This weekend is one of my favorite Bend events: The Summer Festival. I don’t usually go downtown for the various events because in my opinion, they all start to seem the same. As I walk along the sidewalk, trying not to get my toes run over by strollers and finding a way to get around someone that stopped right in the middle of the path to take a look at some artwork or jewelry, I just get frustrated and annoyed. I never stay more than about 30 minutes. I realize I probably sound like a grinch because most people love this stuff.
The Summer Festival is entirely different in my opinion. Musical acts from all over the US come to Bend to perform so there’s a great variety of Jazz, Folk, Funk, Reggae, Rock, Big Band Swing, World, and other more “eclectic” genres. You can also enjoy great wines, beer, shopping, and dancing.
Downtown is roped off in different sections. If you’re into Jazz and sampling world class wines from Northwest Vintners, head to Minnesota Ave. If local beers are more your style, head to the Main Stage on Wall St. If you’ve got kids, there’s the always popular (even for adults) Working Wonders Fun Extravaganza in front of the Mirror Pond Gallery. The SOUK marketplace on Oregon Ave. features international shopping (furniture, clothing, jewelry) and World music. My favorite is the international stage, particulary the One World Taiko Japanese percussionists. I was (am?) a percussion player and totally appreciate these musicians. And last year, I had a hip-hop lesson from the Gotta Dance Studio. Yeah, it was a bunch of 10 year old girls and me but I had a lot of fun and thoroughly embarrassed my husband.
For more information about the Summer Festival events, visit the website: http://www.bendsummerfestival.com/default.aspx
July 9-13th is the Cascade Cycling Classic. This event attracts most of North America’s top cyclists and is the longest consecutively run elite stage race in the country. The endurance of these athletes blows me away. Last year my husband and I took the dogs to one of the lakes along the Cascade Lakes highway and then sat near the finish at Mt Bachelor. We watched the gruelling final climb near Sparks Lake of the Pro Men’s leg and it was incredible. My favorite event is the criterium downtown, which is on Friday evening. If you go, stake your claim on one of the corners so you can watch the cyclists go nearly horizontal as they lean into the turns. The wind created as they pass by literally blows your hair back. It’s really exciting. This year I’ll have a bird’s eye view because I’ll be watching from the Franklin Crossing building. Here’s the website for the race stages: http://www.mbsef.org/CascadeCyclingClassic/?page=stages
Other events this weekend include the Sisters Quilt Show, Dinner Canoe Under the Stars, Rhythm on the Range, Raft & Brew, Crooked River Dinner Train, and the Smith Rock 15K. Visit the COVA website for details: http://www.visitcentraloregon.com/calendar.html
I hope you can get out and enjoy these Central Oregon events. It’s why we live here, right?