Did anyone else do a teeny, tiny, eensy, weensy dance of joy when the kids went back to school?
For me, the joy is less about ushering youngsters out of the house and more about ushering in my very favorite season in Bend.
Here are five autumn happenings worth getting giddy about as fall arrives in Bend (plus your chance to win a cool prize package for one of them!)
Bend Oktoberfest September 15-16
Ever wondered why most Oktoberfest celebrations happen in September? There’s a reason! The first Oktoberfest happened in Germany in 1810 to commemorate the Bavarian crown prince’s wedding in mid-October. When they decided to make it an annual affair, they bumped it earlier to take advantage of nicer weather in September.
That makes sense for Bend, too. Our city’s annual Oktoberfest in downtown Bend is a two-day celebration from September 15-16. It features games, food, beer, cider, live music, and kids’ entertainment like bouncy houses and face painting.
Probably the most popular event is the annual Weiner Dog Races, which will have you in stitches as you watch each gaggle of short-legged, tongue-flopping canines scurry to the finish line. Get there early if you want a good spot for viewing.
My favorite aspect of Bend’s Oktoberfest is something termed “absurd games of skill.” There are prizes for yodeling, tricycle races, a costume contest, and bendhamerschlagen (a race to hammer a nail into a custom table). They’re all hilarious, and you can scope out the schedule right here.
GIVEAWAY!!! Want to win an Oktoberfest Family Prize Pack that includes two beer steins and tokens for free beer, plus a kiddie schwag set that includes vouchers for two free Kids Zone bracelets, two wooden Oktoberfest toys, and two chicken headbands? Comment on this post with your favorite thing about fall in Bend. We’ll choose a winner on Tuesday, September 12.
Bend Fall Festival October 6-8
Whether you require an extra dose of fall festivity, or you can’t make it to Oktoberfest, the annual First Interstate Bank Bend Fall Festival is a three-day affair that kicks off on Friday, October 6.
It’s similar to Oktoberfest with live music, abundant food, and plenty of things to do for kids. But this festival also features a Harvest Market, a Fine Artist Promenade, and the ever-popular pumpkin carving contest.
New this year is the Fall into Fashion area, which will highlight a carefully-selected group of creators, retailers, and reps for both clothing and accessories.
Check out the full schedule of events here.
Bend Farmers Market through October 11
There’s something a bit magical about the Bend Farmers Market this time of year.
Every Wednesday from May through mid-October, local vendors gather in Bend’s Mirror Pond Plaza above Drake Park to sell local veggies, fruits, jams, flowers, meats, soaps, baked goods, and so much more. There’s live music and much merriment, but the months of September and October have something a little different.
Maybe it’s the brightness of turning leaves and pumpkins propped up on hay bales. Maybe it’s the joy of bundling up in colorful scarves and new boots. Maybe it’s the knowledge that we only have a few weeks left to snag farm fresh goodies in this quaint, friendly market.
But it’s probably all of those things combined that make a September stroll through the Bend Farmers Market the perfect way to usher in the fall season.
More outdoor music
Full disclosure: Yes, there have been several outdoor concerts cancelled in the last week because of poor air quality resulting from forest fires raging across the Pacific Northwest. Sisters Folk Festival was called off for the first time in its 22 year history, and Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe had to reschedule its August 30 Pickin’ and Paddlin’ event to September 27.
But we have every reason to believe things will clear up and remaining outdoor events will go off without a hitch.
As of right now, Michael Franti is still scheduled to play the Les Schwab Amphitheater on Friday, September 8. Tickets are still available, and it should be an awesome evening of music with blissfully warm temps. They’re also hosting Modest Mouse on September 21, which should be another fabulous show.
The Athletic Club of Bend also has three shows coming up in their Clear Summer Nights concert series, with John Butler trio playing September 10, Phillip Phillips September 19, and the Shins playing September 26. Tickets are still available for all three shows.
Check out Tenth Month in October
For years, October has been a month jam-packed with independently organized events exploring art, culture, film, tech, and business. Last year, those events banded together to create a month-long celebration known as Tenth Month.
The entire month of October is dedicated to brave ideas and innovation in art, film, marketing, technology, and design. It includes some of my very favorite 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.
If you want to crank the dial on your own creativity, it’s a great month to plan a Bend vacation.