The Bend Summer Festival is this weekend, hot on the heels of the holiday last weekend; SummerFest is one of my favorite (if not the favorite) Bend festivals, and this year they’re celebrating 20 years(!) of “Central Oregon’s signature artist event of the summer.”

The Bend Summer Festival draws artists and street performers from all over the Northwest. The event features a wide array of performing arts including dance, children’s activities, and the best regional and national jazz, blues, rock and international musicians. We are thrilled to share the music of The Samples, headlining the Clear 101.7 Mainstage this year. Todd Haaby and Sola Via will be headlining the Jazz Stage and Mosley Wotta on the Locals Stage. Every hour offers a transcendental music experience on each stage. The Saxon’s Fine Jeweler’s Sunday Gospel Brunch has become a ritual for many people to close the festival weekend. Great food and inspiring music in a beautiful outdoor setting make for a perfect Sunday.

This year there are over 150 artists from around the country are coming to showcase their work. The Pronghorn Jazz, Wine and Gourmet Foods area has a stellar line up of musicians performing with a street full of the best vintners and gourmet foodies in our region. Chef Juri Sbandati, local slow food hero and owner of Trattoria Sbandati, will anchor the vintner area and provide small plates and cheese tastings throughout the weekend. Pronghorn’s TOUR Academy, a division of the PGA TOUR companies, will be in the middle of Minnesota Avenue unveiling the latest in golf instructional technology and allowing golfers a complimentary swing analysis.

For kids, The True North Parenting Magazine Kids Block Party will keep the family busy and cool. Inflatables, arts, crafts and WATER games will be offered. From 6 – 8 p.m. Saturday night there is a Pajamy Jam! Kids can come to Mirror Pond plaza in their pj’s and dance, draw, jump and close the evening with a story before bedtime.

Keep in mind the music (on four separate stages) is all free, as are the kids’ activities; the food and drink will cost you some money, of course, and you may well buy something from one of the many vendors and artists that will be there.

The core of Downtown will be closed to traffic (here’s the map) starting sometime Friday evening, I believe.

SummerFest runs from 11am until 11pm Saturday (the 10th), and from 11am until 6pm Sunday.

Yes, I will be down there sometime on Saturday for sure.