Welcoming Spring with the Bend Spring Festival

Bend Spring Festival

If the beautiful weather we’re having this week hasn’t reminded you of Spring, well there’s the return of the NorthWest Crossing Bend Spring Festival taking place this weekend that should help finish the job. It’s taking place Friday the 8th, from 5 to 11pm, Saturday the 9th 11 to 11, and Sunday the 10th from 11 to 5pm.

The weekend will be full of live music on the main stage, a kids’ zone and stage with a ton of family-friendly activities, an Art and Wine Bop that “will feature festival artists, live music, and wine tasting inside participating NorthWest Crossing restaurants and retailers” on Friday from 5 to 9, street chalk art competition, and more. There will of course be plenty of food and drink to enjoy, as well as some of the usual seasonal fest accouterments like the “Gourmet Living” and “Conscious Living Showcase” sections.

It’s free of course (minus food and drink) and taking place all weekend long in NorthWest Crossing over on the west side. Here’s what they have for planned street closures:

Thursday 10pm: NW Crossing Drive from Mt Washington to Fort Clatsop
Friday 2pm: Fort Clatsop from Ordway to Tate and Tate back parking lot
Friday 10pm: NW Crossing Drive from Fort Clatsop to Compass Park Circle

And for parking:

Parking: High Lakes Elementary School, Merchant parking lots (Enter off Mt. Washington at High Lakes Loop or Ordway Avenue) or Summit High School. Street parking also available in the neighborhood. Please respect our residents, taking care not to block driveways. As always, we encourage alternative transportation whenever possible!

Enjoy if you go!

Skyliners IPA launch party at Silver Moon Brewing

Silver Moon Skyliners IPA

Beer and history! That’s what the Silver Moon-crafted Skyliners IPA represents, as they worked with the Deschutes Historical Museum to create a special-label beer to commemorate the history of Nordic skiing and the Skyliners in Central Oregon. And tonight is the launch party for the beer, being held at Silver Moon from 5 to 7pm; here are the details:

In honor of Winter Comes: Oregon’s Nordic Ski History, the newest exhibit at the Deschutes Historical Museum, Silver Moon Brewing has created Skyliners IPA. Silver Moon will donate $1 per pint of Skyliners IPA on tap to the museum through the month of April.

In addition, a special Skyliners’ IPA Bottle Launch party will be at Silver Moon Brew Pub, 24 NW Greenwood Avenue in Bend, Tuesday, April 5 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. to introduce the 22 oz. Skyliners IPA (Hop Nob). DHM is asking for a $10 donation per bottle or $110 per case.

The launch party will also feature vintage ski photos and rare footage of ski jumping off Pilot Butte in 1965. The Skyliners IPA and label is a tribute to the men and women of Bend’s first ski/mountaineering club. Founded in 1927, Skyliners introduced outdoor recreation to Central Oregon.

(Facebook event page is here as well.)

Should be an interesting party especially if you’re curious about Bend’s early winter outdoor history—and of course, who doesn’t like IPAs these days?

The Old Mill Marketplace is now known as the Box Factory

Old Mill Marketplace from Google Street View
Old Mill Marketplace, from Google Street View

You know the Old Mill Marketplace—the building/shopping complex on the western edge of the Old Mill District adjacent to Arizona Avenue, home to the Atlas Cider tasting room, the Longboard Store, WebCyclery, and others. (Apparently it is home to 32 businesses actually, many more than I realized, and is branded an “up and coming destination”.) Well, it is the “Old Mill Marketplace” no longer, as they have been renamed to the Box Factory, as the complex was originally known back during Bend’s mill era.

The rebranding coincides with the centennial of Bend’s two largest and best-known mills, the Shevlin-Hixon and Brooks-Scanlon, both established in 1916; and the industrial complex now known as the Box Factory was Brooks-Scanlon’s original box factory.

Here’s from the press release:

The Box Factory is a story of struggle, near-demise and in the end, historic preservation. In 2013, after years of challenges meeting compliance and safety standards, previous owners struggled to keep the 90,000 square-foot main building open and demolishment was eminent. In July 2013, Killian Pacific, a leader of innovative and thoughtful project developments in the Pacific Northwest, acquired the building and began taking steps toward a new vision for the property. The goal was to restore an architecture and history that reflects the very heart of the Mill Quarter.

Central to the significant budget spent in restoration work since Killian Pacific acquired the property has been resolving years of deferred maintenance and ensuring that the building is code compliant and safe to inhabit. Just as important to Killian Pacific has been keeping alive the historic charm and architectural features signature to early 20th century mill buildings. The original cupola, the focal point of the building for 100 years, has been meticulously maintained and continues to stand as the iconic mark of a mill building. The color of the buildings on the property, which were all repainted last summer, was carefully chosen to closely match the other mill buildings in the quarter. All of the original woodwork, arches and columns have also been preserved and the paint has been sandblasted to bring back the natural wood used in the original factory.

The Box Factory and its vintage industrial character now houses a forward-thinking collection of 32 locally owned businesses. From beer, cider and great eats, to photography, art and interior design, to yoga and innovative athletic performance and training, the Box Factory businesses were born in Bend and much like the factory workers who assembled boxes here 100 years ago, they are built on the sweat of hard work and a passion to make Bend an even better place to live and visit. Atlas Cider Company’s tasting room and Immersion Brewing (a brew-it-yourself pub and brewery opening in May) are both a nod to Bend’s well-known craft beer brewers and growing cider scene. The Brown Owl, once a wildly popular food cart in The Lot, has since outgrown its mobile space and moved its permanent home to the Box Factory. The family-friendly rustic pub with a full menu, bar and sundeck is expected to open mid-April.

It’s an interesting bit of history, and I’ve been watching that whole space renovate and fill out over the last couple of years (particularly with Atlas and now Immersion Brewing). One thing to keep in mind if you’re visiting, however, is the amount of construction going on in the immediate vicinity—from the new Market of Choice to the north, to the sewer line work on Arizona and Colorado Avenues, to the new hotel/retail space that will be going up right across the street to the south; so driving and parking might be a little crazy.

And then this:

Save the Date: The Box Factory presents Atlas Cider Company’s 3-Year Anniversary Celebration and Block Party June 3-4, 2016. Join the Box Factory in celebrating its Centennial and Atlas Cider’s anniversary with a carnival-style, family-friendly block party. There will be a giant ferris wheel, bouncy houses, food, drinks, as well as open houses of all of the Box Factory businesses. The event is free and open to the public.

…Giant Ferris wheel?

Sisters Saloon Grand Opening, Friday April 1

You may remember that the big yellow building in the center of downtown Sisters, the old Sisters Hotel, used to house Bronco Billy’s Grill & Saloon, which closed suddenly last summer. Well now it’s opening back up under a new name, Sisters Saloon, and they are celebrating their grand opening on Friday, April 1st. The Nugget News had an article the other day on the new owners and the work they’ve done to renovate the property, which sounds promising.

They’ll be opening up at 5pm and will have live music as well. Here are the details from the event page:

Don’t miss the biggest party of the year! Doors open and entertainment starts at 5:00. No cover charge. We’ll be seating for dinner until 11:00. The Saloon side will stay open until 1:00.

Reservations for our Grand Opening, April 1 are now being accepted only for the rooms upstairs and only for parties of 6 or more. We can accomodate parties of up to 30 in the banquet room (now called the rodeo room). All other guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis. If less than 6 are present at time of check-in, they’ll have to wait for a smaller table downstairs. For Grand Opening night only, we are reserving the rooms in set time-blocks: 5:00-6:30, 7:00-8:30, and 9:00-until as late as you want. We ask that for Grand Opening night, our guests dine in these set time blocks and then after dinner, join the party downstairs in the Saloon or Patio so that others can get a chance to dine on this special night.

We will be accepting reservations by phone: 541-549-RIBS. We look forward to serving you.

Sisters Saloon grand opening

Help support the Robotics FIRST Team 753’s trip to regionals

FIRST Team 753Update: I’ve added the official press release below.

The High Desert Droids, also known as FIRST Robotics Competition Team 753, is a team of high school-aged students that designs and builds a robot every year to participate in state- and national-level competitions. Here’s their “about us” description:

FIRST Robotics Team 753, known as the High Desert Droids, has been bringing engineering and science opportunities to our local youth since 2002. We are thrilled to have both home-schooled and traditional students from Mountain View, Bend High, Summit, Ridgeview, and Redmond Proficiency Academy as members of our team. The rival high schools collaborate to build one team robot that will compete with other groups from around the globe.

My kids joined the team this year, and it has been a great experience for them, not only learning the ins and outs of designing and building a robot and other engineering tasks as well as teamwork, fundraising, organizational skills, and more, but also because this year (for the first time in a number of years) the team has performed so well at the two tournaments they went to that they are most likely going to be invited to attend the PNW regional competition in Portland (taking place April 6-9)!

The team is supported by the school (Mountain View High School, where they are based) but also by sponsorships and donations. The current budget allowed for the two competition tournaments they attended, but they need to do additional fundraising to help support this trip to Portland. (There is a national level competition in St. Louis two weeks after Portland—but one thing at a time!)

It’s a good cause for a great group of kids, and it’s pretty amazing to watch these robot competitions. Over this past weekend Zolo Media posted a story about them, and you can view an actual match from the weekend on YouTube:

(They are robot 753.)

If you’re interested in sponsoring the team as an individual or business, fill out the sponsorship form here. If you’d rather donate directly, you can send checks payable to “MVHS Robotics” to:

Mountain View High School
Attn: Robotics Team
2755 NE 27th St.
Bend, OR 97701

If you can donate that would be awesome; if you can’t, pass the word along and let’s see if we can get some money raised for the team!

The official press release:

Local high school robotics team High Desert Droids has earned a berth at the upcoming FIRST Robotics Competition PNW Championship tournament, April 6-9th in Portland, OR. Eligibility to compete at this event was based on their performance at qualifying tournaments held in Wilsonville, OR and Philomath, OR earlier this spring.

The team is also a bright prospect to qualify to compete at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, MO in late April. Their performance at the District Championship event will determine eligibility to compete at “Worlds”.

The High Desert Droids’ robot, “τ=Iα” (pronounced, “Tia”), was designed, built, and programmed over the course of six weeks this winter to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition game, “FIRST Stronghold”. The robot is capable of scoring balls into a goal as well as crossing medieval-themed barriers including a drawbridge, portcullis, and a (dry) moat.

The team is seeking community support for travel to the tournament in Portland. If you wish to support fundraising efforts, please visit the teams website, http://www.team753.com for more information.

Season Highlights

Wilsonville Tournament: Ranked 13th after qualifying matches, first pick for 6th seed finals alliance, Quarter-finalists, and winner of the Xerox Creativity Award (given to acknowledge the team’s unique approach to robot design and game play).

Philomath Tournament: Ranked 6th after qualifying matches, 5th seed finals alliance captain, Semi-finalists (upset the 4th seed alliance in the Quarter-finals), and winner of the Judges Award (a discretionary award, which was given to acknowledge the team’s commitment to sharing their passion for STEM with the youth of Central Oregon). Highlights of the event can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdw6SOZ_CUw

Currently the High Desert Droids are ranked 26th in the Pacific Northwest District.

Who Are We? Seven-Five-Three!

FIRST Team 753 (High Desert Droids) is a student–driven team of bright individuals drawn together by a passion for working as a team, building robots, and fostering excitement in science and technology through FIRST. Formed in 2002, the team is based out of Mountain View High School and is comprised of students ages 14 and older from across Central Oregon.

About the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC)

“The varsity Sport for the Mind,” FRC combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Under strict rules, limited resources, and time limits, teams are challenged to raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills, and build and program robots to perform prescribed tasks against a field of competitors. It’s as close to “real-world engineering” as a student can get. Volunteer and professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. For more information, visit the FIRST website (http://www.usfirst.org/).

Weekend beer happenings

Hey, we can start the weekend on Thursday, right? Because Crux has something going on today and it’s still spring break! Here’s a rundown of beery things going on around the area today and this weekend.

Crux Fermentation Project has a new addition to their patio they’re excited to share with everyone: a 20-foot used storage container that they’ve converted into an outdoor bar with 20 taps of beer! So today (Thurdsay) from 4 to 8pm they are holding an Open “Container” Celebration on the patio with fun stuff going on:

  • 5-8PM: Live music by Greg Botsford
  • 4-6PM: Wear Crux Gear (hats, shirts, etc.) and spin the Crux Wheel for cool prizes
  • 6:30PM: Group photo of all attendees to commemorate the event

Then on Friday, McMenamins has the latest in their quarterly O’Kane’s Garage Series beer tasting going on, where brewer Mike “Curly” White recreates old, iconic McMenamins beer recipes. Starting at 5pm, “Pole Ax” which is described as: “It was created in 1997 by Chris Oslin and had every intention of being the bigger, bolder version of Hammerhead. Large malt tones of sweetness chop their way through your tongue, while all of the Cascade Hop additions swing at you with mild floral and citrus backings.”

Also on Friday, Craft Kitchen and Brewery is holding the release party of their Pond Monkey Pale Ale starting at 6pm, offering up free samples and giveaways. The beer itself is 5.5% alcohol by volume and described as: “A hop forward pale ale balanced with malty and bittersweet notes of caramel and toffee. Resinous Simcoe hops linger through the finish.”

On Saturday, the Eastside Growler Guys is hosting a meet the brewer and beer tasting with Fort George Brewery out of Astoria from 4 to 7pm, and they say, “Fort George Brewery will be stopping by The Growler Guys – Bend Eastside to show off their great beer. Come by for fun games, free swag giveaways, and Growler Guys pizza!”

Over at Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters, all weekend long starting on Friday they are holding a “Brew Madness” (salute to March Madness) where you get to vote on your favorite Three Creeks brew: “Each of our brewers & Wade will represent a TCBC Beer style. Swing into the pub, order a taster tray and cast your vote. Watch the votes roll in and see whose bobble head ends where. ALL VOTERS will be entered for a chance to WIN TCBC SWAG.” Be sure to go drink and vote!

Raganelli’s Pizza, from Tumalo to Bend

Are you familiar with Raganelli’s Pizza? They’ve actually been in Central Oregon for 5+ years but only recently (mid-February) moved to the east side of Bend, over on Bellevue Drive (near Worthy Brewing and Cuppa Yo). They were originally located in Tumalo, and I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of them before moving to Bend.

Raganelli's Pizza

Friday night my wife and I stopped in to try the pizza, and I was impressed overall. It’s a small space, befitting the small strip mall/takeout vibe that the area exudes, but they do have three tables and a small counter to sit at if you want to eat in. They have 8 or 10 beers and cider on tap, all good and mostly local selections, as well as a small cooler selection of to go bottles (plus you can fill a growler). While we were there I think more people came in to order (or pick up) pizza to go.

The menu offers up pizzas, sandwiches, and salad, and the pizza we ordered (half Chicken Bacon Ranch, half Barbecued Chicken) was pretty good—except we forgot to hold the jalapenos on the BBQ Chicken so it was hot, even after picking them off. (This past season’s crop of jalapeno peppers is just intensely hot and spicy!) The service was very good also.

It’s definitely oriented to be more of a take-out place, and likely next time we get pizza there it will be to go, though I will say I thought it was a neat little space with a cool feel to it, and I’d be happy to enjoy a beer while waiting for pizza.

Raganelli’s is definitely worth a look, especially if you live over on the east side.

547 NE Bellevue Drive #107
Bend, OR 97701
(541) 647-2343