Combining majestic mountain vistas and an urban vibe, Bend, Oregon is a destination that offers something for every traveler. Winter sports enthusiasts will love the fact that the mountains surrounding Bend receive more than 30 ft of snowfall annually. Mt. Bachelor Ski & Snowboard Resort is a must for adventure seekers offering everything from sled dog rides to helicopter tours. If visitors are looking to cool their heels after a long day on the slopes, the city is home to a variety of acclaimed restaurants such as Spork, Pine Tavern, and Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails.
The OnPoint Oregon WinterFest has been a staple in the Bend community for nearly two decades, and it will take place February 16-18 in the Old Mill District. Attendees will encounter a winter themed extravaganza complete with live music, food, drinks, and activities for all ages. Oregon Winterfest will feature a variety of live music performances in the music chalet, presented by Oregrown, with headlining shows by Coolio and Hell’s Belles. Returning this year will be the popular 10 Barrel Rail Jam event, which features snowboarders performing rail tricks on 10 Barrel's Pray for Snowpop-up rail truck. The Whole Foods Wine Walk will lead participants on a tour of Old Mill District businesses, each serving unique wine curated by Whole Foods. Patrons can also watch various artists from Central Oregon carve ice sculptures out of a near 300 lb. block of ice. Those seeking athletic competition will love The Royal Run presented by ASCOCC which includes 5K and 10K runs through the community, plus a Hot Cocoa Run (as part of the Pacific Source Kid's Rock the Races Series) for the kids. If all the activities work up an appetite, a variety of local and regional food vendors will serve meals and snacks for any taste. The event benefits the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Oregon, and last year more than $11,000 was donated to the organization. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Event Coordinator, Kirsten Morrell, to learn about this can’t miss celebration of the season.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
KM: This year we celebrate our 19th year of the Oregon Winterfest.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
KM: Our event can see up to 35,000 people in attendance over the entirety of the weekend.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
KM: With an array of different attractions and activities Oregon Winterfest attracts all kinds of demographics. From the Whole Foods Wine Walk on Friday night to sculptures and fire pits, live music and great food attendees will have no trouble finding things to do.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
KM: All of the different activities over the weekend create an experience unlike anything around. They can move through the festival while shopping, eating, drinking, and enjoying time with their friends. The programming surrounding the event creates a place where you want to stay, hang out and make memories.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
KM: There are so many different activities throughout the weekend to enjoy. Friday features a Wine Walk, Procession of King & Queen, performances in the Oregrown Music Chalet including local favorite Larry and His Flask and headliner Hell’s Belle’s, an all-female AC/DC tribute band.
Saturday’s entertainment includes Amerititle Metal Mulisha, 10 Barrel Rail Jam, JD Platt’s K-9 Kings, Royal Run presented by ASCOCC, local favorite band Precious Byrd, and headliner Coolio.
Sunday will feature a similar line of performers to Saturday including Amerititle Metal Mulisha, 10 Barrel Rail Jam, and JD Platt’s K-9 Kings. You’ll also be able to enjoy the Pacific Source Hot Cocoa Run, and King & Queen photo opportunities.
Plus: Food vendors all weekend long, beverages, arts and crafts tents, a lifestyle tent, Ice Sculpture Competition, Fire Pit Competition, plus other fun things
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
Friday: Larry and His Flask and Hell’s Belles
Saturday: Precious Byrd and Coolio (yes, that Coolio)
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
KM: Amazing food vendors from around the region!
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
KM: There are tons of lodging options in Bend because we are a popular tourist destination, especially over OnPoint Oregon WinterFest weekend. There are several hotels located near the Old Mill District that are perfect for attendees.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
KM: This event draws thousands of people from out of town, which of course, helps the local economy. When our visitors are not at the event, they are shopping our local shops in the Old Mill District and Downtown Bend and supporting the community.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
KM: The OnPoint Oregon Winterfest is the proud benefactor of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Oregon (BBBSCO). Last year, we were able to donate close to $11,000 to the non-profit organization, and we are hoping this year to give even more. Part of the proceeds from the event go to BBBSCO, and attendees can also donate additional funds when they purchase their tickets.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
KM: The event is an experience in itself. With all the major activities we have to offer, attendees are bound to enjoy themselves. All who attend the event also help support the community, as well as support a great cause in the BBBSCO.
For more information about the OnPoint Oregon WinterFest, please visit the event website.