Visit Bend Blog

Category: Festivals & Fairs

What’s on tap for fall 2017 in Bend, Oregon? (Plus win an Oktoberfest prize pack!)

September 7th, 2017

Did anyone else do a teeny, tiny, eensy, weensy dance of joy when the kids went back to school?

The Weiner Dog Races are a highlight of Bend Oktoberfest.

For me, the joy is less about ushering youngsters out of the house and more about ushering in my very favorite season in Bend.

Here are five autumn happenings worth getting giddy about as fall arrives in Bend (plus your chance to win a cool prize package for one of them!)

Bend Oktoberfest September 15-16

Ever wondered why most Oktoberfest celebrations happen in September? There’s a reason! The first Oktoberfest happened in Germany in 1810 to commemorate the Bavarian crown prince’s wedding in mid-October. When they decided to make it an annual affair, they bumped it earlier to take advantage of nicer weather in September.

That makes sense for Bend, too. Our city’s annual Oktoberfest in downtown Bend is a two-day celebration from September 15-16. It features games, food, beer, cider, live music, and kids’ entertainment like bouncy houses and face painting.

Probably the most popular event is the annual Weiner Dog Races, which will have you in stitches as you watch each gaggle of short-legged, tongue-flopping canines scurry to the finish line. Get there early if you want a good spot for viewing.

Who wants to win an Oktoberfest prize pack?

My favorite aspect of Bend’s Oktoberfest is something termed “absurd games of skill.” There are prizes for yodeling, tricycle races, a costume contest, and bendhamerschlagen (a race to hammer a nail into a custom table). They’re all hilarious, and you can scope out the schedule right here.

GIVEAWAY!!! Want to win an Oktoberfest Family Prize Pack that includes two beer steins and tokens for free beer, plus a kiddie schwag set that includes vouchers for two free Kids Zone bracelets, two wooden Oktoberfest toys, and two chicken headbands? Comment on this post with your favorite thing about fall in Bend. We’ll choose a winner on Tuesday, September 12.

 

Bend Fall Festival October 6-8

Get in on pumpkin decorating at the Bend Fall Festival.

Whether you require an extra dose of fall festivity, or you can’t make it to Oktoberfest, the annual First Interstate Bank Bend Fall Festival is a three-day affair that kicks off on Friday, October 6.

It’s similar to Oktoberfest with live music, abundant food, and plenty of things to do for kids. But this festival also features a Harvest Market, a Fine Artist Promenade, and the ever-popular pumpkin carving contest.

New this year is the Fall into Fashion area, which will highlight a carefully-selected group of creators, retailers, and reps for both clothing and accessories.

Check out the full schedule of events here.

 

Bend Farmers Market through October 11

There’s something a bit magical about the Bend Farmers Market this time of year.

Every Wednesday from May through mid-October, local vendors gather in Bend’s Mirror Pond Plaza above Drake Park to sell local veggies, fruits, jams, flowers, meats, soaps, baked goods, and so much more. There’s live music and much merriment, but the months of September and October have something a little different.

Late-season produce like melons and corn are in abundance this time of year at the Bend Farmers Market.

Maybe it’s the brightness of turning leaves and pumpkins propped up on hay bales. Maybe it’s the joy of bundling up in colorful scarves and new boots. Maybe it’s the knowledge that we only have a few weeks left to snag farm fresh goodies in this quaint, friendly market.

But it’s probably all of those things combined that make a September stroll through the Bend Farmers Market the perfect way to usher in the fall season.

 

More outdoor music

Full disclosure: Yes, there have been several outdoor concerts cancelled in the last week because of poor air quality resulting from forest fires raging across the Pacific Northwest. Sisters Folk Festival was called off for the first time in its 22 year history, and Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe had to reschedule its August 30 Pickin’ and Paddlin’ event to September 27.

The Athletic Club of Bend has three awesome shows remaining in the concert season.
Photo by Gary Calicott

That sucks.

But we have every reason to believe things will clear up and remaining outdoor events will go off without a hitch.

As of right now, Michael Franti is still scheduled to play the Les Schwab Amphitheater on Friday, September 8. Tickets are still available, and it should be an awesome evening of music with blissfully warm temps. They’re also hosting Modest Mouse on September 21, which should be another fabulous show.

The Athletic Club of Bend also has three shows coming up in their Clear Summer Nights concert series, with John Butler trio playing September 10, Phillip Phillips September 19, and the Shins playing September 26. Tickets are still available for all three shows.

 

Check out Tenth Month in October

For years, October has been a month jam-packed with independently organized events exploring art, culture, film, tech, and business. Last year, those events banded together to create a month-long celebration known as Tenth Month.

BendFilm is a great excuse to visit Bend in October.

The entire month of October is dedicated to brave ideas and innovation in art, film, marketing, technology, and design. It includes some of my very favorite events like the BendFilm FestivalBend Venture ConferenceBend Design Conference, and Swivel, which makes the whole month of October a pretty inspiring time to be in Central Oregon.

If you want to crank the dial on your own creativity, it’s a great month to plan a Bend vacation.

Celebrate fall in Bend, Oregon with these festivals, markets, and fairs

September 8th, 2016

It’s not autumn yet, but you can feel the season already whispering its way into Bend. Kids are back in school. Our nights and mornings are chillier. The crowds that show up to celebrate Bend’s peak summer season have drifted back home, leaving the city a little more mellow.

It’s my favorite time of year.

Live music is one of many fab reasons to hit Oktobercrest at Eagle Crest Resort this weekend.

Live music is one of many fab reasons to hit Oktobercrest at Eagle Crest Resort this weekend.

And it’s clear I’m not alone, if you judge by the plethora of special events commemorating fall in Bend. Here are four of my favorite autumn celebrations in Bend, Oregon.

 

Oktobercrest at Eagle Crest September 10

Technically not in Bend-proper, this jubilant little fall celebration at Eagle Crest Resort is well worth the 25-minute drive it takes to reach the site from your Bend hotel or vacation rental.

Eagle Crest’s annual Oktobercrest (clever name, eh?!) kicks off its fourth season on Saturday, September 10, 2016 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event features an impressive array of German food, wine, and local beer. There’s also live music from The Happy Hans Band.

This is an especially family-friendly event, and kids get in free. For grownups, the $10 admission includes a commemorative pint glass and one pour. For more info, check out their website.

 

Bend Oktoberfest September 16-17

Ever wondered why most Oktoberfest celebrations happen in September? There’s a reason! The first Oktoberfest happened in Germany in 1810 to commemorate the Bavarian crown prince’s wedding in mid-October. When they decided to make it an annual affair, they bumped it earlier to take advantage of nicer weather in September.

 

The Wiener Dog Races are one of many reasons to hit Oktoberfest in downtown Bend.

The Wiener Dog Races are one of many reasons to hit Oktoberfest in downtown Bend.

That makes sense for Bend, too! Our city’s annual Oktoberfest in downtown Bend is a two-day celebration from September 16-17. It features games, food, beer, cider, live music, and kids’ entertainment like bouncy houses and face painting.

Probably the most popular event is the annual Wiener Dog Races, which will have you in stitches as you watch each gaggle of short-legged, tongue-flopping canines scurry to the finish line. Get there early if you want a good spot for viewing.

Absurd games of skill. That pretty much says it all.

Absurd games of skill. That pretty much says it all.

My favorite aspect of Bend’s Oktoberfest is something termed “absurd games of skill.” There are prizes for yodeling, tricycle races, a costume contest, and bendhamerschlagen (a race to hammer a nail into a custom table). They’re all hilarious, and you can scope out the schedule right here.

 

Bend Fall Festival September 30-October 2

Whether you require an extra dose of fall festivity, or you can’t make it for one of the aforementioned celebrations of autumn, the annual Bank of the Cascades Bend Fall Festival is a three-day affair that kicks off on Friday, September 30 in downtown Bend.

It’s similar to the other festivals with its live music, abundant food, and plenty of things to do for kids. But this festival also features a Harvest Market, a Fine Artist Promenade, and a variety of fun competitions like pie baking and a pumpkin carving contest.

You can scope out the full schedule here.

 

Bend Farmers Market through October 12

I know this isn’t a festival like the other three, but I’m including it because there’s something so . . . festive (for lack of a better word) about the Bend Farmers Market this time of year.

Late-season produce like melons and corn are in abundance this time of year at the Bend Farmers Market.

Late-season produce like melons and corn are in abundance this time of year at the Bend Farmers Market.

Every Wednesday from May through mid-October, local vendors gather in Bend’s Mirror Pond Plaza above Drake Park to sell local veggies, fruits, jams, flowers, meats, soaps, baked goods, and so much more. There’s live music and much merriment, but the months of September and October have something a little different.

Maybe it’s the brightness of turning leaves and pumpkins propped up on hay bales. Maybe it’s the joy of bundling up in colorful scarves and new boots. Maybe it’s the knowledge that we only have a few weeks left to snag farm fresh goodies in this quaint, friendly market.

But it’s probably all of those things combined that make a September stroll through the Bend Farmers Market the perfect way to usher in the fall season.

10 things to know before you hit Bend Brewfest 2015

August 12th, 2015
Sunset at Bend Brewfest!

Sunset at Bend Brewfest!

My unwise decision to get the flu the day before last year’s Bend Brewfest put an unfortunate halt to my plans to attend this beertastic event every year since its inception.

But I’m making up for it in 2015, starting with the Bend Brewfest kickoff at noon on Thursday, August 13, at the Les Schwab Amphitheater and ending with one last delicious sip as things shut down at 8 p.m. on Sunday, August 16.

Since I’ve been around the Brewfest block a time or two, I have a few tips that can help make your experience the best it can possibly be. Here are 10 things you need to know about Bend Brewfest 2015.

 

Hang on to that mug!

If you’re planning to sample beer at Bend Brewfest, you’ll need to purchase a souvenir tasting mug for $15. Your mug is good for all four days of the event, so guard that bad boy with your life.

Also, don’t try sneaking in last year’s mug. They’ll catch you and they won’t be amused.

Your Brewfest tasting mug is good for all four days.

Your Brewfest tasting mug is good for all four days.

Your tasting mug comes with five tokens, which can be swapped for four ounces of beer each. A full 12-ounce pour requires four tokens, but I don’t advise that. The whole point of this event is to try lots of different beers, so don’t fill up on one.

Need more tokens? They’re $1 apiece, sold in packs of five, and if you find yourself with a few extras at the end, don’t fret! They’re good from one year to the next, and I promise you’ll smile when you find one in your sweatshirt pocket in December. They did change from the old wooden nickels to new bright yellow plastic ones this year, but you can still swap those out at the token tent.

 

Make a plan and stick with it.

At the entry gate or in recent issues of The Bend Bulletin, you’ll find a handy, printed Bend Brewfest guide. This is your Bible, and you need to sit down with a few sober moments and a couple trusty highlighters to really study it.

Study your Brewefest program well before you have a single sip.

Study your Brewefest program well before you have a single sip.

With more than 70 breweries, cideries, meaderies, and even a winery, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to taste everything. Brightly mark your top choices, including the dates and times of anything on X-Tap that really tickles your fancy. Then consult the map in your guide so you know exactly where to find them.

With your top picks clearly marked, flag a few b-team brews you also want to try. If you can, save those ones for after your first snack break (more on that later) or for another day.

Also, keep in mind that while Brewfest staff work tirelessly to get the guide right, last-minute substitutions from breweries do sometimes happen. Just go with the flow and know there will be no shortage of tasty beer to try.

 

Dress casually.

Casual attire is a must at Brewfest, as blogger Tawna (center) is happy to demonstrate.

Casual attire is a must at Brewfest, as blogger Tawna (center) is happy to demonstrate.

The weather is likely to be warm for most of the 2015 Bend Brewfest, but temps can cool rapidly at night. Wear short sleeves and shorts/skirt, but bring a sweatshirt for evening. Stick with sandals or sneakers, ladies—this is not the event to trot out those five-inch stilettos. You’ll be on your feet for hours walking on grass that’s damp with spilled beer, so choose your footwear wisely.

Don’t forget to wear something with pockets or carry a small, casual purse to hold those beer tokens. I have a special cross-body bag I got at Clutch Handbag Boutique that’s the perfect size to hold my Hydro Flask, cash, ID, beer tokens, phone, glasses, lip balm, and a light sweatshirt. If you don’t have something similar, visit Clutch in Downtown Bend to find your own. A purse makes an awesome Bend souvenir, plus it’s handy for future events!

 

Bring cash.

Though you can use a card for admission and at the merchandise tent, most food vendors require cash. There’s an ATM on-site, but you’ll pay hefty fees. Better to hit your own bank’s ATM before heading to the venue.

 

Watch the clock.

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to sample all the brews you're dying to try.

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to sample all the brews you’re dying to try.

Taps shut down at 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sunday and they DO NOT MESS AROUND with this. Cutoff times are a legal issue, and it doesn’t matter if you’re next in line for that fab beer you’ve been thinking about all night. Do yourself a favor and set an alarm on your phone so you’ve got plenty of time to grab that last brew before your time’s up.

 

Enjoy your extra day this year.

Traditionally, Bend Brewfest is a three-day affair spanning Thursday through Sunday. But because the beer gods love us very, very much, they added an extra day this year.

Since readmission is permitted on any of the days, this means you can slow down and pace yourself a bit. Decide beforehand to focus on specific breweries or styles on certain days so you don’t confuse your palate by leaping back and forth between Porters and sours and IPAs and ciders.

 

Don’t drink on an empty stomach.

If you arrive at the venue and start guzzling beer with an empty belly, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be flat on your back within an hour.

Crowds can get big at Bend Brewfest, so be prepared to make new friends!

Crowds can get big at Bend Brewfest, so be prepared to make new friends!

Luckily, there are tons of great food vendors at Bend Brewfest, so finding good grub to soak up the suds isn’t a problem. Split some pizza with a pal, or grab a falafel or a tamale. The idea is to line your belly with some nice, dense carbs to absorb alcohol and keep you upright.

But don’t gorge yourself completely, since you want to save room for beer. Once you’ve sipped a few, head back to the food trailers and grab a snack. The best food vendors in the area all show up for this, and there will be plenty of tasty offerings to keep you fueled for your next round of drinking.

Moderation, guys—pace yourselves.

 

Arrange a sober ride.

Pop quiz: If you were a cop who wanted to keep Bend’s neighborhoods safe from drunk drivers, where would you hang out the weekend of Bend Brewfest?

Beyond the risk of arrest, you really don’t want to kill your vacation buzz by killing yourself or someone else. Seriously, guys—don’t screw around with this. Bookmark this page and have it handy for when it’s time to call a cab. You can also walk or elect a sober pal to do the driving. Just don’t drink and drive, OK? Pinky swear?

 

Water’s good for more than paddling.

I know it’s hard to fathom drinking anything besides beer or cider at the Brewfest, but you’ll be hating life in the morning if you don’t remember to drink plenty of water throughout the evening.

Take plenty of snack and water breaks at Brewfest.

Take plenty of snack and water breaks at Brewfest.

You’ll find plenty of water stations throughout the venue. Once you’ve downed a brew sample or two, locate one of these stations, fill your tasting mug with water, and chug that thing down. Repeat after every few samples. If you’d prefer to keep your water vessel separate from your beer one, hit the merch tent to buy a souvenir, double-walled bottle from fiftyfifty. Then swill some more water.

Trust me, you’ll thank yourself in the morning.

 

Leave the dogs at home (and only bring the kids before 7 p.m.)

Can’t find a sitter? Believe it or not, Bend Brewfest is kid-friendly (at least before 7 p.m.) While I personally prefer to leave the young’uns at home and enjoy the event as a grownup, plenty of folks enjoy taking in the scene with their well-behaved offspring in tow. Prior to 7 p.m., there’s a pretty mellow vibe to the whole event, and you’ll see plenty of other parents with kids. Just don’t let them zip around like crazed maniacs knocking beer out of strangers’ hands. That’s bad beer karma.

If you’re a parent to four-legged kids, Fido will need to sit this one out. For the safety of the beasts, dogs are not allowed at the 2015 Bend Brewfest. If you need some ideas for doggie daycare for a night, go here.

How to rock your 2015 Memorial Day Weekend in Bend

May 20th, 2015

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

Sunset at the Les Schwab Amphitheater is one of many reasons to attend at least one concert there this Memorial Day Weekend.

Sunset at the Les Schwab Amphitheater is one of many reasons to attend at least one concert there this Memorial Day Weekend.

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

OK, I'm not nuts about the possible rain on Friday, but the rest of this forecast looks pretty killer for Memorial Day Weekend.

I’m not nuts about the possible rain on Friday, but the rest of the forecast looks pretty killer for Memorial Day Weekend.

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.

Our marketing director and his wife will probably be out mountain biking or trail running, while my hubby and I are gearing up for an afternoon of standup paddleboarding on the Deschutes River.

 

Kick off Central Oregon Beer Week along the Bend Ale Trail

Cheers to Central Oregon Beer Week and the Bend Ale Trail!

Cheers to Central Oregon Beer Week and 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.

 

FishingCraig

Who’s ready for some trout fishing?

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.

It's opening weekend for the Central Oregon Saturday Market, so you get a bonus day!

It’s opening weekend for the Central Oregon Saturday Market, so you get a bonus day!

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.

Only at the Sisters Stampede do horses and mountain bikes ride side by side.

Only at the Sisters Stampede do horses and mountain bikes ride side by side.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 ways to love the planet this Earth Day (and every day!) in Bend

April 15th, 2015

Earth Day is April 22 this year, and while I’m not in the habit of throwing a black-tie cocktail party to celebrate, there are a few ways I plan to mark the occasion in 2015.

In case you’d care to join me, here are 6 great ways to celebrate the earth when you’re in Bend.

 

 

Prowl thrift stores and consignment shops

I love supporting Bend retailers selling new goods from handbags to household décor, but there’s something about thrift stores that makes my thrifty green heart feel giddy. It’s recycling at its best, and a great way to save a few bucks.

Bend has a nice abundance of thrift stores ranging from Goodwill and the Humane Society Thrift Store on the south end of town, to the Opportunity Foundation Thrift Store in northeast Bend. You can see a pretty good roundup here and find treasures in every single one.

Rescue Modern Consignment is one of dozens of Bend shops packed with fabulous secondhand goodies.

Rescue Modern Consignment is one of dozens of Bend shops packed with fabulous secondhand goodies.

If you prefer to restrict your secondhand shopping to treasures that have already been whittled down by professionals, consignment shops can come in handy.  My personal fave is Rescue Modern Consignment located in Downtown Bend just a couple blocks from the Bend Visitor Center. They have a huge array of clothing, shoes, and accessories, and clearance racks that can’t be beat.

For those who prefer used sporting goods or previously-loved home furnishings, check out the Gear Peddler or Déjà Vu Consignment Furniture. I’ll let you guess which one has the sporting goods and which features home furnishings.

If you have goodies of your own you’re looking to recycle, check with the individual stores and ask about their consignment programs.

 

 

Shop for upcycled products

Sara Bella Upcycled makes tons of great products from castoff plastic bags.

Sara Bella Upcycled makes tons of great products from castoff plastic bags.

In case you’re not familiar with the term, upcycling is the practice of taking used items or waste products and turning them into something new.

There are a number of creative Bend companies practicing upcycling, and two of my favorites are Sara Bella Upcycled and Spoke Bracelet.

Sara Bella takes plastic bags and banners and turns them into totes, zip pouches, fashion wear, and more. At last count, her products have kept more than 31,000 bags out of the landfill. You can shop online for Sara Bella products, or even have her custom make something using your own banner or bag. You can also visit her shop in the Bend’s Makers District or pick up some of her cute wallets at the Bend Visitor Center.

How about some bling made from old bike parts by Spoke-Bracelet?

How about some bling made from old bike parts by Spoke-Bracelet?

Speaking of the Bend Visitor Center, that’s also a great place to find Spoke-Bracelet jewelry for that bike fanatic in your life. As you can probably guess from the name, Spoke-Bracelet makes beautiful bracelets from used bicycle spokes. We have a terrific selection in the Visitor Center, or you can shop online or scope out the selections in a variety of Bend shops. Like Sara Bella, they also offer custom work, so get in touch if there’s a special something you’d like to have made for you.

 

 

Bid bye-by to plastic water bottles

With so many amazing reusable water bottles on the market these days, there’s really no excuse for cluttering up landfills with disposable ones.

From Hydro Flask to DrinkTanks to Cosco Cups, tons of Bend companies make reusable beverage vessels.

From Hydro Flask to DrinkTanks to Cupsco, tons of Bend companies make reusable beverage vessels.

You’ll pretty much never catch me without my trusty 21-ounce water bottle from Bend-based Hydro Flask. I’m sipping from mine while I type, and it’s still swirling with ice cubes I put in there at noon yesterday. My husband is fond of the flip-top 18-ouncer for his morning coffee, which he swears keeps it hot until late afternoon.

When you’re looking for something a little burlier to fill with Bend craft beer, cider, or kombucha, DrinkTanks makes a terrific 64-ounce growler, or you can pre-order the party-sized 128-ouncer.

And rather than using your growler or mini-keg to fill paper cups that will end up cluttering the landfill, substitute stainless steel cups that feature the Bend logo. They’re made by Cupsco and sold in the Bend Visitor Center.

 

 

 

Leave only footprints, take only photographs

Wrappers from this picnic were packed out after this hike on Black Butte. Promise.

Wrappers from this picnic were packed out after this hike on Black Butte. Promise.

It goes without saying that leaving trash behind along Bend’s hiking trails and recreation areas is a big huge no-no even when it’s not Earth Day. If you pack in those picnic fixins’, make sure you also pack out the empty containers. If Fido does his business behind a bush, use your compostable doggie doo bags to remove his malodorous calling card.

And hey, if you spot someone else’s trash along the trail, earn yourself a few good karma points by picking it up and packing it out.

 

 

 

Don’t toss it, mend it!

Once upon a time, an unraveling hemline was the signal I needed to pack up my favorite skirt and haul it off to Goodwill. No more!

Allison at Utilitu Sewing & Design can hem up those yoga pants so you don't have to toss them. (photo courtesy of Krystal Collins).

Allison at Utilitu Sewing & Design can hem up those yoga pants so you don’t have to toss them. (photo courtesy of Krystal Collins).

Since I discovered Utilitu Sewing & Design, I’ve had jeans patched, sweaters repaired, and skirt hemlines altered to a more fashionable length. Though Allison of Utilitu is committed to keeping local clients happy with speedy turnaround times, she’s also open to helping out Bend visitors as her schedule allows (particularly if you’re in town for a longer stay). Drop her a line if you bust a zipper or need a patch on your favorite pair of hiking pants.

And while this isn’t necessarily a travel-friendly suggestion, have you ever tried dyeing old garments to make them look new again? Seriously, my closet is filled with skirts, sweaters, t-shirts, and even undies that became brand new to me again with a little hot water and a packet of Rit Dye.

 

 

 

Check out Bend’s Earth Day Parade April 25

The annual parade is one of many don't miss events celebrating Earth Day in Bend.

The annual parade is one of many don’t miss events celebrating Earth Day in Bend.

In case all that environmentally-friendly shopping, sipping, hiking, and mending isn’t enough for you, don’t miss Bend’s annual Earth Day Fair and Parade in Downtown Bend. Sponsored by the Central Oregon Environmental Center, the event goes from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features live music, local food, family-friendly activities, and more.

The parade kicks off at 10:30 on Louisiana Avenue by McMenamins and proceeds through Downtown Bend. Folks wanting to participate should come dressed as your favorite species (though parade rules prohibit written words, motorized vehicles, and live pets).

Want to kick things off a little earlier in true BikeTown USA fashion? There’s a community bike ride leaving Juniper Swim & Fitness Center at 9 a.m. and cycling to the parade site. Check out details here.

The big day will also include drumming and art workshops as well as a variety of other activities. Keep an eye on the Environmental Center’s event page for more details.

Six ways to get your popcorn fix in Bend, Oregon

February 12th, 2015

When it comes to snacking, few things beat the power of popcorn. It’s tasty, it’s filling, and unless you’re popping it in bacon grease (okay, I’ve done that–yum!) it’s a pretty healthy treat.

This is no ordinary popcorn! The herbed popcorn at Drake offers a tasty and FREE treat for diners and drinkers at the restaurant.

The herbed popcorn at Drake offers a tasty and FREE treat for diners and drinkers at the restaurant.

While it’s unlikely you’ll visit Bend, Oregon solely for the purpose of sampling your way around the city’s best popcorn treats, here are a few things my fellow popcorn fans won’t want to miss in Bend.

 

Munch popcorn for free at Drake

Yep, you read that right—the popcorn is FREE at Drake in Downtown Bend. They serve it in lieu of a bread basket so you have something to nibble while you make your entrée selections and wait for your meal. It’s oil-popped, dairy-free, and tossed with a scrumptious blend of fresh herbs, spices, and olive oil.

I hesitate to tell you they offer unlimited refills, since the idea here is that you need to save room for other menu items. With that in mind, I highly recommend the shrimp & grits made with roasted peppers, caramelized onion, bacon, escarole, and tabasco pan sauce.

 

Pop your own and sprinkle goodies from Navidi’s

I eat popcorn five or six days a week, so I like to spice it up sometimes. One of my favorite spots for popcorn-enhancing goodies is Navidi’s in Downtown Bend. I’m a huge fan of their black truffle salt, which I sprinkle on my popcorn for an extra-decadent snack.

Just a few of the gourmet salts you'll find at Navidi's in Downtown Bend.

Just a few of the gourmet salts you’ll find at Navidi’s in Downtown Bend.

They have oodles of other fancy salts ranging from chipotle-flavored to Hawaiian black lava sea salt, and you can taste test all the varieties at their cozy downtown shop.

I’m also obsessed with the flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars at Navidi’s. I have a dozen varieties on my kitchen counter for cooking and salad prep, and I recently discovered the oils are pretty fabulous on popcorn, too. My personal fave is the fernleaf dill flavor, but basil, lime, and even blood orange are also divine when you drizzle it on your snack in lieu of butter.

The manager just gave me a tip I’m dying to try for “pizza popcorn” made by tossing ordinary popcorn with their sundried tomato salt, Tuscan herb olive oil, and parmesan. Yum!

 

Popcorn and a movie? Yes, please!

Nothing goes hand-in-hand quite like a bucket of popcorn and a good movie, and you can find both things at several spots around Bend. Catch all the latest releases at the Regal Old Mill Stadium and IMAX in Bend’s Old Mill District (which has the added bonus of offering tons of nearby restaurants for a scenic dinner afterward if the movie popcorn doesn’t fill you up).

Tin Pan Theater is a unique spot to get your movie popcorn fix.

Tin Pan Theater is a unique spot to get your movie popcorn fix.

If you’re partial to indie flicks, documentaries, shorts, local films, and old movies shown in a quainter venue, check out the Tin Pan Theater in Downtown Bend. They have a quirky vibe, a cozy 28-seat setting, and of course, popcorn!  They take pride in popping theirs in only canola oil with a dash of salt.  Then they drizzle it with freshly melted REAL Eberhards butter and turn you loose on their station of shakers filled with, parmesan, nutritional yeast, braggs, siracha, and other tasty toppings.

 

 

Toss it with tasty seasonings from Savory Spice Shop

The dip mixes at Savory Spice Shop make excellent popcorn toppings!

The dip mixes at Savory Spice Shop make excellent popcorn toppings!

I’m not saying I did, and I’m not saying I didn’t discover this by accident after a day on the Bend Ale Trail. But the seasoning blends and dips from Savory Spice Shop are THE BOMB on popcorn.

While their Smoky Hills Cheese Powder is technically meant to be mixed with sour cream to make a dip, it’s phenomenal sprinkled on a great big bowl of butter-drizzled popcorn. Ditto for their savory Dill Dip (which becomes extra-special-tasty when you combine it with the aforementioned fernleaf dill olive oil from Navidi’s).

Even if you don’t intend to misuse their products to enhance your popcorn, this is a great place to browse when you’re shopping in Bend’s Old Mill District. If you’re really on a culinary kick, pop next door to Ginger’s Kitchenware for gifts, gadgets, and even cooking classes.

 

Sip Caramel Corn tea from Inspired Leaf

Inspired Leaf is a little Bend-based tea company makes some of the most unique blends you’ll ever encounter (Berkshire Apple Fig? Chocolate Strawberry Saffron? Coconut Truffle? Yum!)

Drink your popcorn with Caramel Popcorn tea from Inspired Leaf.

Drink your popcorn with Caramel Popcorn tea from Inspired Leaf.

But it’s their Caramel Popcorn blend that really rolls my socks up. If you look closely, it has little bits of popcorn in the blend, and you can taste it when you brew yourself a cup. The result is a nutty, toasty, delicious bit of flavor in your mug.

You won’t likely find the caramel popcorn flavor in restaurants around Bend (though you can order it online). If you’re looking to sample some of their other tea varieties while getting a great meal to boot, try Café Sintra or 5 Fusion. You can also purchase it at Newport Avenue Market in Northwest Bend (where they also stock a unique array of salts to dress up your popcorn).

 

Score kettle corn at Oregon Winterfest

A festival isn’t a festival without a food court that boasts a kettle corn booth wafting heavenly smells throughout the venue. Lucky for you, the 2015 Oregon Winterfest is happening February 13-15 in Bend, and they have plenty to offer besides kettle corn.

Can't you just smell the kettle corn wafting over the food court at Oregon Winterfest?

Can’t you just smell the kettle corn wafting over the food court at Oregon Winterfest?

Oregon Winterfest is a massive annual celebration of the chilly season, featuring live music, a Wine Walk, ski and snowboard competitions, ice carving, a fire pit competition, motocross with Metal Mulisha, an OMSI kids’ tent, a 5k and 10k race, and much more. You can check out the schedule of events here and buy tickets at the gate when you arrive.

But let’s get back to the kettle corn, shall we? Famous Kettle Korn is providing this year’s booth, and they’ll be popping up several tasty varieties, including caramel corn and their famous lightly-salted, sweetened Kettle Korn. They’ll also have cotton candy if popcorn isn’t your thing, but if that’s the case, seriously—why are you still reading?

 

 

What’s happening in Bend, Oregon for Thanksgiving 2014?

November 20th, 2014

So you’re planning to spend Turkey Day 2014 in the land of snow-capped mountains and high desert stars. Why don’t you go ahead and pat yourself on the back right now for your good decision?

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the fun things in store for everyone who plans to be in Bend, Oregon this Thanksgiving!

 

Gobble up some good grub

First things first. Let’s talk about where you want to have your main meal on November 27 this year.

The cozy dining room at Greg's Grill is one of many spots in Bend where you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

The cozy dining room at Greg’s Grill is one of many spots in Bend where you can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner this year.

For some, the thought of preparing your own feast in the kitchen of your Bend vacation rental has the homey sorta vibe you’re craving. If that’s the case, go here to scope out a variety of vacation homes and condos with ovens waiting to welcome that big, juicy bird.

If you’d rather leave the cooking to someone else, you have plenty of options to pick from. Check out this list for a roundup of restaurants ready to make your holiday meal extra special. The Turkey Day buffet at McMenamins Old St. Francis is one of the most popular offerings in town, with mealtimes offered from noon to 6 p.m. Reservations are required, and the roundup of food will include fresh-carved turkey, fireside port cranberry relish, roasted pork loin with Edgefield cider jus, poached salmon, tortellini salad, garlic green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey gravy, along with a wide array of fresh fruit, salads, and desserts.

If you feel like venturing a bit out of town, Brasada Ranch has a three-course prix fixe dinner from noon to 6 p.m. They don’t charge extra for the killer mountain views or gorgeous scenery.

Not in the mood to eat in a restaurant, but still don’t want to do the cooking? Not a problem! Catering experts Baldy’s, Tate & Tate, and Country Catering all offer holiday meals for pickup.

 

Run off those Turkey Day calories

Run off those Turkey Day calories in the Thanksgiving Classic or one of the other fun runs happening this year.

Run off those Turkey Day calories in the Thanksgiving Classic or one of the other fun runs happening this year.

Feeling guilty about that sixth helping of mashed potatoes? Never fear, Bend has a variety of Thanksgiving-themed runs and walks to help burn off those extra calories.

The Bend Thanksgiving Classic 10k/5k walk/run and the I Like Pie Thanksgiving Day walk/run both kick off at 9 a.m. in different parts of Bend on Thanksgiving morning. The day after Thanksgiving, the Turkey Trot is taking place in Sunriver.

To learn more about each of these races, check out our Event Calendar.

 

Who’s ready to ski?

I know plenty of you are waxing your snowboards and tuning your skis in anticipation of Mt. Bachelor’s first day of operations.

Who's ready to carve some turns at Mt. Bachelor?

Who’s ready to carve some turns at Mt. Bachelor?

While things are always subject to change based on the whims of Mother Nature, Mt. Bachelor is currently scheduled to open the terrain parks and Nordic areas on Monday, November 24, with alpine skiing operations kicking off Wednesday, November 26—the day before Thanksgiving.

Make sure you check the online condition reports for up-to-the-minute info about opening day. And oh yeah—pray for snow!

UPDATED NOV. 26, 2014: Rainy conditions have put a damper on opening day plans, but Mt. Bachelor is now aiming to be up and running the day after Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the online condition reports for all the latest info.

 

Shop ‘til you drop

For those who favor indoorsy pursuits over outdoorsy ones (or for those who simply love a good bargain), don’t miss the Black Friday shopping deals around town.

Bend’s Old Mill District features stores like Victoria’s Secret, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Zumiez, and more. Check out their Black Friday Specials page for info on who’s opening at midnight, 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m., and other more sane hours.

There are plenty of places to shop 'til you drop in Bend for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

There are plenty of places to shop ’til you drop in Bend for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

Fans of outlet shopping will want to check out the Bend Factory Stores for big bargains. Shops include hotspots like the Coach Factory Outlet, Nike Outlet, Eddie Bauer, Columbia Outlet, and much more.

For deals at places like Best Buy and Cost Plus World Market, head north to the Cascade Village Shopping Center. And if big-box stores like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and T.J. Maxx are on your agenda, be sure to hit the Bend River Promenade in the middle of town. While you’re on the north end of town, pop into Pomegranate Home & Garden, a locally-owned shop in a historic farm house, for some really unique gifts.

To help you spread things out a bit, many shops in Downtown Bend are participating in Small Business Saturday. Check out their page for details about shops and specials, including deals at great local boutiques like Hot Box Betty, Local Joe, and Tres Jolie.

 

Christmas already?

Carriage rides are one of many festive traditions happening in the Old Mill District.

Carriage rides are one of many festive traditions happening in the Old Mill District.

Before we’ve even stashed the Thanksgiving leftovers, a lot of us are gearing up for the next major holiday. If you’re ready to get a jump on Christmas, head to the Old Mill District. Santa will arrive via helicopter around 10 a.m. on Friday, November 28, to begin his tour of duty at Santaland. There will also be oodles of other Christmassy offerings like carriage rides, carolers, kids’ activities, and more. Go here to see what’s in the lineup.

Downtown Bend is another festive place to be, with oodles of lights and decorations adorning streets and shops. One of Bend’s most cherished holiday traditions is the annual Christmas tree lighting on November 29 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving). The live tree is located at the top of Drake Park near Mirror Pond Plaza, and guests get to sing carols and watch Santa light the tree. Festivities get underway at 6:30 p.m., but you’d be smart to arrive at least half an hour before that to find a spot.

 

Only in Bend

Yes, I acknowledge there are Black Friday sales and Christmas tree lightings happening in most towns around America this time of year. While I encourage you to enjoy those activities, here are a few only-in-Bend things to add to your holiday agenda:

  • Snowshoe with Wanderlust Tours. Let the naturalist guides at Wanderlust lead you into the wilderness to traipse through pristine fields of pillowy snow. Tours include all gear and transportation, not to mention snacks and warm drinks. They offer daytime or starlight outings, and kids are welcome, too.

    Snowshoeing by starlight is one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities you can enjoy with Wanderlust Tours in Bend.

    Snowshoeing by starlight is one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities you can enjoy with Wanderlust Tours in Bend.

  • Science Parties at the High Desert Museum. Bend’s popular High Desert Museum offers fascinating exhibits, cool animals, and tons of opportunities to learn more about the culture and history of the high desert. During Thanksgiving week, the Science Party on tap is called Winged Wonders. It’s a chance to explore the world of flight with live animals and breathtaking experiments. Check out their website to learn more about the schedule and other exhibits at the museum.
  • Special programs at the Tower Theatre. Even if they weren’t having any shows at all, Bend’s historic Tower Theatre would be worth checking out just for the beauty of it. But during Thanksgiving week, you’ll have the chance to see National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation on the big screen. The show starts at 7 p.m. on November 28, and you can get tickets here.
  • Festivities at Sunriver Resort. If you’re up for a 20-minute drive, Sunriver Resort is a lovely place to spend an afternoon this time of year, particularly if you want to get into the holiday spirit. Check out special events like their annual Holiday Marketplace November 28-29 (a great place to pick up crafts, treats, and ornaments) or their Grand Illumination Ceremony November 28.

What the @#$% is shoulder season? Six reasons you should know (and should plan your Bend vacation around it!)

September 26th, 2014

When I started working for Visit Bend four years ago and first heard the term “shoulder season,” I thought of bare arms in a summery sundress on a warm July day in Bend.

The fall leaves around Drake Park in Downtown Bend are one of many reasons Bend is a great spot for a shoulder season vacation.

The fall leaves around Drake Park in Downtown Bend are one of many reasons Bend is a great spot for a shoulder season vacation.

Turns out I wasn’t even close. Shoulder season refers to periods of lower tourism activity sandwiched between the busiest times. In Bend’s case, tourism is booming in the summer months when everyone shows up for rafting, hiking, standup paddleboarding, and other warm-weather activities. Same deal with winter, when folks arrive in droves driving cars loaded down with skis, snowboards, snowmobiles, snowshoes, and sleds.

Does that mean fall and spring are less desirable times to plan a Bend vacation? Nothing could be further from the truth! Here are six reasons Bend’s shoulder seasons are an amazing time visit Bend, Oregon.

 

Score screamin’ deals

When tourists get scarce, Bend hotels and resorts get competitive. That means fall and spring are some of the best times to score killer deals on Bend lodging. If you’re considering a shoulder season visit to Bend, check out Visit Bend’s Hot Deals page for the latest promotions and specials.

For instance, the Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center has a list of dates offering a 25% reduction off their normal room rate. Go here to see what they are. Brasada Ranch has a wide range of specials offering free nights and deep discounts on their luxury cabins.

 

Avoid the crowds

Skiing at Mt. Bachelor can be fabulous in the spring and fall.

Skiing at Mt. Bachelor can be fabulous in the spring and fall.

Introverts like me especially appreciate Bend’s fall and springtime seasons when the crowds thin out around town. Plan a visit to Bend during the shoulder season and odds are good you’ll never have to fight for dinner reservations at any Bend restaurant or wait long to be seated while you’re scoping out the city’s best eggs benedict for breakfast.

Had trouble in the past with organized tours filling up during a peak-season visit? Not a problem when you show up in October or April. You’ll have the place to yourself!

If snowplay is your thing, you’ll be thrilled to know Mt. Bachelor consistently has one of the best spring skiing seasons in North America, with snowpack that sticks around longer and deeper than anyplace else.

 

See the seasons change

April is a great time to see things starting to bloom in Bend.

April is a great time to see things starting to bloom in Bend.

As you probably noticed, Bend’s shoulder seasons correspond with the transition from warm weather to chilly, or vice versa. Visit Bend in late-September to watch the leaves change, or show up in October and November to savor the sight of pumpkins on doorsteps and the ear-to-ear grins of folks giddy at the sight of those first falling snowflakes (a much nicer sight than the mid-March scowls when we’re all tired of shoveling snow).

When springtime rolls around, it’s a great time to enjoy the first buds on trees and the amusing sight of folks jumping the gun on warm weather recreation by heading out to standup paddleboard in puffy jackets and gloves.

Sights like these are the sort of things Bend residents treasure and savor, but few tourists get to enjoy them. Dontcha kinda want to enjoy Bend the way the locals get to?

 

Play outside all year round

Bend’s outdoor recreation is legendary, with Outside magazine dubbing Bend the world’s top SUP getaway and National Geographic naming us one of the world’s top 25 ski towns.

How about a fall fly fishing adventure in Bend?

How about a fall fly fishing adventure in Bend?

But let’s not forget Bend offers a wealth of other recreation opportunities even when you can’t ski or splash in the river in your bikini.

Fall is the perfect time of year to plan a fishing trip to Bend, with oodles of steelhead just begging you to break out that fly rod. Mountain biking is another terrific shoulder season sport, with the folks at Cog Wild offering guided trips all year long.

When the weather is less-than-stellar, it’s a great time to explore Bend’s volcanic landscapes with a cave adventure from Wanderlust Tours.

 

Did someone say seasonal beer specials?

Mmmm....Jubelale from Deschutes Brewery.

Mmmm….Jubelale from Deschutes Brewery.

The Bend Ale Trail is a popular attraction all year long, but there are some added incentives for trekking this trail of craft beer during Bend’s shoulder seasons.

For starters, there’s Bend Ale Trail Month. Each November, anyone who completes the Bend Ale Trail and submits a completed passport at the Bend Visitor Center during the month will receive a special trophy, along with some killer bragging rights.

If that’s not enticement enough, consider the fact that fresh hop season happens in September and pumpkin brews abound in October. Fall is also when Deschutes Brewery starts to trot out seasonal favorites like Jubelale and The Abyss.

When springtime rolls around, it’s a great time to be here for the release of brews designed for swilling in the sunshine on the back deck of your Bend vacation rental. You can also plan a spring trip around Zwickelmania, the statewide celebration of craft beer happening every February over President’s Day Weekend. Go here to check out the schedule of events for this year, then plan your vacation accordingly.

 

Come for the special events

I don’t think I’m giving away any huge trade secrets when I tell you tourism folks like to plan cool festivals during the shoulder seasons. It’s a great way to draw visitors here when the city needs a bump in business.

BendFilm is a great excuse to visit Bend in October.

BendFilm is a great excuse to visit Bend in October.

Visit Bend’s Event Calendar is a great place to scope out what’s happening throughout the year. You can search by date or by the type of event you prefer.

Some of the highlights from the fall season include Bend Fall Festival and BendFilm Festival in October. In early November, come out for the Halloween Cross Crusades cyclocross race and all the fun events associated with it.

When spring rolls around, we’ve got the aforementioned Zwickelmania in February, along with the popular Oregon Winterfest.

The annual Springtacular event at Mt. Bachelor spans several weeks in March and April, and offers a great opportunity to score great deals on spring skiing (not to mention tons of fun competitions and live music!)

Planning to be in Bend for Fourth of July 2014? Here’s everything you need to know!

June 25th, 2014

‘Tis the season for fireworks, parades, Fourth of July camping trips, and floods of phone calls to Visit Bend from travelers seeking information about all those things.

Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common questions we get this time of year. Since it wouldn’t be very nice if we only gave you the questions, we’ve also taken the time to provide answers. We’re helpful like that.

Q: Where can I watch Fourth of July fireworks in Bend?

Fireworks burst above Pilot Butte.

Fireworks burst above Pilot Butte.

A: Each year, fireworks are launched from the top of Pilot Butte at 10 p.m. If you have any friends who live in an elevated area of northeast Bend, try to procure an invitation to their Independence Day barbecue. Bring beer.

If that’s not an option, you can see fireworks from just about any spot in town with a view of Pilot Butte. City parks are popular viewing spots, so check the Parks & Rec site to find one near you. Get there early with a blanket or chairs, since some of the popular locales can be packed.

 

Q: What special events are happening for July 4?

A: One of the most popular Bend traditions is the annual Pancake Breakfast in Drake Park sponsored by the Bend Sunrise Lion’s Club. This all-American meal is served from 8 a.m. to noon. Cost is $4 for kids and $6 for adults, and proceeds support local charities.

The Pet Parade is a spectacle all by itself!

The Pet Parade is a spectacle all by itself!

My personal favorite event is the annual Pet Parade. It’s Bend’s largest parade, with 8,000 spectators and participants, and it’s been happening since the 1930s. Starting at 10 a.m., the parade winds its way through downtown with a kooky array of humans, canines, and farm animals, many of whom will be attired in bizarre costumes.

parademapIf you or your kids want to march in the parade, the lineup and decorating party takes place at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot between Bond and Wall across from the Deschutes Public Library. If you just want to watch, you can park your chair pretty much anywhere in Downtown Bend. Streets will be closed starting at 9 a.m. and parking can be tough to find, so get there nice and early.

After the parade, head over to Drake Park for the Old Fashioned July 4 Festival. From 11-4, enjoy games, live music, a variety of food booths, kids’ activities, and more than 130 artisan booths.

Craving a more intimate celebration? Brasada Ranch (just 16 miles northeast of Bend ) is holding an Independence Day All American BBQ. You can enjoy great food, live music, lawn games, and panoramic views of three (yes, THREE) firework shows across the region. Dinner is served from 6-8 p.m. and music goes from 7:30-10:30. Cost is $39 for adults and $23 for kids 5-10.

For the fitness-minded among you, the annual Spark Your Heart 5K run/walk will kick off at 8 a.m. in Riverbend Park. Details and registration are here.

 

Q: Uh-oh…Tumalo State Park is full. Where can I camp?

A: Independence Day is typically one of the busiest times of the year in Bend, and 2014 will be especially crazy with the holiday falling on a Friday. A good starting point is Visit Bend’s complete roundup of campgrounds and RV parks. While we can’t guarantee availability on a busy holiday weekend, these might be worth trying if you strike out elsewhere:

There are plenty of places to camp in and around Bend.

There are plenty of places to camp in and around Bend.

 

Q: Where can I play in the Deschutes River?

The view from your river float as you pass through the Old Mill District.

The view from your river float as you pass through the Old Mill District.

A: We have a whole web page devoted to this! Find out about canoeing, kayaking, standup paddling, and river float trips in Bend. To get the inside scoop on floating on the Deschutes River the way the locals do it, check out this blog post.

 

Q: What hikes are open?

A: This page from the Forest Service offers up-to-the-minute trail conditions and closure info. You can also refer to Visit Bend’s hiking page for ideas about where to go. Cascade Hiking Adventures is another terrific resource for hiking ideas.

 

Q: Are things like the High Desert Museum and Lava Lands Visitor Center open on July 4?

A: Though the High Desert Museum is closed on Independence Day, be sure to stop by on a different day during your trip. Lava Lands Visitor Center is Open July 4. The Des Chutes Historical Museum is not only open, but offers free admission all day on July 4.

 

Q: We really like the way you write the Bend Buzz Blog and would like to buy you some fireworks. What would you like?

A: Why thank you! Sparklers and smoke balls, please. I like the green ones.

Five reasons to hit the BendFilm Festival October 10-13!

October 9th, 2013

Whether you’re a hardcore film buff (my fiancé) or someone who typically falls asleep during movies (guilty as charged) there’s something magical about the BendFilm Festival each October.

Maybe it’s the unique energy of all those independent film fans gathered in one place, or maybe it’s the excitement of chatting with real, live filmmakers about their creations.

Heck, maybe it’s the parties. I won’t rule that out.

Bottom line, there are tons of great reasons to make sure you buy passes for the 2013 BendFilm Festival October 10-13. Here are five of them.

 

Didja hear what they’re saying?

MovieMakerMagYou know how your mama taught you not to care what other people say about you? Ignore that, at least if you’re BendFilm. See, they’ve been racking up a lot of great buzz lately in places that matter. In April, MovieMaker magazine named BendFilm one of the top 50 film festivals in the world. It was the only film festival chosen in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s kind of a big deal. The judging pool included more than 5,000 film festivals around the world, and evaluated factors including history, prizes, judging panel, audience, subsequent success of alumni, and submission fees.

The buzz doesn’t stop there, though. Earlier this week, The Huffington Post did a fabulous interview with BendFilm director Orit Schwartz. It’s a pretty awesome piece not only because she shares a lot of cool insights about BendFilm, but because she speaks glowingly about Bend itself. There have also been some pretty cool mentions in the September issue of Horizons (the Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine) and this cool article at Indiewire. Sometimes it’s nice to have everyone talking about you, eh?

Crowds gather at the Tower Theater during BendFilm.

Crowds gather at the Tower Theater during BendFilm.


 

Let’s celebrate 10 years!

As if BendFilm weren’t exciting enough, this is the festival’s tenth year of life. What better way to commemorate the occasion than skimming the schedule and ponying up a few bucks to buy tickets to a few films that pique your interest. Better yet, buy an event pass for the whole thing. A milestone like this only happens once, and you deserve to celebrate in style. It’s worth noting that festival winners will be screened on Sunday, so save some of your film-going energy for the final day. You’ll also want to save room on your agenda for one of the panel discussions, which is always a highlight for film buffs.

 

Premieres? We’ve got ‘em!

Do you dig being one of the first people to see a hot new indy pic? This year’s BendFilm Festival is your personal playground. Out of 82 official selections, a whopping 72 are premiers. There are nine world/US premieres, 15 West Coast premiers, 38 Pacific Northwest premiers, and 10 Oregon premieres. That’s a whole lotta premiere action. Go here to check out the schedule.

 

Wanna party?

I know, I know…it’s supposed to be about the value of independent cinema and the artistry of it all. Still, I feel I should confess the parties are usually my favorite part of BendFilm. This year’s lineup of festivities seems particularly impressive. The opening night kickoff party at the Oxford Hotel promises an abundance of hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, wine, beer, and shoulder-rubbing with filmmakers and supporters. That starts at 7:30 p.m. October 10, and you’ll need to buy tickets here.

Another fabulous party takes place that same evening immediately following the opening night reception. You won’t want to miss X Party: The Party of the Decade! From 9:30-midnight, stop by the BendVisitorCenter on the corner of Lava & Oregon, pay $10 at the door, and prepare to dance yourself dizzy. There will be music by Flip-Flop Sounds, no-host libations from Twist Cocktail Catering Co., and a dance vibe so fabulous you won’t be able to stand it.

 

It’s a great excuse to explore Bend

Waiting in line outside the Tin Pan Theater.

Waiting in line outside the Tin Pan Theater.

Not that you need an excuse, but here it is. There’s something cool about strolling through Downtown Bend this time of year as you make your way from one film venue to the next. You’re snuggled in your colorful new sweater as you kick your boots through piles of leaves and smile at fellow film-goers wearing the telltale pass around their necks. It’s a great opportunity to browse downtown boutiques for some souvenir shopping or to grab a bite to eat in one of Bend’s fabulous restaurants. Later in the evening, grab a beer at McMenamins and cozy up by the fire as you chat up filmmakers and fans. It’s the ultimate autumn event in Bend, so savor it.


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