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)

Picture yourself here watching Cake and Sigur Ros. Nice picture, huh?
Picture yourself here watching Cake and Sigur Ros. Nice picture, huh?

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)

Sip 'til your heart's content during Central Oregon Beer Week.
Cheers to Central Oregon Beer Week.

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

It's a lovely time of year to visit Whychus Creek (even if you can't pronounce it).
It’s a lovely time of year to visit the Whychus Canyon area (even if you can’t pronounce it).

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)

Frolicking in the sunshine at Petersen Rock Garden.
Frolicking in the sunshine at Petersen Rock Garden.

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)

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!

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)

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.

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!

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