Updated for 2020 Oregon Winterfest:
Hello Bend! Oregon Winterfest is this weekend and we are right in the middle of enjoying it! This is the biggest annual winter festival in Central Oregon and a welcome change after our long festival break since Fall Fest. The Oregon Winterfest kicks off on Friday evening with fun events and live music. Definitely colder at night, so be sure to bundle up! If you forget your gloves, you can snag a FREE pair (and other fun swag) at the OnPoint booth. The Hayden Homes booth will also help keep you warm with their FREE hot apple cider! Be sure to bring cash to support the local vendors, and this is the preferred method of payment for food, drinks and merchandise. Parking is usually a breeze over by the Army Recruiting Station, located at 108 NE Bend River Mall Dr.
Check out these COOL photos from Friday night:
Oregon Winterfest – Original Post, published Feb 15, 2016:
In a town loaded with festivals in the summer and fall, the Oregon Winterfest gave us a taste of what we’ve been missing here in Bend during the winter! Last year the Winterfest Kids Run gave us the chance to watch the kids race around to make the most creative cup of hot cocoa their imagination could dream up! The kids ran to the first station to get an OnPoint Community Credit Union cup. The next two stations had loads of goodies for the kids to add to their cup…chocolate & strawberry syrup, chocolate chips, marshmallows, and Oreo cookies!
Once the kids crossed the finish line, they headed to the last station to have their cup filled with hot cocoa! It was quite a tasty treat for all that hard work!
Then as we finished up lunch, the K9 Kings Flying Dogs Show got underway. It’s an adorable show and reminds me of something I might have seen on America’s Got Talent. This was an incredibly popular event, and the space was quite small, so I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the action. My kids were lucky enough to squeeze up to the front for prime viewing. There are multiple showtimes, so if one gets too full, you can get there early for the next one and get a spot upfront. Hopefully, this year there is more space to accommodate the bigger crowd.
After the dog show, we headed straight over to the Metal Mulisha area to get a prime spot for this fantastic stunt show. My son was stoked to see the action up close! It was also a major bonus when the guys rode by and gave the kids a high five as they passed.
After the shows, we hit up the bounce houses and the OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) Kids Science Tent. There were so many cool things to explore and do in the science tent! We could’ve spent hours here with all the interactive displays, puzzles, and hourly demonstrations and experiments! This year the OMSI Tent will be providing educational activities and brainteasers to stimulate growing brains.
Before leaving for the day, we enjoyed checking out the local vendors at the Marketplace…
Watching amazing Ice Carvings in the making…
And judging (although not officially) the Fire Pit creations…
And of course, there is always beer in Bend…
We then went home to drop the kids off and grab a quick bite to eat before heading back down to Winterfest to enjoy some live music. Both Friday & Saturday night offer live music with three bands throughout the night. Last year the stage was in a large tent, which was nice since it was cold and windy this weekend. And one of the best parts…you always run into friends when you are in Bend! I love living in a small town!
Here are a few tips: Purchase your tickets online before the event to avoid a long wait at the entrance. If you have a Mt Bachelor ski pass, it includes your admission to Winterfest. Just bring your pass and ID to claim your ticket. You exchange your ticket for a wristband at the entrance. If you plan to go on multiple days, remind your kids not to remove their wristband! The main entrance is on the other side of the bridge, coming from the Old Mill District, and it is very crowded with long lines coming in. There is another entrance off Shevlin-Hixon Rd. (which is closed during the event). There was no line at this entrance and brought you straight into the Marketplace. The live music scene was more of an adult thing. Not only is it late (except for the first band), but it is super loud, and there were not many kids there, so get a sitter for Winterfest after dark. If you are looking for an itinerary & cost, be sure to check out the Hello Bend Calendar for a link to the Winterfest event and many other events. Have some tips of your own you would like to share? Please leave a comment, and I will add it to the list! Thanks!
*photos courtesy of Oregon Winterfest website