a Spider Hero appearance! Follow the Columbia Gorge Outlets on Facebook or check out their website for details!