We know: another events list. There’s so much going on in and around Bend that it can all start to go in one ear and out the other. This weekend, most likely you’ll find yourself reaching for a microbrew again, just like the weekend before that, or maybe a toke or few of the area’s finest (check out our guide to the Best and Worst Neighborhoods for Cannabis in Eugene and Bend).
We won’t dispute the joys of these and life’s other simple pleasures, but we’ve nonetheless gone to the effort to compile a list of all the events that will really, actually, truly enrich your life in the coming months of ever sunnier skies, more swimmable waters, and increasing concentrations of tourists.
And there may be beer involved as well. This is Bend, after all.
Civil War Reenactment : May 19 and 20
Okay, this is probably not what you were expecting to see in our list of Bend events. And technically, this even isn’t even a Bend event: you’ll have to drive west to Camp Sherman, a cozy resort community on the Metolius River. But how could you pass up a Civil War reenactment? And this, the Northwest Civil War Council’s annual show, is one of the finest anywhere in the country.
Over 200 reenactors will stage mock battles both May 19 and 20 between 11am and 3pm both days. And while the battles are mock, the muskets and cannons will be real, shooting actual clouds of black powder toward opposing soldiers. This is as close as you’ll get to an actual Civil War battlefield, assuming time machines aren’t invented within our lifetimes.
Show up early or stick around after the firefight to stroll through five acres of living history, with campsites, engineering projects, shops, and even demonstrations of mid-19th century dental and medical technology. If you’re a history or military buff or want to show your kids a vivid slice of America’s past, this is the event for you.
Dog Day in May : May 27
Bend and dogs go together like beer and burgers (beer and burgers obviously go with Bend pretty well too). Now-defunct Dog Fancy Magazine even named Bend America’s dog-friendliest city in 2012. So it’s safe to say that area dogs enjoy plenty of prestige already. Nonetheless, it makes sense to devote at least one day of your calendar to your canine companion or companions.
Dog Day in May, held at Sunriver Village south of town, has you covered. Start at 10am with the Bark of Life 5k Poker Walk/Run, a benefit for the American Cancer Society. Run or walk with your dog, collecting poker cards at checkpoints. Prizes are available for both best and worst hand!
Back at the Village, enter your dog into the Dog Day amateur talent contest. A variety of vendors will offer various canine products and services to make your dog shine. Don’t have a dog? Don’t just admire everyone else’s: adopt one! The Humane Society of Central Oregon will be on site, with a sampling of just a few of the area’s dogs in need of a loving home.
Bend Beer Chase : June 2
Bend isn’t the only place in the world where there are beer runs. But still, there’s something about the combination of good times and strenuous outdoor activity that is quintessentially Bend. Don’t believe us? There’s another beer run just two weeks later (see below.)
This particular beer run is a relay race, meaning there’s an element of teamwork involved. You and up to five of your friends join forces to run to Redmond, Sisters, and back into Bend. Less friends means more running: the race is divided into 12 legs, shared equally among your team members. Each leg is 4-8 miles long, meaning that however you divide the pie, you and your buddies are in for some serious running.
More of a beer drinker than a runner? Don’t sweat it: you’re welcome to opt out of the relay and simply join in for the Keg Leg grand finale. Runners follow a course with stops at 7 Bend breweries along the way. At each brewery, runners have the option of enjoying a 3-4 oz sample beer. Having crossed the finish line, there won’t be too much time to bask in the glory, though. There’s still a party to be had at Crow’s Feet Commons Brewery.
Click here for more info and registration.
Jethro Tull 50th Anniversary Tour : June 8
For some reason, classic rock enthusiasts and detractors alike love to bag on Jethro Tull. Maybe it’s the flute solos, medieval mystique and codpieces, or maybe it’s the questionable lyrics about “sitting on a park bench…” We’re not sure. But one thing is certain: this is going to be a rocking occasion at one of the Northwest’s premier outdoor concert venues. And it’s the 50th anniversary of Jethro Tull. This is something to be celebrated, even if that number maybe makes you feel a little old, or a lot young.
Expect a full sampler platter of songs, from the band’s 1968 debut album “This Was” all the way up to 2012’s “TAAB2”. Casual fans needn’t be concerned, though: the band is sure to play plenty of the hits. Frontman Ian Anderson will be joined by the Tull’s current touring band, along with some surprise guests. Don’t miss it!
Tickets and more info here.
Best of Both Dual Discipline Bike Race : June 16
In addition to fun athletic events like beer runs, Bend is also home to plenty of serious world-class athletic competition. Cycling and mountain biking are both huge around here. So, it’s only proper that Bend would be home to the world’s first combined road cycle and mountain bike race.
Amateurs and pros alike are welcome in this ORBA-sanctioned race. Both compete at separate times on the same course, with 62 miles on the road followed by 23 miles on singletrack. Don’t want to go it alone? Pass the baton after the road race and let your partner complete the mountain bike section in the Relay Race or bike side by side in the Couples Race. Mind you, your Couples Race counterpart needn’t be a romantic partner: children, colleagues and frenemies are equally welcome.
And yes, there will be beer. That would make a great motto for Bend: “Bend–There will be beer.” In this case, head down to sponsor 10 Barrel Brewing afterward for the awards ceremony and a pint, or two, or three.
Click here for event details and registration.
Bite of Bend and Bite of Bend Beer Run : June 17-22
When the Bite of Bend rolls around, you may still be recovering from the Bend Beer Chase (see above). But whether you join June 17’s 5k Beer Run or not, Bite of Bend is a culinary and cultural extravaganza.
The festivities kick off with some serious oomph June 16 and 17 when top area chefs will vie for the Top Chef Bend crown downtown. Organizers will offer chefs a mystery ingredient that they must assemble into an unforgettable meal within an hour. Will 2017 champion George Morris from Bos Taurus retain his crown? Come find out.
Bite Week, beginning the 18th and continuing through the 22nd, features four days of chefs’ dinners, cooking demonstrations, classes, and cocktail experiences. The streets of Downtown Bend transform into a festival-like scene, with live music, a Conscious Living Showcase, and a marketplace with local products and services.
Check out the event website for further inspiration and more info as the big date approaches.