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.