5 reasons you should be in Bend for President’s Day Weekend
There are certain days I like to call my friends in other cities to gloat about living in Bend. I limit the calls to days ending in “y,” but I’ll admit there are times I’m extra eager to crow about being here in the outdoor playground of the West.
President’s Day Weekend (February 15-18) is one of those times, and here are five good reasons you should consider visiting Bend for this year’s holiday.
Zwickelmania (Feb 16)
Zwickelmania is Oregon’s statewide brewery celebration, so you’ll find cities all over the state celebrating craft beer on Saturday. But no one does it quite like Bend. All the breweries along the Bend Ale Trail (plus a few outliers) throw open their doors to offer tours, tastings, and a chance to ask questions of brewmasters and staff. The event lasts from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and I know from experience it’s possible to hit all the stops in that time. To make it easier, the Oregon Brewers Guild and local breweries are sponsoring a free shuttle from Wanderlust Tours. They’re still working out the precise schedule, but it’ll be posted here in plenty of time for you to plot your route.
It’s also pretty easy to walk between many of the breweries, and I recommend doing that for the fresh air and a chance to burn off a little alcohol. You should also be sure to schedule a lunch stop at one of the tasty pubs to be sure there’s food in your belly and fuel in your gas tank. Don’t forget to download the free Bend Ale Trail app or stop by the Bend Visitor Center for your passport – it’s a great day to collect most of the stamps you’ll need to earn a prize.
Bend WinterFest (Feb. 15-17)
Join thousands of people from across the Northwest for the 14th annual Bend WinterFest in Bend’s Old Mill District. Check out the best things winter has to offer, including the Day Glow Big Air Show, hot music acts like Hell’s Belles and Tony Furtado, ice and snow sculptures, artists and artisan food at the Marketplace Tent, and Metal Mulisha’s death-defying motorcycle show.
The event kicks off Friday from 5-10 p.m. and continues Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. before wrapping up Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can buy a commemorative button that grants you access to all WinterFest activities as well as discounts at local retailers and restaurants. Buttons are available at OnPoint Community Credit Union for $5 or our other button outlets for $6. Family four packs are available for $20 in advance at all outlets. Tickets are available at the gates for $8, family four packs for $28. Mt. Bachelor Season Pass holders get into the event for free (must show pass at the gate), and kids 3 and under get in for free.
Great lodging deals (Feb. 15-18)
Right about now, you’re wondering where you’re going to stay when you come to town for all the President’s Day Weekend festivities. I’m sorry to say my guest room is spoken for, but luckily, there are tons of local lodging establishments offering great deals this time of year. Check out our Bend lodging page to start the search for your perfect hotel, condo, or vacation home, or go straight to our Bend lodging specials page for oodles of deals that include perks like free ski passes, free nights, and extra amenities. The Riverhouse Hotel & Convention Center even has a has specials just for President’s Day Weekend starting at just $105, so check out their page for details.
Polar Plunge (Feb. 16)
I’ll admit the idea of jumping into an icy river is about as appealing to me as sliding down a razor-blade banister into a barrel of grapefruit juice, but clearly the Polar Plunge appeals to tons of people. The event takes place in Riverbend Park on February 16, and participants can check in between 8:30-10:45 a.m. The costume contest kicks off at 10:30, and the actual plunge (i.e. hoards of insane individuals dunking their goosebumpy skin into the frigid Deschutes River) takes place at 11. To avoid lines on event day, pre-register from 4-7 p.m. at the Bend Fred Meyer near the apparel section. Freddies will even throw in a free towel, and proceeds from the event help out Oregon Special Olympics.
Just don’t blame me if you lose any vital parts of your anatomy.
Portland Cello Project performs in Sisters (Feb. 15)
Craving some winter entertainment that doesn’t require bundling up or shucking your clothes? As part of the Sisters Folk Festival Winter Concert Series, the Portland Cello Project is performing at the Sisters High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Friday evening. This eclectic and riveting act combines the power of 7 cellos performing everything from Radiohead to Metallica to classical music. Tickets are just $15 in advance for adults, $10 for students, and $20 at the door. Go here for more information on times and ticket sales. Sisters is just a 25-minute drive west of Bend, so you’ll have no trouble driving there for an early dinner & a pint at Three Creeks Brewing (our extra credit brewery on the Bend Ale Trail), enjoying the concert in Sisters, and heading back to your Bend hotel for a good night’s rest before all the weekend festivities.