With origins dating back to the early 20th Century as a quiet lumber producing town, Bend, Oregon is considered “The Outdoor Playground of the West” due to its beautiful vistas and a vast selection of outdoor activities. The Deschutes River offers travelers a spectrum of exciting outdoor activities ranging from rafting on Class III white-water rapids to stand-up paddleboarding on calm water. Those looking for activities on dry land will love the city’s cutting-edge Urban Trail System, which features 51 miles of in-town trails. Aside from being an outdoor lover’s nirvana, the city is also a hub for cultural attractions. Some can’t-miss options include the High Desert Museum, Deschutes Historical Museum, and a variety of art galleries in downtown.
The Bend Summer Festival has been a go-to summer kickoff event for thousands of locals and visitors alike for nearly three decades, and it will take place July 13-15 in Downtown Bend. This family-friendly spectacular comes complete with live music, gourmet wine and food area, a vendor marketplace packed with unique items, fun family activities, artist area, and more. Local and national performing acts including Grand Royale, The Holdup, and King Louie and the LaRhonda Steele will perform live throughout the event on three stages. The Gourmet Jazz, Food, and Wine Street (Minnesota Avenue) offers patrons the chance to enjoy gourmet food and wine from across the Pacific Northwest, along with world-class jazz performances. At The Souk (vendor marketplace), attendees can purchase products and handmade items from all over the world. Those attending with young children will love the Family Fun Street, which includes a Pop-Up Museum with entertaining and inspiring activities at no charge. Patrons in search of food and refreshment will find a variety of vendors in the Food Promenade, as well as a selection of wines, beers, and spirits from local producers. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Event Coordinator, Kirsten Morrell, to learn more about this unique early summer celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
KM: This is the 28th year of the Bend Summer Festival!
RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?
KM: This is a free community event, so it’s hard to gauge precisely how many people attend, but I would say that we can easily attract close to 30,000 visitors over the entire weekend.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
KM: We attract all kinds of demographics!
RAL: What makes this event unique?
KM: The Bend Summer Festival is unique because we offer more than a street faire or food festival. There are three stages with live music, a gourmet food and wine area, fine artists, a local business showcase, family fun area, performances by local talent, and so much more.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
KM: There will be great food, live music ranging from local to regional talent, shopping, educational booths, family fun activities, and more.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
KM: Yes, there is an excellent selection of performing acts including The Holdup on Saturday night.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
KM: The food court offers a variety of tasty options for almost every taste.
RAL: What is the overall atmosphere like?
KM: It’s a fun and festive summer celebration!
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
KM: There are some outstanding places to stay close to Downtown Bend like the Doubletree by Hilton, The Oxford Hotel, and more.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
KM: This event happens at the peak of our tourist season, allowing locals and tourists to join in on a fantastic community event celebrating the summertime in our town.
RAL: Does the event drive business to your local economy?
KM: Absolutely! Our attendees purchase lodging, food, and more from businesses all over the community.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
KM: Our beneficiary for this event is NeighborImpact, and they will be doing food drives as well as other things to support their non-profit programs.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
KM: Between the great food, live music, shopping and overall experience, there is something enjoyable for all walks of life.
For more information about the Bend Summer Festival, please visit the event website.