Every fall, organizers of Ignite Bend can be expected to start the event with a couple of jokes about the surprising number of people who are gathered there to watch PowerPoint presentations. With a beginning like that, it's a wonder anyone comes at all—but Ignite is far more than the sum of its parts.
Ignite Bend is an annual event at the Tower Theater in which Central Oregon speakers are allowed five minutes and 20 rotating PowerPoint slides to get the audience excited about a topic. Options for speeches are unlimited. Interested in beekeeping? You have five minutes to get the crowd buzzing. Enthralled by aircraft flight? Five minutes are yours to beguile the rest of Bend. Attendees have been known to leave an Ignite night captivated by something as obscure as the Fibonacci sequence—all because of five unexpected minutes. Anyone can submit a proposal to speak, and online voting is available to let others decide what they want to hear.
In the end though, the event isn't about the topics; it's about the people. Ignite Bend was made to unite people with passion and spark conversations about things that might not have come up on their own. It's meant to do just what it says: ignite.