Welcome to 2017, everyone!
There are so many fab things to look forward to in Bend each year, and 2017 is no exception. As I sat down with my life planner to map out a year’s worth of events and activities, I remembered all over again what a cool town Bend is and how lucky we are to have something awesome happening every month of the year.
Here are some of my favorite things coming up in 2017 . . .
This month, the Joy Project launched in Bend to help add a little happiness and goodwill to an otherwise quiet month in the high desert. It’s a way of empowering people to show kindness and spread joy, and you can read more about it here.
January is also the month when I round out my New Year’s resolutions with a list of three new-to-me hikes I want to tackle in the coming year. To spark your own ideas, check out Visit Bend’s hiking page or Cascade Hiking Adventures.
For a short month, February manages to pack in some of my favorite Bend activities.
President’s Weekend boasts the renowned Oregon Winterfest, complete with live music, rail jam, and competitions ranging from fire pits to ice sculptures.
One of my all-time favorite events is Zwickelmania, the statewide celebration of Oregon’s craft breweries. Though it usually happens the same weekend as President’s Day, Central Oregon decided to branch off this year and do it the following weekend instead on Feb. 25.
I’m probably most excited about the second annual Bend A Cappella Fest, which I was lucky enough to attend with my family in its inaugural year. I was blown away by the sheer volume of talent and the entertainment value for all ages, and can’t wait to go again. Pro tip: It’s almost certain to sell out, so buy tickets early!
Spring Break around the Pacific Northwest can make March a bit busy in Bend, but that’s good news for those who love an air of giddy excitement mixed with their crisp wintery weather.
This is the month when hopeful little spring blooms start wiggling their way out of the dirt, making desert hikes especially fun for wildflower aficionados.
It’s also when the Les Schwab Amphitheater starts trickling out details about the summer concert lineup, adding to the giddy hopefulness of this still-chilly month. Keep your eyes on their Facebook page if you want to be among the first to see concert announcements.
For women seeking a way to celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the Muse Conference brings together internationally-recognized artists, authors, athletes, entrepreneurs, activists, and social change leaders.
Though there’s still a lot of chilly weather and the occasional threat of snowfall, April typically brings the year’s first opportunity to trot out short-sleeved shirts (albeit, paired with a sweater—it ain’t July!)
My fondness for Bend’s culinary scene makes the Foodie Crawl one of my favorite April activities, with the chance to wander around Downtown Bend nibbling gourmet samples paired with cocktails, wine, and beer. Dates haven’t been announced yet, but keep watching for details.
EDIT: Date has been announced! The Foodie Crawl is happening April 23, 2017 from 3-6 p.m. Tickets go on sale March 20, and will sell out fast!
Ahh, this is when it really starts to feel like spring in Bend.
The multi-sport Pole Pedal Paddle event ushers in the season whether you’re participating or just watching.
Snow enthusiasts will be thrilled to know there’s still a full month of spring skiing at Mt. Bachelor, which usually stays open through Memorial Day Weekend.
The summer concert season officially kicks off at the Les Schwab Amphitheater with at least a concert or two (and sometimes three!) on Memorial Day Weekend. If you’re lucky enough to score tickets, plan on bundling up!
More concerts abound at the Les Schwab Amphitheater, plus additional outdoorsy events like the Bite of Bend. It’s officially time for short sleeves and outdoor dining!
There’s also the Fermentation Celebration in the Old Mill District, which isn’t on the calendar yet this year, but always seems to usher in Father’s Day Weekend. Coincidence? I think not.
This is one of the busiest months in Bend, and if you’re not a fan of crowds, you might want to plan your visit for a different month.
For those who do Visit Bend in July, there’s something happening nearly every day of the week. My personal faves are the Old Fashioned 4th of July Festival and its flagship event, the Bend Pet Parade.
Outdoor concerts abound with Munch and Music, Alive After 5, Free Summer Sundays, and the regular lineup at the Les Schwab Amphitheater. There’s also the annual Balloons Over Bend event, which is terrific fun for families.
This is also a primo month for whitewater rafting, floating the river, kayaking, canoeing, SUPing, and more. Go here for a roundup of all of Bend’s best water-based recreation activities.
It’s my birthday month, so is there really anything more important to highlight?
Okay, there’s also the Bend Brewfest (which just happens to coincide with my birthday this year, thank you very much).
My birthday offers a primo excuse for outdoor dining and the super-unique experience of riding a Mt. Bachelor chairlift to your sunset dinner spot at 7,800-feet above sea level.
Oh, and August 2017 also boasts the first solar eclipse to be seen in America for 26 years. Central Oregon is smack-dab in the path of it, prompting a staggering deluge of international visitors booking trips to the area. If you don’t already have a reservation the night of August 21, you’re probably out of luck. No joke!
And here we are at my favorite month of the year in Bend. The weather is milder, the crowds are smaller, the kids are back in school, and we’re all celebrating my wedding anniversary.
You are celebrating it, right?
One of the best ways to get festive is with the Little Woody Barrel-Aged Beer, Cider, and Whiskey Festival (say that five times fast). That’s happening September 1-2 in 2017, or you could do your beer-fueled celebrating a bit later in the month with Oktoberfest in Downtown Bend (dates haven’t been announced yet, but it’s typically around the middle of the month).
This is also a terrific month to cross off some of that hiking I dreamed up back in January.
Bend’s first snowfall of the season could happen anytime between October and November, so snow dancers start watching the skies this time of year.
October is also a great month for sipping pumpkin beer and scoping out the dramatic fall colors in spots like Drake Park and Shevlin Park. You can enjoy all of those things if you show up for one of the Tenth Month events, including the BendFilm Festival, Bend Venture Conferences, or the Swivel Digital Conference.
My favorite October activity is the Historical Haunts Tour sponsored by the Deschutes Historical Museum, which is a guided walking tour of Downtown Bend filled with lots of spooky stories.
Once upon a time, November was the slowest month for tourism in Bend.
That’s changed in recent years as Bend Ale Trail Month has brought a whole lot of beer aficionados to town on a quest for the trophy that’s awarded to those who turn in a completed Bend Ale Trail passport in November.
Mt. Bachelor’s opening day usually happens just after Thanksgiving, so that’s another big milestone in November. After that, you have the start of holiday festivities in the Old Mill District with carriage rides, caroling, and Santa arriving via helicopter.
December is filled with anticipation for folks waiting to see if we’ll be graced with a good old fashioned white Christmas (odds are pretty good!)
This is also a month when the Tower Theatre trots out some of their coolest shows, ranging from holiday concerts to screenings of popular Christmas movies.
So that does it for my roundup of the Bend events and activities I’m most excited about in 2017? What’s on your list?