Those of you familiar with Oregon may be aware of the Keep Portland Weird movement. While it’s true Portland probably corners the market on weirdness, I’d like to point out that Bend has its own unique brand of quirky culture right here in the high desert.
Don’t believe me?
For evidence, look no further than this weekend’s second annual Chicken Coop Tour.
Two things strike me as odd there – one, the obvious fact that local chicken coops are an actual tourist attraction, complete with booklets, a tour etiquette guide, and organized bike tours and shuttles to keep people moving between coops.
And then there’s the fact that the event was clearly popular enough the first time to warrant a second one.
Am I the only person who’s absolutely enthralled with this idea? Obviously not, or there wouldn’t be so much buzz (or should I say squawking?) about the event.
Bend’s second annual Chicken Coop Tour takes place Saturday, May 7 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Participants can visit their choice of local coops and see hundreds of chickens and their owners who “graciously invite you to meet, greet, bawwk, gawk, and learn about the wonderful world of poultry.”
(That’s taken right from the website, folks – I swear, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried).
This year, 35 coops will be available for viewing in Bend and Tumalo. The tour includes a wide variety of coop styles custom built out of everything from recycled materials to straw bales. Some coops house 3 chickens, some house 60, and the wide variety of styles and breeds will have you clucking with pleasure.
In all seriousness, there are a few legit reasons behind the Chicken Coop Tour. There’s been a big focus on going green and eating local lately, and chicken coops can be a big part of that.
There’s also a charitable element to the Chicken Coop Tour. It’s raising funds for Together for Children, Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center, and NeighborImpact Food Bank. That means the $10 you spend on a tour booklet will go to a good cause. Ditto that if you opt to pay with six cans of non-perishable food instead.
You can also do an organized bike tour with Bend Velo starting at 10 a.m. or the GETIT Shuttle tour kicking off at 9:45 or 12:45.
Even local restaurants are getting in on the action. If you flash your bright orange Chicken Coop Tour booklet on May 7 at CHOW or Café 3456, the restaurants will donate a portion of the bill to the aforementioned non-profits.
I can vouch for the fact that both restaurants are FABULOUS, so that right there makes it worthwhile. Be sure to order an omelet. Or eggs benedict. Or scrambled eggs.
Visit the Chicken Coop Tour website for more details on how to buy your booklets or sign up for an organized tour. Whatever you do, be sure to venture out this Saturday to sample a bit of Bend’s unique brand of weirdness.