There is no better way to welcome fall with your crew than by attending Central Oregon's family-friendly happenings. With COVID restrictions finally lifted, we are seeing some of our favorite annual (and new) events show up on the region's calendar again. With the tourist crowds thinning a bit, this is the time for venturing out with the whole family! The following are our picks for "must hits."
- Brian Becker
Art in the West at the High Desert Museum:
Jul. 20-Oct. 16
As if any family living in Central Oregon needs another reason to head to the High Desert Museum! On July 20, a new exhibit opened. Art in the West is an annual juried exhibition and silent auction that features both traditional and contemporary art celebrating the landscapes, wildlife, people, cultures and history of the High Desert. Wind through the exhibit where you might just find and fall in love with a piece of art you want to bid on. After you've taken in the new exhibit, let the kids hit all their favorite spots at the museum where they can get their wiggles out. Bonus: Proceeds from the Art in the West auction help support the Museum's educational programs, bringing science, art and history education to lifelong learners throughout the region. Learn more about Art in the West at highdesertmuseum.org.
Family Fun Float:
Located at the Sunriver Marina, this is a family event you don't want to miss. Families will be shuttled to Harper Bridge and launch in a 12-foot raft that can hold two to six people. Experience a beautiful one-and-a-half-hour float back to the Marina where you will enjoy s'mores, games and musical entertainment. Find out more at sunriverresort.com.
Sisters Fall Street Festival:
The Sisters Fall Festival takes over the streets of downtown Sisters mid-September! Now in its 14th year, the Sisters Fall Street Festival celebrates the new season with local arts & crafts, delicious food, craft beer and live entertainment the whole family will love. With an abundance of artisans featuring handmade glassware, jewelry, tie-dyed clothing, wildlife artwork and more, there's plenty of shopping and perusing to do. This festival gives your family the opportunity to spend a day taking in the historic town of Sisters while shopping, listening to music and enjoying incredible bites and brews. Get all the info at centraloregonshows.com.
16th Annual Bend Oktoberfest:
- Who doesn’t love the weiner dog races at Bend Oktoberfest?
This family favorite has a little bit of something fun for everyone. From the famous wiener dog races to the quirky competitions and plenty of shopping and drinking opportunities, this is one of the most entertaining fall festivals a family could hope for. Get ready to witness feats of strength, drink specially crafted beer and enjoy watching kids laugh and play. Opening day ceremonies take place on Sept. 18 and include the mayor of Bend tapping the first keg. The final day celebration includes live music, a yodeling contest, a chicken dance contest, live music and more! Located in Downtown Bend, you can find more information at bendoktoberfest.com.
Bend Fall Festival:
- Brian Becker
- All runners receive a pumpkin at the Kid’s Harvest Run at Bend Fall Festival!
Mark your calendars for the mother of all fall festivals! Bend Fall Festival is back and better than ever. Here is the good news: this seasonal celebration includes a Family Play Zone that even parents will enjoy. Think bouncy houses, pumpkin painting, face painting, balloon animals and tons of family-friendly vendors. And that is just the Play Zone! The festival brings all the best that Bend has to offer. There is a fine artist promenade, the gourmet food and wine street and a new section called The Soul Collective, featuring unique items from all over the world. For the fitness-loving family, you will want to sign up your young runner for the Kid's Harvest Run where each young participant receives a pumpkin to bring back to the Play Zone. Found out more about this fabulous event at bendfallfestival.com.
Central Oregon Cosplay Convention:
Get your Anime fanatics ready for the time of their life. The Central Oregon Cosplay Convention, or Central Oregon CosCon for short, is coming and it's only a one-day event located at Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. This inclusive, family-friendly, fan-based cosplay convention welcomes all sorts of genres from anime and comic books to podcasts and TV shows. Get ready to dress up and have some serious fun. All the details can be found at centraloregoncoscon.com.