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Super-fab itineraries for enjoying Tenth Month (and a fun fall getaway!) in Bend, Oregon


It’s October in Bend, guys, and you know what that means? It’s time for some of my favorite Bend events!

I’ve gushed plenty of times about how much I love the BendFilm Festival, or how I recharge my creative energy at the Swivel Digital and Creative Marketing Conference, but here’s something new: Tenth Month!

Tenth Month is a month-long celebration of brave ideas and innovation in art, film, marketing, technology, and design. It includes events like the BendFilm Festival, Bend Venture Conference, Bend Design Conference, and Swivel, which makes the whole month of October a pretty inspiring time to be in Central Oregon.

BendFilm is a great excuse to visit Bend in October.

BendFilm is a great excuse to visit Bend in October.

If you want to crank the dial on your own creativity, now’s the time to plan a Bend vacation. To help with your planning, here’s a roundup of events, along with a few of my own tips to help you build the best Bend itinerary possible!


October 6-9

A few event highlights:

Legendary independent filmmaker John Sayles will present his first feature film, RETURN OF THE SEACAUCUS SEVEN (1979), to launch the inaugural “First Features” program at the 2016 BendFilm Festival. The film follows a weekend reunion of seven former college friends who reminisce about the good old days when they got arrested on the way to a 60s protest. Sayles and his longtime creative partner, Maggie Renzi, will host an on-stage discussion after the screening.


Legendary indie filmmaker John Sayles and his longtime creative partner, Maggie Renzi, will be part of Bend Film Festival this year.

“First Features” showcases renowned independent filmmakers, screening the first films that catapulted their careers. As part of the “First Features” program, Sayles and Renzi will discuss the trials and tribulations in producing their first feature film and how they were able to capitalize on that film’s success to establish their subsequent careers. Sayles will also moderate a panel discussion with several BendFilm Festival filmmakers who are also presenting their first features.

What else can I squeeze in?

BendFilm signals the start of fall for me, filling my mind with fantasies of sashaying through piles of colorful leaves in a new pair of boots as I stroll Downtown Bend shopping for sweaters and clutching a latte.

I don’t even drink lattes.

But I do drink tea, and I’m partial to the infinite variety at Townshend’s Tea Company. I’m also crazynuts about the chai at Thump Coffee (which coffee-drinking pals have told me also has great coffee).

The drool-worthy shrimp and grits at Drake.

Save room for the drool-worthy shrimp and grits at Drake.

Those boots and sweaters can be found in some of my favorite spots along Wall Street in Downtown Bend, including Hot Box Betty, Local Joe, and Clementine Urban Mercantile.

Opt for stretchy jeans if denim’s on your shopping list, because you’ll want to save room for lunch at Drake. Their shrimp and grits with kale is one of my favorite cool-weather comfort foods in the whole universe.

Afterward, walk a couple hundred feet and find yourself in Drake Park where you can stroll along the river and burn off some of those lunch calories. It’s a great spot to snag a few photos if you brought your camera.



October 10-11

A few event highlights:

Swivel’s speaker lineup is looking better than ever, but one standout speaker you don’t want to miss is design kingpin, Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. On October 10, he’ll reveal “pretty much @#$% everything” he knows to Swivel attendees.

Aaron Draplin is speaking at Swivel this year, and you'll have a chance to nab his new book!

Aaron Draplin is speaking at Swivel this year, and you’ll have a chance to nab his new book!

As a one-man agency, Aaron has elevated such brands as Ford, Burton Snowboards, and the Obama Administration. He has shared his tall tales and “spirited merch” at SXSW, HOW Design, AIGA/NYC and conferences from Anchorage to Amsterdam.

Snag copies of Aaron’s new book at the conference, and get the inside scoop on its ideation, development and production. His lessons are sure to inspire you to tackle your own pipe dreams and backburner ventures!

What else can I squeeze in?

Swivel always leaves me feeling fired up and bursting with energy, so make time for a trail run, a mountain bike ride, or a high-energy hike up Pilot Butte.

Save time for a hike up Pilot Butte!

Save time for a hike up Pilot Butte!

Afterward, head over to Brother Jon’s Public House for a pub food (they have one of my favorite burgers in town!) and some lively conversation. They’ve got a terrific tap list, plus two handy locations in Bend (a larger downtown pub on Bond, and a more intimate pub on Galveston).

Got time for another pint or two? Put your tech skills to use downloading the free Bend Ale Trail app, or grab a Bend Ale Trail atlas at the Bend Visitor Center. Then head out on the town gathering passport stamps as you visit some of the nation’s tastiest breweries.



October 13-14

 A few event highlights:

This year’s Bend Venture Conference will feature a new competition category: Social Impact. It’s open to for-profit companies located in Oregon with a social or environmental mission built into their business model. This year’s award will range from $75,000 to $150,000 (with $75K already committed). An investor group will select the winner after the Thursday panel discussion.

You'll see some pretty staggering checks handed out at the Bend Venture Conference.

You’ll see some pretty fab checks handed out at the Bend Venture Conference.

Thursday’s Social Impact keynote speaker is Rebekah Bastian, Vice President of Product at Zillow. She will speak on how she has used her position at the company as a platform to discuss social issues. Rebekah launched Zillow’s Community Pillar program to help connect low-income renters with affordable housing.

You can buy a ticket to attend only the Social Impact Competition for $45 here. A full-price ticket ($275 for non-EDCO members) gets you into the Social Impact Competition as well as all other conference events.

What else can I squeeze in?

Like Swivel, this is another event likely to leave you with energy to burn. Since you’re fired up about supporting savvy businesses with a social conscience, book a canoe outing or a lava cave adventure with Wanderlust Tours. Their naturalist guides will fill your brain with fascinating facts about Bend’s ecology, plus they’ll cover all the gear and transportation for your outing.

The cool overhead water feature at 5 Fusion is one of many reasons to make sure this hip dining spot is on your list.

The cool overhead water feature at 5 Fusion is one of many reasons to make sure this hip dining spot is on your list.

Need a cuppa joe? Head to Stackhouse Coffee at the 1001 Tech Center (near the Old Mill District). Inspired by the spirit of technology, entrepreneurship and craftsmanship in Central Oregon, Stackhouse is the perfect place to fuel innovation.

For a great dinner afterward, check out one of Bend’s most award-winning chefs at 5 Fusion. Joe Kim has been nominated several times for the prestigious James Beard Award (that’s sorta like the Oscars for the culinary scene). Order piles of fresh, creative sushi, or choose a double order of their mouthwatering filet mignon lollipops. Wash it all down with one of their creative, seasonal cocktails.



October 20-21

A few event highlights:

Bend Design 2016 is a celebration of design culture in the modern world. Led by artful and innovative thinkers both local and national, Bend Design aims to explore the processes and practices that enable design thinking to alter our approach to the challenges and opportunities in our lives, embracing creativity in anything and everything.

Creativity takes many forms at the Bend Design Conference.

You’ll find oodles of opportunity for creativity at the Bend Design Conference.

The event includes, tours, interactive workshops and hands-on exhibits, but it’s the mashups, hosted conversations, and meet-ups that make things extra special. These are all great chances for attendees to meet speakers for informal conversations, in-depth discussions, and more. Go here to find more info and to register early for your favorite connection opportunities.

What else can I squeeze in?

With design on your mind, you want a lunch spot that not only looks cool, but makes your taste buds do a little happy dance. You’ll find that at Barrio, which has a tasty array of creative salads, tacos, soups, and more, plus an atmosphere that’s equal parts chic and funky.

Save room for squash soup at Barrio!

Save room for squash soup at Barrio!

When dinner rolls around, enjoy the aesthetic of recently-remodeled 900 Wall with its mouthwatering northwest cuisine and some of the best cocktails around.

Save time to get your art fix in some of the local galleries, or stroll around Downtown Bend to enjoy the huge array of public art in the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection.

Make time to enjoy Bend's abundance of public art, including the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection.

Make time to enjoy Bend’s abundance of public art, including the Tin Pan Alley Art Collection.

Need more art? Book an Art Safari Tour through Bend Tour Company! Don’t forget to grab a Roundabout Art Route guide so you can answer trivia questions and win prizes for scoping out sculptures.



Can’t decide which event you want to hit? You don’t have to pick!

Tenth Month Bend is offering a limited quantity of Ultimate Passes, which give each recipient access to all participating cornerstone events.

They’re also giving away a prize package (valued at over $3,000), which includes two Ultimate Passes as well as gift certificates for activities, gear rentals, and restaurants to make the most of your Tenth Month experience in Bend.


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