Hello Bend…Fall is officially in the air, and I sure am happy about that after last week’s winter blast. Now that the snow in September is behind us, my family is ready to get back to the proper season and celebrate autumnal bliss. The perfect way to kick-off this glorious change of seasons is the Bend Fall Festival in downtown Bend!
Here you will find pumpkin painting, gourmet food and wine, the Harvest Market, upscale craft vendors, Family Play Zone, live music and more! The Bend Fall Festival runs Friday (5-10pm, music only), Saturday (11am-10pm) and Sunday (11am-5pm). For those of you that are new to Central Oregon, one huge advantage to the festivals and events that take place during our “shoulder season”, is that they are less crowded than the summer events, which are often packed with out of town visitors. At the Bend Fall Festival, you will find a much more manageable crowd, shorter lines and more of a local vibe.
There are many different ways your visit to the Bend Fall Festival can play out. Bring the kiddos to the Family Play Zone to get the energy out at the bounce houses, paint a pumpkin to take home and display with your other Halloween decorations or try your hand at one of the many intriguing games.
My husband and I will often make a date night out of it and have dinner out then head over to the Bend Fall Festival main stage and take in the live music. Often times, we will get a big group together to enjoy the music and just grab a bite to eat and a drink from one of the many (and oh so yummy) vendors and food carts. For those with a more distinguished palette, be sure to take a stroll down the Gourmet Food & Wine Street.
Friday night will be hopping as it’s also First Friday, so the stores will be filled with local art/artists with many out admiring their work. For this reason, the restaurants may be a bit more difficult to get into, so be sure to make a reservation or go early. A couple other tips I’ve learned throughout the years: Even on the sunniest of days, it gets VERY COLD in the shadow of the buildings so be sure to layer up, hats and gloves are a must in the evening, bring your hydro bottle for your drink to keep your hands from freezing and minimizes spills, the kids LOVE to bounce so just go ahead and splurge on the unlimited bouncing pass…it’s great exercise too!
I have one burning question that has had me puzzled since our first Fall in Bend, and if anyone could possibly shed some light on it, I would be so appreciative. Why on earth is the Bend Fall Festival in October and the Bend Oktoberfest around the first weekend of Fall in September? At first, I thought they had the Oktoberfest in September due to the weather, but that theory went out the window when the Bend Fall Festival rolled around a couple weeks later, so I am absolutely clueless. Oktoberfest in September, what gives Bend?