Category: Concerts and Live Music
Is there anything as magical as an outdoor concert with sunshine on your bare arms and a warm breeze carrying a melody out over the sparkling river?
Bend’s summer months are brimming with opportunities to enjoy music in the great outdoors, and here are 7 of my favorites.
Ticketed concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheater
Let’s start with the big dog, the Les Schwab Amphitheater. The venue has attracted some pretty huge talent over the years, including the Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, Phish, Willie Nelson, and Paul Simon.
The 2017 lineup has already included tons of great shows, with more on the horizon from Slightly Stoopid, Jack Johnson (sold out—sorry!), the Avett Brothers, Diana Krall, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Modest Mouse. Check the Les Schwab Amphitheater for dates, ticketing info, and pricing.
And that doesn’t even include all the awesome Free Summer Sunday Concerts happening through mid-July (more on that later!)
Make sure you bring a low-backed chair and plan on arriving a bit early to snag a good spot. You can buy food and drinks at the venue, as well as a reusable, limited-edition Silipint for beer, cider, wine, or cocktails for $20. Your first beverage is included in the price, and you get $1 off all subsequent beverages.
For more tips on attending shows at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, check out this post from last year.
Clear Summer Nights at the Athletic Club of Bend
A smaller, more intimate venue than Les Schwab, the Athletic Club of Bend sounds like an odd spot for a concert series. But the Clear Summer Nights Series attracts some surprisingly big and well-known talent. (For the record, last year’s Lord Huron/Trampled by Turtles show topped my personal list of favorite shows of the 2016 season, and that’s coming from someone who attended more than two dozen concerts last summer).
UB40 kicked off the series earlier this week, but there’s plenty more coming. In 2017, we’ll have the John Butler Trio on September 10, Phillip Phillips September 19, and The Shins September 26.
One cool perk at this venue is the chance to purchase dinner tickets so you get a killer meal and even a glass of wine to enjoy with the show. The small size of the venue means many shows sell out, so act quickly if any of those names caught your eye.
Munch and Music
Bend’s free music scene is surprisingly awesome for a town this size, and the crown jewel of it all is Munch and Music.
Enjoying its twenty-seventh anniversary in 2017, the series takes place Thursday evenings in Drake Park and is open to all ages free of charge. You’ll pay for food and drinks at the plentiful food booths, or you’re welcome to bring a picnic supper (though no outside alcohol is allowed into the venue). Dogs are also not allowed at the shows, but they’re very kid-friendly and feature added amenities like bouncy houses to help get the wiggles out.
The series kicked off last week with an awesome Abba cover band and continues this week with Cowboy Junkies on July 13. Next is Ozomatli on July 20, The Brothers Comatose on July 27, and Too Slim and the Taildraggers on August 3.
Music begins at 5:30, and you should plan on arriving early with your low-backed chair to snag a good seat. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE?!?!
Free Summer Sunday Concerts
The Old Mill District’s answer to Munch & Music, the Free Summer Sunday Concert Series starts each year in early-June and spans through mid-July.
The last one is happening this Sunday, July 16, with classic rock & roll from Streetlight Moon, so this is your last chance to sample this awesome event for the season.
Besides the music, the event features food vendors, bouncy houses, and other family-friendly activities. You can also bring a picnic of your own if you’d prefer. Concerts start at 2:30 and run through 4:30, and are super family-friendly (my stepdaughter has turned many-a-cartwheel in front of that stage during these shows!)
Worthy Brewing Twilight Tunes
Bend’s northernmost brewery has some pretty cool features like on-site gardens and their new Hopservatory.
But they also boast a robust concert schedule that includes Twilight Tunes and Worthy Wednesdays. Musical acts range from local talent to acts from outside the area, and their outdoor stage is impressive for such a small venue.
Most shows go from 6-9, and you can consult the schedule to see when the next event is happening. Grab a brew and some of their mouthwatering fish tacos (among the best in town!) and park yourself on their sunny patio.
Crows Feet Commons
Another smaller venue with a happenin’ music scene is Crows Feet Commons. Part bike shop, part café, ALL awesome, Crow’s Feet Commons offers regular outdoor shows right outside their shop in the Mirror Pond Plaza.
The size of the venue and the popularity of many of their acts means you’re smart to buy ahead. For instance, the Matisyahu show happening Sunday, July 16 is almost certain to sell out, so snag tickets beforehand for this or any other show that piques your interest on their event calendar.
They also have a great selection of local brews on tap, along with wine and a full espresso bar.
Oodles of other options
For a great roundup of musical happenings all over Central Oregon, check out Visit Bend’s event calendar. You can search by date or by type of event to find exactly what you’re after.
It turned out to be pretty popular, which makes sense since the venue itself can draw up to 8,000 patrons per show.
But there’s more than one concert venue in Bend, a fact I’ve been reminded of over the last couple weeks as I’ve purchased tickets to see The Wailin’ Jennys at The Tower Theatre, Lord Huron at the Athletic Club of Bend, and Band of Horses at Century Center.
Every single one of those venues has different rules for seating, purchasing tickets, and what you’re allowed to bring inside, and I encourage you to check their websites for specifics.
But I wanted to offer a bit of broader advice to help you (and everyone around you!) enjoy your concert experience to the fullest.
Where can I park my butt, and where can I shake it?
Some concerts are hard-rockin’ parties where everyone smooshes together to dance like some big multi-headed groove monster. Other concerts have attendees sitting quietly in their numbered seats with their hands folded in their laps.
Since you’re not likely to see “multi-headed groove monster” on a venue’s website, you need to do some homework.
First things first. Check the website not just for the venue where the concert is being held, but for that specific artist. A Phish concert at the Les Schwab Amphitheater might not allow blankets or chairs at all, while a Jackson Browne concert at the same venue might have separate areas for numbered seats, dancing zones, and the general admission zone where folks stake out spots with blankets and low-backed chairs. Find out what’s allowed at that exact venue for that exact show.
But that’s only half the story.
Every concert has its own vibe and its own unspoken rules, so this is where you’ll have to do some people watching. Once you’ve purchased your tickets and arrived at the show, study the folks around you. See that couple seated on the blanket? Don’t put your tall chair in front of them. That’s bad concert karma.
Go find a nice spot in front of some other folks with chairs. (Sidenote: Make sure you measure the height of your chair beforehand to be sure it conforms to the venue’s rules. I’ve seen many-a-concertgoer get turned away for a chair that’s too tall).
Okay, so now what? Well, you’ve gotta wait for the music to start. If everyone around you stays seated, you should do the same. But if you’re itching to shake it like a Polaroid picture, odds are good you’re not alone. Watch the crowd to spot your fellow boogie buds. If they start popping up like prairie dogs to dance in place, go ahead and do the same. You’ll likely spark a big wave of happy feet.
But if the dancers start streaming to a spot at the front of the stage or off to the side, go join them there. That way the folks who want to stay seated can do that, while you and your new dance pals rock it hard in your own little dance zone.
Shhh! No talking
It doesn’t matter if you’re watching an opera performance at the The Tower Theatre or a hip-hop performer in the middle of the street at the Bend Fall Festival. Carrying on a conversation that lasts the whole concert is soooo not cool. A few quiet remarks to your buddies is fine. A whispered observation to your spouse is no problem.
But yammering at your friends through the whole show is a good way to add “enemies” to the list of souvenirs acquired on your Bend vacation.
About those assigned seats…
Some shows are general admission and some have ticketed seats. Some have a mix of both. You’ll know which kind of ticket you’re holding before you walk into the venue.
But there’s a funny thing I’ve seen happen at ticketed shows. Folks with several people in their party will go shopping online and realize there aren’t enough seats all together in the row they want. “I’ll just buy these three single seats in row two,” the concertgoer thinks to himself. “We can ask everyone to shuffle around so we can sit together.”
Guys, no. This isn’t an airplane. The folks who’ve purchased front-and-center seats in that aisle did so because that’s where they wanted to sit. And the guy a few seats down isn’t too eager to scooch to a spot that requires him to crane his neck for a good view of the stage.
If your concert ticket has a seat assigned to it, please sit in that seat. You can meet up with your pals along the Bend Ale Trail after the show to talk about how much the experience rocked.
Kids and concerts
Just because you have a couple mini-mes in tow doesn’t mean you should miss out on your favorite concert.
But it does mean you have to pay extra-close attention to the whole “assessing the vibe around you” stuff I mentioned above. It also means you have to check the concert website extra-super-duper close to make sure it’s not an 18-and-older or 21-and-older show.
But assuming you’ve done that, here’s the deal: I’ve taken my step-kids to oodles of shows at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. Sometimes there’s a big mob of kids doing cartwheels off to the side, and as long as they’re not bugging anyone and you’re watching to make sure they’re safe, it’s cool to let your offspring join the fun.
Where problems arise is when you park screamy, squirrelly kids in front of that childless couple who just wants to sit quietly and watch the concert. That’s no bueno. Keep your eyes peeled for other families at the venue, and go sit nearby. Folks who don’t want to sit near kids will know to steer clear, and your youngsters might even make new friends.
It’s also worth noting there are tons of Bend concerts that are super-duper kid-friendly. Check out the Free Summer Sundays concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheater on Sundays, or the Wednesday shows in Drake Park for the Munch & Music concerts. Those are great places to let your young’uns get up and groove while you enjoy the live music in your own way.
Preferably with a glass of wine in hand.
Everything you need to know for a September vacation in Bend, Oregon (plus win $100 to dine in the Old Mill District!)
I can find something magical about every month in Bend, Oregon, but if you ask my favorite of the twelve, I won’t hesitate to tell you it’s September.
Summer is still going strong for the first 2/3 of the month, but crowds have thinned out. Our days are still warm enough for floating the river, but our nights are cool enough to make sleeping with the windows open feel blissfully like camping. There are still enough people milling about to create the energetic feel of summer, but you won’t have to fight for a table at your favorite restaurant.
Sounds nice, huh? Here’s what you need to know about visiting Bend, Oregon in September (plus keep reading to win $100 to spend on a fabulous dinner in the Old Mill District!)
What to bring
I’m pretty sure you can manage to round up your own toothpaste and underpants, so don’t use this as an all-inclusive packing list.
But when you plan a September vacation in Bend, here are a few things you should bring:
- Sunscreen. Yep, you still need it (though you can buy it in plenty of places around town if you forget). The sun is still strong, and there’s a good chance you’ll be playing outside, so slather it on and stay safe.
- A bathing suit, a jacket, and a pair of lightweight gloves. I’m lumping these three things together not because you’ll be wearing them all at once (though I’d pay to see a photo of that!) but because it’s important to plan for extreme ends of the weather spectrum when you visit Bend in September. I walked my dog at 6:30 this morning and wished I’d worn a thin pair of gloves to keep my fingers from freezing. By 2 p.m., I was sweltering in 90-degree heat. Here in the mountainous high desert, you have to be ready for anything on the cusp of a season change.
- Golf clubs, kayak, standup paddleboard, bike… You get the idea. This is still the time of year when you want your warm weather toys, so whatever they may be, make sure you toss them in the car.
- A cardigan and a sundress. Er, the male readers may want to skip this one (or not—hey, I’m not here to judge). September is still a terrific time of year to dine outdoors in your strappy little sandals and cute sundress. But if you’re opting for an evening meal outside (like that one you could win in the Old Mill District if you keep reading!) make sure you stash a sweater in your bag. You’ll thank me later.
- Hiking sandals. I know a lot of folks prefer to hoof it in hiking boots year-round, but I’m not one of those people. I live for months where I can comfortably hike in a pair of Keens or Tevas, and September still counts as one of those months. I love the feeling of splashing through a creek and not getting my socks all soggy, and if you’re the same, go ahead and pack the sandals.
For an even better roundup of 10 things you may not know you need to pack for your Bend vacation, check out this blog post.
What to do
You can peruse www.visitbend.com to find oodles of ideas for activities ranging from arts and culture to restaurants to water recreation to hiking. But for the sake of this blog post, let’s focus on the things you should definitely add to your September agenda:
Watch a sunset. September is arguably the best time of year to catch dramatic, colorful sunsets in Bend. For ideas on where to get the best view, go here.
- Stroll through Drake Park. The leaves in Bend don’t typically change colors until mid-October, but I’ve heard a few weather geeks predicting it could happen earlier this year. Even if all the leaves are still green and in their proper place on the trees, there are few places on earth more spellbinding than this 13-acre riverfront park in downtown Bend. Walk along the water with a bowl of Bonta Gelato. Hit the Bend Farmers Market on Wednesday for a cornucopia of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, jams, and more.
- Cruise up Pilot Butte. I’m a staunch advocate for traveling on foot to reach the summit of the 500-foot dormant volcano in the middle of Bend, but I know that’s not an option for everyone. Maybe you’re pressed for time, or maybe mobility is limited. Whatever your reason for preferring to drive to the top, September’s a good month to do it. The road closes to motorized vehicles in October, and icy conditions in late-fall or early-winter can make it trickier to hike. One way or another, put Pilot Butte on your bucket list for killer views of the city.
- Catch a concert. The most amazing concert season in Les Schwab Amphitheater history is coming to a close with two remaining shows: Weird Al Yankovic on Friday, Sept. 4, and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals on Sunday, Sept. 6. You can still buy tickets here. While you’re at it, take advantage of the chance to dine outside on the riverfront in Old Mill District. You’ll find a roundup of those restaurants here. (Pssst….for a chance to win a $100 to dine in any Old Mill restaurant, follow the directions at the bottom of this post!)
Where to go
Some of Bend’s most popular hotspots are teeming with people in the summer months, so September is your prime opportunity to visit them when the weather’s still great but the crowds have thinned out. Among them:
- Your favorite Bend Ale Trail stop. We have oodles of amazing breweries along the Bend Ale Trail, but there are several where you’ll almost always encounter crowds. That’s especially true in the summer months, but things thin out just a tad when summer ends, making it a little easier for you to nab a seat at Crux Fermentation Project, Worthy Brewing, Deschutes Brewery, and 10 Barrel Brewing. Now’s your chance to claim that outdoor table you’ve been coveting!
- The High Cascade Lakes. Bend locals occasionally fuss if they arrive at popular summer spots like Elk Lake or Green Lake and find hiking trails and picnic areas teeming with people. Thankfully, that tapers off in September, so if you’re hoping for a bit of solitude at a mountain lake without the threat of snow falling, September’s your time to find it.
- Smith Rock State Park. Another Central Oregon hotspot popular with hikers, climbers, sightseers, and birdwatchers, Smith Rock can get a little busy in the summer months. That’s why September makes an extra special time to swing by, with the bonus of offering slightly cooler temps that make it more inviting to wander amid the towering basalt rocks.
- All the hiking trails. Rather than listing them one by one, I’ll just say that all the great hiking trails in Bend and Central Oregon see a slowdown of traffic once September comes, so now’s a great time to cross one off your bucket list. Need ideas? In addition to Visit Bend’s hiking page, the folks at Cascade Hiking Adventures have some terrific suggestions.
Where to stay
One more thing that’s awesome about September? It gets a whole lot easier to get reservations at your favorite hotel, resort, or vacation rental. Go here to start looking!
WIN $100 to dine in the Old Mill District
Want to enjoy a delicious, romantic meal at your choice of restaurant in the Old Mill District? Winning a $100 gift card would be a great way to do that, and you can take your pick of restaurants. Just think….it would be a fabulous date night if you also bought tickets to see Weird Al Yankovic on Sept. 4 or Ben Harper on Sept. 6 at the Les Schwab Amphitheater (you can still buy tickets here).
Comment on this post with one thing from this blog post that you really, really want to do in Bend this September. Better yet, come up with your own! We’ll pick a winner on Wednesday, September 2. Good luck!
I’m lucky enough to attend nearly every concert booked at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, which I realize is pretty much the coolest job perk on the planet.
Last week, a guest at the Bend Visitor Center peppered me with questions about an upcoming concert, wondering what to bring, when to arrive, and which bra to throw at Lyle Lovett. It occurred to me that not everyone knows the ins and outs of the amphitheater named by Travel + Leisure as one of America’s coolest music venues.
Though we’re mid-way through what is arguably the best season of concerts ever booked in Bend, here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind anytime you’re hitting a show at the Les Schwab Amphitheater.
DO buy tickets in advance. Several concerts have sold out in 2015 including the Willie Nelson/Alison Krauss show and both Phish performances. If there’s a show you really want to see, check the concert lineup here and follow the links to buy tickets in advance. You can also buy them in person at the Ticket Mill in the Old Mill District, which is open daily during the summer months.
Many of the 2015 shows still have tickets available as of today (Thursday, July 16, 2015) including Pink Martini, Wilco, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Weird Al Yankovic, and Ben Harper (though I’m typing this reluctantly, since any of those shows could sell out at any time).
If you really want to plan ahead, make sure you’re following Visit Bend’s Facebook page. Each spring when the concert announcements start flying, we’re quick to tell you about upcoming performances and pre-sales.
DON’T buy from scalpers. Seriously, guys—that’s a recipe for getting hosed and losing your money.
DO hit Will Call instead of the Ticket Mill for last-minute tickets. If you decide to risk it and not purchase tickets ahead of time, you’ll score a slight discount if you hit the Will Call booth right outside the venue instead of the Ticket Mill outlet on the day of the event (though they’ll still cost slightly more than they would have if you’d bought in advance). Will Call opens at 4 p.m. just before each concert begins.
DON’T think you can lurk outside the venue and poach the show for free. Back in the early days of the Les Schwab Amphitheater, thrifty folks parked their lawn chairs on the sidewalk outside the venue so they could listen for free. Unsurprisingly, artists who’d busted butt to actually get paid for their talents did not appreciate this. Several complained to the powers-that-be, and the powers-that-be listened and banned the practice (totally do-able, since the Old Mill District is private property).
Despite some initial grumbling, a funny thing happened. The promoter for some super-duper-famous artists (*ahem* Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson) got wind of the new policy and called the Les Schwab Amphitheater folks. “So I see you’ve decided to start being a real venue,” he reportedly said. “In that case, we’d like to play there.”
That’s right, folks—all those big-name performers we’ve been seeing lately? Many of ‘em wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the ban on concert poachers. Respect the artists and their crews, pay your ticket fees, and enjoy the show.
DO get yourself a low-backed chair. This comes with the caveat that you first need to check the details page for your specific show, since some like this year’s sold-out Phish concerts don’t allow chairs and blankets.
But for most concerts, blankets, towels, and low-backed chairs are totally cool. Trust me, you want the chair. It’ll not only save your back, but it’ll keep you from getting stuck grumbling on your blankie while some tall guy in a sand chair plunks himself in front of you.
By low-backed chair, I mean no more than eight inches from the ground to the seat, and no more than 33 inches from the top of the chair to the ground. Save yourself the hassle of measuring (or getting turned away at the gate from the attendants who’ll definitely be measuring) and grab one of those Tommy Bahama chairs they sell at Costco. They’re cheap, sturdy, and easily recognizable to the attendants who’ll often wave you through without whipping out the yardstick.
DO expect to have your bag searched. This is part of the process when you enter the venue, along with having your chair measured. Make it easier on everyone by not bringing too much stuff, and by leaving any of the following items at home…
DON’T try to bring this stuff to the concert. Recording devices, drugs, weapons, cigarettes, outside food or drinks, umbrellas, Frisbees, or farm animals. And again, check the listing for your specific concert to find out if it’s one of the shows restricting things like strollers or chairs or blankets. You’ll also see the occasional performer who bans things like disposable water bottles for the sake of the environment. Just know before you go by checking here.
DO bring an empty, refillable water bottle. It can get hot out there, so I always pack my trusty Hydro Flask for any concert. You’ll find the drinking fountain straight ahead of the entrance, which makes it handy to fill up before the show starts. There are also plenty of vendors selling bottled water, or you can get through security with any sealed bottle of H20.
DON’T think Oregon’s new marijuana laws let you toke at a concert. Sorry, guys, but that’s not how it works. You can’t blaze up in public, so don’t even think about smuggling your joint into the venue. For more info on how the law works, go here.
DO check the weather before you go. Temperatures can drop quickly in the high desert, so even if it’s 80 degrees when you head to the venue at 5:30 p.m., it might be bitterly cold at the end of the encore. Bring a sweater, a jacket, or even a blanket.
My fellow four-eyed friends would also be wise to bring prescription sunglasses to wear as the sun arcs brightly over the west side of the stage. Make sure you also have your regular eyeglasses so you can see after the sun goes down.
DON’T eat at home before you go. I used to do this in an effort to save a few bucks, but realized after years of drooling over other people’s food that it’s better to buy dinner at the venue.
Besides that, there are plenty of delicious options that won’t break the bank. Parilla Grill makes these amazing rice bowls packed with veggies, beans, herbs, special sauces, and oodles of slow-roasted meat for only $8. Jumbo Tamales makes amazing, HUMONGOUS $8 tamales packed with veggies and/or meat, and you can cruise through their well-stocked condiment bar to load up on fresh salsas, sour cream, cheese, and more.
Tons of other vendors have tasty treats that will give you a chance to sample the best of Bend’s culinary scene, so show up hungry!
DO bring cash. There are a handful of food vendors that accept credit cards (The Pizza Cart is one of them) but most of the food and beverage booths require cash. There’s an ATM in the venue, but you’ll pay a fee to use it. You’re better off snagging a couple $20s from your own bank’s ATM before you head in.
DON’T drink like a moron. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this blog post.
Most folks at the concert have paid a lot of money to enjoy the music—not to have drunk jerks spilling beer in their laps and shouting at each other over the music (I know, surprising!)
That said, it’s totally cool to enjoy a drink or two at the show. The beverage tent always has a couple mixed drinks available like lemon drops and on-the-rocks margaritas, plus a few different beer options (I’ve been diggin’ the Joe IPA from 10 Barrel this season!) You can also purchase wine by the glass or by the bottle, and selections from Naked Winery include a surprisingly diverse array of reds and whites. Keep in mind that bottle sales stop at 8 p.m., so plan accordingly and buy early if you want a bottle of vino to share with friends.
DO pay attention to what others are doing. Each concert has its own special setup. Some have roped-off areas of reserved seating surrounded by general admission and dancing areas off to the side, while other setups feature a huge sea of general admission areas and a big free-for-all dancing spot up front.
Watch what other folks are doing and follow suit. If you want to shake your groove thing, join the existing sea of dancers instead of creating your own boogie zone in front of folks who want to sit. If you want to sit, don’t plunk your chair down behind the dancers and snarl at them to sit down.
Which brings me to my final item on your list of things to bring…
DO bring common sense, courtesy, and respect for the artists and each other. Enough said.
Every year, Memorial Day Weekend marks the kickoff of peak tourism in Bend. It’s when the Bend Visitor Center switches to being open seven days a week (9-5 weekdays, 10-4 weekends) so visitors can meander by for maps, brochures, and tips.
There’s a lot going on in Bend every Memorial Day Weekend, and 2015 is no exception. Here are seven things you might want to have on your agenda.
Shake your groove thing with The Decemberists, Ryan Adams, and Robert Plant
I’ve been hitting the Les Schwab Amphitheater for Memorial Day Weekend concerts every year since the venue opened, and I’ve gotta admit—2015 has one of the best lineups I’ve ever seen.
On Friday night (May 22) The Decemberists return to Bend to share their unique brand of American folk rock. I’ve seen this awesome Grammy-nominated band there once before, so I know the show is going to be fab (doubly so with the presence of opening act Spoon).
The Saturday night (May 23) show will feature Ryan Adams, another Grammy-nominated musician known for his unique country/rock/folk style and a name that’s easily confused with ‘80s musician Bryan Adams (not the same guy). My husband is actually more excited about opening act Jenny Lewis, so luckily, we get to enjoy both for the price of one ticket. Well, two tickets, unless we decide to rent a gorilla suit and cram both of us inside so we can get in for the price of one, but that just sounds hot and itchy.
Sunday night is a chance to give your liver a break from all those trips to the beer gardens and wine tent at the concert venue. On Monday (May 24) the Les Schwab Amphitheater will welcome the legendary Robert Plant (yes, THAT Robert Plant—former front man for Led Zeppelin, and winner of so many rock awards he’s probably stopped keeping track). If I were a betting woman, I’d say there’s a chance this show could sell out, so go here to get ticket info for this show or any other that piques your interest.
Play outside with temps in the upper 60s
Unless the weatherman is lying, it looks like Bend has ordered up the perfect weather for Memorial Day Weekend 2015. Temps are expected to be in the upper 60s, which makes it perfect for some spring hiking or a round of golf on one of 26 courses scattered around Central Oregon.
Kick off Central Oregon Beer Week along the Bend Ale Trail
You can make your way around the Bend Ale Trail pretty much any day of the year, gathering passport stamps and collecting prizes for sipping your way along an impressively diverse group of breweries.
But Memorial Day Weekend also marks the start of Central Oregon Beer Week 2015. The event spans May 22-31 and includes tours, tastings, live music, parties, food specials, beer education, contests, and more. You can view a complete calendar of events here.
Let’s go fishing
Bend is known around the country as a fishing mecca, with Fly Fisherman magazine naming the city one of the top fly fishing towns in the nation. Trout season is already open on the lower Deschutes River, but this weekend it opens on the upper Deschutes as well. Now’s a great time to get out there on your own, or book a fishing excursion with one of the reputable fishing outfitters in Bend.
Hit opening day at the Central Oregon Saturday Market
Kick off the 2015 season of the Central Oregon Saturday Market across the street from the Deschutes Public Library. Browse handcrafted jewelry, artwork, clothing, household goods, and more.
Normally, this is a Saturday-only event (as you might’ve guessed from the name) but for Memorial Weekend they’re open both Saturday and Sunday. This is always a great spot to grab gifts to take home to friends and family, so bring an extra shopping bag.
Catch a ballgame at the Bend Elks Youth Baseball Tournament
Since 2005, the Bend Elks (our local baseball team) have hosted one of the Northwest’s biggest youth baseball tournaments. Even if you’re not the world’s greatest fan of the sport, it’s hard not to be impressed by the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and the sheer volume of high school athletes journeying here to play their young hearts out.
If you’re just showing up to watch, you’ll be happy to know there’s no gate fee. Catch a game or two, eat a hot dog, and feel happy knowing proceeds from team entry fees help support youth baseball in Bend. You can find details and game schedules here.
Two great bike races for the cycling crowd
Road cyclists rejoice on Saturday, May 23, in the fast and furious Bend Don’t Break circuit course bike race. A beginner’s clinic that morning gives newbies a chance to prepare, or race hard in the more elite categories. The race is part of the 2015 Oregon Women’s Prestige Series, though there are plenty of men’s categories as well. It’s also part of the Oregon Senior Games this year, so folks in the 50+ category have a chance to vie for a spot in the National Senior Games.
On Sunday, May 24, head west to Sisters with your mountain bike strapped to your car, and get ready for the Sisters Stampede. This uniquely-Sisters event lets you race your bike on the beautiful Peterson Ridge Trail in Sisters. This is Oregon’s largest cross country mountain bike race, with 23 different race categories, and a party at the finish line. Each racer gets a goody bag filled with cool schwag, and there’s $1000 in cash prizes up for grabs for the top three men and women in the Pro or Cat 1 categories. There’s also a free kids’ race. For event details and registration, go here.
Believe it or not, that’s only a sampling of events happening in and around Bend this weekend. For a complete list, check out the Visit Bend Event Calendar. You can search for cool happenings this weekend or any other weekend you plan to Visit Bend.
A new year is upon us, which brings us a lot to look forward to in Bend. Besides the usual glorious views, amazing high-desert climate, and endless abundance of recreation opportunities, here are four brand-spanking new things coming to Bend in 2014 that have me dancing on my desk.
This spring: Dogwood Cocktail Cabin in Downtown Bend
Does it make me a lush if I admit I’m excited anytime a new bar opens in Bend? But this isn’t just any bar.
Dogwood Cocktail Cabin is slated to open this spring on NW Minnesota Avenue in Downtown Bend in the space that’s been vacant more than two years since the fabulous Astro Lounge moved around the corner. It’s a primo location made even more amazing by what they plan to do with it.
Dogwood Cocktail Cabin will specialize in house-infused culinary cocktails. Think one-of-a-kind blends like butternut squash-infused vodka and tobacco-infused rum. DJs will spin electronic dance music, and the décor will be hip and urban.
Eyeing their menu from their existing location in Crested Butte, Colorado, I have to say I’m most excited about the D-cup—a cocktail blended with Pimms, Hendrick’s Gin, cucumber, and wasabi. Save me a seat at the bar?
In April: Wanderlust Tours starts offering road bike trips
I’m proud to say I’ve tried nearly every single outing offered by the folks at Wanderlust Tours, so I was delighted earlier this week to learn they’ll be rolling out a new host of options this spring.
Beginning in April, Wanderlust will offer five new half-day road bike tours including a Sisters to Smith Rock route and an outing along the MetoliusRiver. Trips will go from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. or from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The $80 price tag includes a guide, transportation, heavy snack, and a Sag Wagon with mechanic’s station, repair parts, cold drinks, and a chance to hop aboard if your legs need a break.
These half-day outings are perfect for those who know which direction to face on a bicycle seat, but who aren’t looking for a hardcore training ride. Think of it as an interpretive tour with frequent stops, tasty food, and plenty of fascinating local insights from your professional naturalist guide. They’ll also offer full-day trips for more experienced riders.
Road bike tours won’t start until April, but now’s a great time to start planning your vacation itinerary. Call the good folks at Wanderlust Tours today to figure out which trip is right for you.
In June: The Oregon Senior Games
It might seem odd for a 39-year-old to be this excited about a sporting event that’s only open to athletes 50 and older, but I find myself feeling oddly giddy about the Oregon Senior Games coming up June 19-22 in Bend.
For starters, it marks the end of Oregon’s sad status as one of only two states in the U.S. with no state senior games. Having the event in Bend is the perfect way to show off the city’s status as the outdoor playground of the west.
Aside from that, there’s something inspiring about the idea of hundreds of 50+ athletes out there kicking butt at swimming, track & field, tennis, archery, pickleball, cowboy action shooting, and plenty of other events throughout the four-day competition. Anyone who meets the age criteria can compete, and the top four finishers in most sports in each age group will qualify to compete in the 2015 National Senior Games in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Whether you’re watching or participating, this event promises to be inspiring all around! To register or learn more, go here.
In August: Dave Matthews Band at the Les Schwab Amphitheater
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen the Dave Matthews Band perform over the last 15 years, but it’s more than a dozen. As I’ve driven over the mountains to Portland or across the desert to The Gorge, I’ve always wished for the opportunity to see them in my own hometown.
To my utter surprise and delight, I’m getting my wish on August 26 when the Dave Matthews Band plays the Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend’s Old Mill District. Tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime show will go on sale February 7, and I can pretty much guarantee they’ll sell out fast.
If you’ve never seen this band live, you’re in for an amazing treat of stellar jams, entertaining antics, and of course, incredible music. The amphitheater’s riverside locale and grassy spaces make it the perfect venue for kicking back with a frosty craft brew and a pack of pals grooving to the tunes.
Tickets are general admission only, and while it’s a bit of a splurge at $75 apiece, I can assure you it’s worth it. For ticket info and details, go here.
Bend is a pretty spectacular place to be any time of year, but there’s something extra-special about Memorial Day Weekend. Maybe it’s that we’re all shifting our gazes to summer, or perhaps it’s the energy from all the out-of-towners flocking here for a long weekend.
Or maybe it’s just that there’s so freakin’ much to do. Here are 10 awesome happenings lined up for you between May 24-27:
Concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheater with Cake (May 25) and Sigur Ros (May 26)
Bend’s Memorial Weekend concert lineup is always impressive, and this year is no exception. American alternative rock band Cake will perform Saturday, May 25, with Boise-based indie band Built to Spill opening the show. On Sunday evening, Icelandic indie band Sigur Rós takes the stage with their ethereal sound and quirky use of bowed guitar. Both shows start at 6:30 p.m., and gates open at 5 p.m. Since it’s been a bit soggy in Bend this week, I recommend bringing a low-backed sand chair to keep your backside off the wet grass. For ticket info on either show, go here.
Catch the end of Central Oregon Beer week (May 20-27)
While locals are winding down at the end of a long week celebrating Bend’s craft beer culture, visitors can swoop in and enjoy the final days of Central Oregon Beer Week. The 2013 event runs May 20-27, so guests in town for the holiday can still enjoy plenty of beer-related festivities. You’ll find a complete calendar here, including fun stuff like growler fill specials, a “hangover breakfast,” beer education, a bottle release party at Crux, beer-themed canoe outings with Wanderlust Tours, and even beer week specials at Anjou Spa. Bottoms up!
Hit the wine trail at Maragas and Faith, Hope, and Charity
Had your fill of beer this week? No problem! Central Oregon’s wineries are offering something special for Memorial Weekend as well. On Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Maragas Winery will host a family-friendly celebration. Kids can roll in the grass while parents sip the vineyard’s new Pinot Noir from a commemorative glass. They’ll have food, music, bocce ball, and complimentary wine tasting. Admission is $10, and kids get in free. You can buy food there or bring your own picnic, but no outside beverages. Just a few miles away at Faith, Hope, and Charity, they’re hosting festivities of their own both Saturday and Sunday. From noon to 5 p.m., the first 100 guests get a logo wine growler with their $10 admission/tasting fee. Fill it up with peach sangria, and enjoy the mountain views as you groove to live music.
Go hiking with Deschutes Land Trust
Looking to do a little hiking this weekend, but don’t feel like setting out on your own? Sign up for a free guided outing with the folks from Deschutes Land Trust. They have several hikes scheduled this weekend, ranging from a wildflower walk in Whychus Canyon Preserve to a bird walk at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve. Most of the hikes are mellow and easy, perfect for those looking for a hassle-free outing with a knowledgeable guide. Spots fill fast and are totally free, so make your reservation today.
Catch a ballgame at the Bend Elks Youth Baseball Tournament (May 25-27)
Since 2005, the Bend Elks (our local baseball team) have hosted one of the northwest’s biggest youth baseball tournaments. Even if you’re not the world’s greatest fan of the sport, it’s hard not to be impressed by the backdrop of the Cascade Mountains and the sheer volume of high school athletes journeying here to play their young hearts out. If you’re just showing up to watch, you’ll be happy to know there’s no gate fee. Catch a game or two, eat a hot dog, and feel happy knowing proceeds from team entry fees help support youth baseball in Bend. You can find details and game schedules here.
Hit the grand re-opening of Petersen Rock Garden (May 27)
This folk-art tourist attraction just north of Bend has been a Central Oregon landmark since the 1940s. Petersen Rock Garden has been closed for several months for renovations, but this weekend marks the grand re-opening of this oddball collection of rock creations, museum, and gift shop. Gates open at 10 a.m. and you’re free to wander the grounds ‘til dark. Admission is on the honor system, but they recommend a $3 donation. This is a great place to let the kids run around burning off some energy, and the peacocks strutting the grounds are always my favorite part. To find it, head north on Hwy 97 toward Redmond. Hang a left on SW 61st, left on Young Avenue, cross Canal Blvd, then quickly turn right on SW 77th. Petersen Rock Garden is less than a mile on the right.
Happy Girl Half-Marathon, 10k, 5k, and Happy Little Kids’ Run (May 25-26)
Grab your girlfriends and get running! The scenic route starts along the Deschutes River, and includes a mix of gentle trails and paved surfaces. Women will be spoiled with a great goody bag and a fun pre-race expo, plus on-course support (including handsome pacers). Finishers get a cool custom necklace instead of a medal. The expo is Saturday, and the run is Sunday, and you won’t want to miss either. For details and registration, visit the event website.
Opening day for the Saturday Market (May 25-26)
Kick off the 2013 season of the Central Oregon Saturday Market across the street from the Deschutes Public Library. Browse handcrafted jewelry, artwork, clothing, household goods, and more. Normally, this is a Saturday-only event (as you might’ve guessed from the name) but for Memorial Weekend they’re open both Saturday and Sunday. This is always a great spot to grab gifts to take home to friends and family, so bring an extra shopping bag.
Finale weekend at Mt. Bachelor (May 25-26)
I’m not even a skier, and I’m heading up to Mt. Bachelor for their final weekend of the season. This is the place to be if you’re looking to kiss winter goodbye with the ultimate panache. Check out the North American Pond Skimming Championship on Sunday, or enjoy live music and a cold one (or eight) at the annual Brewski celebration of Bend’s craft beer. There’s still plenty of snow for skiing and boarding, so this is your chance to carve a few final turns this season.
Grab your road bike for Bend Don’t Break (May 25) or giddyup on your mountain bike in the Sisters Stampede (May 26)
Road cyclists rejoice on Saturday in the fast and furious Bend Don’t Break circuit course bike race. A beginner’s clinic that morning gives newbies a chance to prepare, or race hard in the more elite categories. The race is part of the 2013 Oregon Women’s Prestige Series, though there are plenty of men’s categories as well. On Sunday, head west to Sisters with your mountain bike strapped to your car, and get ready for the Sisters Stampede. This uniquely-Sisters event lets you race your bike on the beautiful Peterson Ridge Trail in Sisters. Now in its fourth year, this is Oregon’s largest cross country mountain bike race, with 32 different race categories, and a party at the finish line. Each racer gets a goody bag filled with cool schwag, and there’s $1000 in cash prizes up for grabs for the top three men and women in the Pro or Cat 1 categories. For event details and registration, go here.
Believe it or not, that’s only a sampling of events happening in and around Bend this weekend. For a complete list, check out the Visit Bend Event Calendar. You can search for cool happenings this weekend or any other weekend you plan to Visit Bend.
See you out there!
Win a VIP pass to the party of the year!
Deschutes Brewery Warehouse Party October 27 celebrates the best of the Halloween Cross Crusade
I am not cool.
I go to bed early, I don’t attend fab parties, and I can’t put on makeup without stabbing myself in the eye.
But there are times I sincerely want to be cool, like when Deschutes Brewery hosts one of their legendary warehouse parties. There’s one coming up this Saturday, October 27 from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Since every cool person I know has told me how great it will be, I’ve pledged to attend.
Problem is, I need coolness lessons. For that, I consulted Visit Bend’s Director of Marketing, Lynnette Braillard. She’s attended a whopping fourDeschutes Brewery warehouse parties over the years, so I’m relying on her expertise for everything I need to know to have a great time this Saturday night.
Tawna: So the Deschutes Brewery Warehouse party is held to celebrate National Plush Animal Lover’s Day, right?
Lynnette: First of all, National Plush Animal Lover’s Day is October 28. The Deschutes Brewery Warehouse Party is October 27, and it’s in celebration of the annual Halloween Cross Crusade and Cyclocross Festival October 26-28.
Tawna: That’s right, I was planning to watch some of the events like the Clydesdale Cyclocross Championship of the Universe and the Kiddie Cross Race.
Lynnette: Details about those events are on our website, but we’re talking about the party here. Focus.
Tawna: Right, sorry. So what do I need to know to be cool?
Lynnette: What do you need to know, or what does the average blog reader need to know?
Tawna: Let’s say average blog reader. We need to keep this short.
Lynnette: The theme for this year’s party is Cyclo De Soleil. It’s a vintage carnival and adult circus with live music and shows from the Bend Circus Center and several other local performance troupes.
Tawna: What kind of performances?
Lynnette: Belly dancing, acrobatics, a fire performance, and even an aerial show. And the music is going to be incredible. They’re bringing in The Klown Korps and DJ Delachaux from San Francisco. Delachaux is known for his big-beat-burlectro-swing style of pouring vintage samples and exotic orchestrations over a barrage of saucy beats. They’re calling it, “a fused wild carousel of voluptuous voodoo and body-quaking bass.”
Tawna: Wild carousel? Voluptuous voodoo? Body-quaking? I’m not sure I’m ready for this. Is there anything I should do to prepare myself?
Lynnette: Put some serious thought into your costume because this is a raging Halloween party! Drink plenty of water because you’ll be pounding lots of tasty Deschutes beer all night (bring cash). If you plan to watch the Clydesdale Championship of the Universe race (don’t miss it—it’s hilarious to watch with plenty of crashes and crazy costumes) get your hand stamped so you can get re-entry into the party guaranteed until 9:30 p.m. This is the biggest party you’ll ever encounter in Bend (and the funnest!) so arrive early to get in before they max out on capacity—you may be standing in line to wait for others to leave and let me tell you, nobody ever likes to leave.
Tawna: Got it, I’m taking notes here. Where do I get tickets?
Lynnette: You pay at the door the night of the event. It’s $10 a person, and proceeds support the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance.
Tawna: Wow, $10 is a good deal.
Lynnette: No kidding. That gets you carnival and beer-inspired appetizers, a keepsake photo, and bragging rights for attending the party of the year.
Tawna: Will you put my makeup on for me?
Lynnette: As long as you promise to leave the plush animals at home.
Want to win one free VIP pass to the Deschutes Warehouse Party? Leave us a comment describing your planned costume. We’ll pick a winner the morning of Friday, October 26, and he or she will be able to pick up a VIP wristband at the Bend Visitor Center before 5 p.m. Friday or between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday. Good luck!
This upcoming weekend will be a rare one for me, and I’m giddy as a schoolgirl. Not that I’m wearing a saucy plaid skirt and knee socks, and not that I’m running around unclothed, either. It isn’t what I’m wearing that has me excited, but rather what I’m doing.
Or not doing, as the case may be.
I have no out-of-town houseguests, no book tour commitments, and my gentleman friend’s offspring are with their mom. It’s a rare, lazy, weekend in Bend, and I plan to make the most of it.
Here’s what’s on my agenda for this awesome July weekend:
Take in a concert (or two…or three…)
The great thing about summertime in Bend is that there’s never a shortage of fabulous music. I plan to kick off my weekend early with a free Munch & Music concert in Bend’s Drake Park tonight. The shows happen every Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. through August 16, and offer fabulous music, food booths, arts & crafts, and great scenery.
But that’s just the warm-up.
This Saturday night, Chris Isaak is performing at the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend’s Old Mill District. Tickets range from $39-$69, and rumor has it there are still some left. You can find me lounging in the grass sipping a glass of wine and grooving to the tunes as the sun goes down. If you’re not in town this weekend, don’t fret. There’s a full lineup of great concerts this summer ranging from Counting Crows to Norah Jones to ZZ Top to Brandi Carlile and much, much more. Check out the schedule here.
If you’re looking to keep things inexpensive, don’t miss the Free Summer Sunday concert series at the Les Schwab Amphitheater happening through August 12. Shows go from 2:30-4:30 p.m. and offer a great opportunity to enjoy a picnic in the grass and some great entertainment. Even Fido is welcome at these shows, so bring the whole family!
Float the river in style
Floating the Deschutes River where it flows through the Old Mill District is one of my favorite lazy-day Bend activities. I’m a fan of flopping my air mattress in the water either Riverbend Park or Farewell Bend Park (just a little upstream on the opposite shore just under the Bill Healy Memorial Bridge). I usually drift with a friend and do the two-car shuttle with one of us leaving a vehicle at Drake Park, but visitors might find it easier to nab both the inner tubes and a cheap shuttle ride from Sun Country Tours at their little trailer in Riverbend Park, or you can get river float tube rentals from Tumalo Creek Kayak.
For a list of rules and regulations or general tips on where to rent gear, where to jump in the water, or how to make the most of your river floating adventure, check out this post I wrote last summer with all the juicy details. Happy floating!
Grab a drink & sit outside
When evenings are warm, there are few things I love more than lounging on an outdoor patio with a cold beer or zingy cocktail. If you’re a beer fan, there are a lot of great spots for this along the Bend Ale Trail. One of my current faves is Bend Brewing Company, which has a terrific IPA and a great deck overlooking the river. I’m also newly in love with Bend’s latest brewery addition, Crux Fermentation Project. It has killer mountain views from the outdoor patio, and amazing beers like the scrumptious Just In Time NW Session Ale.
If wine is more your speed, the wine lists and outdoor patios are terrific at Portello Winecafe in Northwest Crossing, and at 900 Wall and Good Drop Wine Shoppe in Downtown Bend. In the Old Mill District, Anthony’s currently has an awesome Seafood Wine Taster flight that’s heavenly when you enjoy it on the outdoor patio watching the aforementioned river floaters drift past. Five bucks gets you three 2-oz pours of some great summer wines during happy hour (regularly $8).
Anthony’s also boasts one of my current favorite cocktails, the Cucumber Cooler. I tried it for the first time a week ago and nearly fell off my barstool swooning. It’s muddled mint and cucumber with gin, St. Germain liqueur, and a little Rose’s lime juice shaken over ice, strained, and served with a bit of soda water and a cucumber garnish. Yum! Other great spots for outdoor cocktails include Velvet and Amalia’s in Downtown Bend.
Giggle with Bill Cosby
There are still some tickets left to see America’s most beloved comedian on Sunday, July 22 at the Deschutes County Expo Center. Bill Cosby will take the stage at 1 p.m., and I plan to be there well in advance to grab good seats. Tickets are $32 for general floor admission, $38 for upper concourse, and $54 for reserved floor seating. Check the C3 Events page for details on where to get tickets (including day-of-show purchases if there are still seats left). This promises to be a terrific show for all ages, and I can’t wait to laugh myself silly.
Get batty about bats!
The High Desert Museum is one of our favorite stomping grounds when we have the kids, but the special exhibits make for fun kid-free days, too. This weekend offers something extra cool with the Live Bat Show.
Did you know Central Oregon bat species devour 600-1,000 mosquitoes per hour? Bats are one of my favorite animals on the planet, so I’m super excited about this special show July 16-22. Rob Mies of the Organization for Bat Conservation is introducing visitors to live bats including the world’s largest species of bat with a 6-foot wingspan. Shows are at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. You pay for regular museum admission, plus an additional $10 for adults or $5 for kids ages 2-11. Kids under 2 are free. For members, adults pay $7, kids 2-11 are $4, and kids under 2 are free If I were a betting woman, I’d say the weekend shows are going to sell out, so grab your tickets early.
What’s happening this summer in Bend, Oregon? Check out these top five upcoming events, and win free tickets to one of them!
Whenever my parents venture across the mountains to visit, my mom kicks off their Bend stay with the same question:
“What’s happening this weekend?”
It’s not that she expects me to entertain them. They’ve grown accustomed to the fact that there’s a concert, special event, or festival pretty much every weekend in Bend.
It’s one of a million things that makes this a great place to live, but also a reason Bend makes an awesome place for a weekend trip. If you’re planning a Bend adventure this summer and want to time it with cool happenings, scope out our Events Calendar to schedule your optimum Bend escape.
Here are the top five events I’m most looking forward to this summer:
Memorial Day weekend concerts at the Les Schwab Amphitheater (May 25-27)
This is always the kickoff of Bend’s concert season, and past Memorial Day shows have been some of my favorite concerts ever. This year’s lineup looks pretty flippin’ incredible. Things start hopping Friday evening, May 25, with The Shins as the headline act. Though I’m a huge Shins fan, I’ve also heard oodles of buzz over the opening act, The Head and the Heart. A friend of mine is traveling from Seattle just to see them.
Saturday night’s concert will be a rare performance by Tenacious D, the band comprised of Jack Black and Kyle Gass. This one won’t be a family-friendly show by any stretch of the imagination (critics call their blend of vulgar comedy & rock music, “mock rock”) but it’ll be an amazing show.
Rounding things out on Sunday evening will be Beck with special guest Metric. For information about tickets and show times for the Memorial weekend concerts or any other shows at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, check out this link.
An Afternoon with Bill Cosby (July 22)
I’ve been a fan of Bill Cosby since toddlerhood when my father played cassette tapes of his comedy routines, and I grew up watching the Cosby Show and reading his books. When my gentleman friend told me the routine with his children includes regular viewings of Cosby Show reruns and bedtime snuggles while listening to recordings of his standup routines, my heart melted a little. I’m over-the-moon thrilled the four of us will be able to see Bill Cosby live at 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 22 at the Deschutes County Expo Center. The show is sponsored by C3 Events, and tickets are going fast. You can order them online or get show information here.
Central Oregon Beer Week (May 21-27), the Fermentation Celebration (July 12), and Bend Brewfest (August 16-18)
Bend has the most craft breweries per capita in Oregon, and the Bend Ale Trail has made our craft beer industry legendary. It makes sense that a single weekend of beer-related revelry won’t suffice.
First on the agenda this year is Central Oregon Beer Week. It’s a week-long celebration May 21-27 that will include tastings, tours, beer dinners, and Mt. Bachelor’s two-day Brewski Festival. You can check their events page to get all the details, and if you bring a completed Bend Ale Trail passport to the Bend Visitor Center during the week, you get a bonus prize.
Next on the agenda is the first Fermentation Celebration July 12 in the Old Mill District. This is a first time event that will include entertainment and tastings, and will be capped off with the crowning of the Beer for a Year sweepstakes winner (don’t forget to buy your raffle tickets at the Bend Visitor Center or here!)
The pinnacle of beer festivities in Bend is the ninth annual Bend Brewfest. This is usually one of the highlights of my summer, and the plethora of music, food, and fabulous beer (more than 80 at last count!) is enough to make any beer lover swoon. And sway. And maybe walk a little unsteadily at the end of it all (not that I’m judging).
Munch & Music (Every Thursday July 12-August 16)
This is one of those uniquely-Bend events that’s been taking place so long, locals sometimes forget it exists. We shouldn’t, since these free concerts in Drake Park are some of the most pleasant forms of entertainment available with all your clothes on. This is the 22nd anniversary of Munch & Music, and the event always offers an awesome chance to groove to some great music while browsing arts & crafts and food booths. You couldn’t ask for a better setting than this quaint little stage beside the Deschutes River, and you really couldn’t ask for a better price than free. This summer’s musical lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but keep an eye on the webpage for that information.
Bite of Bend (June 23-24)
I’ve lived here 14 years, and still never tire of sampling all the amazing cuisine in Bend. Bite of Bend offers an excellent opportunity to try little tasters from dozens of different restaurants. The entertainment is top notch, with a Top Chef competition, performance stage, beer garden, and a children’s area. One of the highlights of the event is the Northwest Spirits & Mixology Show. This preeminent celebration of craft mixology includes competitions, tastings, and parties. Tickets are $15, or you can win a pair RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW by leaving a comment about your favorite Bend event. We’ll draw a winner on Tuesday, May 15.