Visiting Bend this summer? It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer here in Central Oregon and Bend, that means it’s time to start planning for summer tours, events and festivals from Bend to Sisters and back in 2018. Here are some of our favorites after you have explored our region on foot, by Cyclepub, or even by helicopter over the snow-capped Cascades. Let’s play!
Summer Festivals Across Central Oregon and Bend 2018
Balloons Over Bend: This grand hot-air balloon festival takes over the city of Bend from July 27-29 with daily balloon launches, two Night Glow events and a kids festival with activities and bouncy houses. Ticket prices vary; funds go to the Saving Grace program. balloonsoverbend.com
The Newberry Event – Music & Arts Festival: This fundraising festival, July 27-29 in La Pine, raises funds to combat multiple sclerosis. Dance and enjoy rock, blues, jazz, reggae, folk and bluegrass music, plus food, wine and local brews. Camping avaiilable. Three-day adult pass is $100, teens are $40, under 13 free. www.newberryevent.co
Bend Brewfest: Beer lovers flock to Bend’s Les Schwab Amphitheater each summer for this big brewfest, which benefits local non-profit organizations. Check out the festival’s X-Tap, where special and experimental small-production beers are tapped each day, as well as brewmaster meet-and-greets in the Brewtality Tent. This year’s fest runs Aug. 16-18. Admission is free; a tasting mug is $20 and includes five tasting tokens. Bendbrewfest.com
Sunriver Art Fair: This year’s fair, Aug. 10-12, features more than 70 artist booths exhibiting art in 11 different media. While browsing the artist booths at Sunriver, enjoy jazz, country, classic rock and swing music. www.sunriverartfair.com
Concerts by the Deschutes: The riverside Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend’s Old Mill District offers concerts all summer long, with headliners such as Steve Martin and Martin Short, Sheryl Crow, the Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton, plus a three-day Bend Brewfest Aug. 16-18. Prices vary. Find details at www.bendconcerts.com.
Sisters Rodeo: Attractions at the self-styled “biggest little show in the world” on June 8-10 include a bull-riding event known as Xtreme Bulls, as well as roping, riding and barrel racing. Tickets for the 78th annual rodeo are $12 and up; many events offer free admission for kids under 12. www.sistersrodeo.com
High Desert Rhubarb Festival: Oregon’s only Rhubarb Festival will be June 9 in La Pine. Enjoy rhubarb-laced treats from cakes to ribs, plus locally home-brewed rhubarb beer and wine for tasting. https://bit.ly/2vqhzT2
Bite of Bend: Sample your way through the Northwest’s food and spirits scene at this weekend-long gastronomic event, June 15-17, which includes a “Top Chef” competition, mixology and bartenders brawl, food booths and live music. There’s a 5K Beer Run ($20-$30) and a Root Beer Run ($5) for kids, as well. Biteofbend.com
4 Peaks Music Festival: Bend’s multi-day music festival, June 21-24, features an eclectic mix of national, regional and local bands. Headlining the 4-day event are Michigan jamgrass favorites Greensky Bluegrass and world music collective Nahko and Medicine for the People. Also: a silent disco, morning yoga and family fun in Kidlandia. Tickets: $200. 4peaksmusic.com
Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: More than 10,000 visitors will descend on this tiny town on July 14 for the annual quilt show, which showcases more than 1,300 quilts from around the world, plus master classes and workshops. Sistersoutdoorquiltshow.org
Bend Summer Festival: This festival is Central Oregon’s longest running arts festival. The festival spans seven city blocks in the heart of downtown Bend July 13-15 with three music stages, a gourmet food and wine street, fine artists promenade and more. bendsummerfestival.com
The Little Woody: This Bend festival devoted to barrel-aged beer, cider and whiskey runs Aug. 31-Sept. 1 with tastings of small-batch American rye whiskeys and bourbons, plus live music and local food vendors. It’s $15 to get in the door; $20 for a glass and eight tasting tokens. Thelittlewoody.com
Sisters Folk Festival: A three-day celebration of roots music, this festival features Americana, bluegrass and blues musicians performing on 11 stages spread across town. Weekend passes to the Sept. 7-9 event are $150 for adults, $50 for kids ages 6-18. sistersfolkfestival.org