Music, Merriment Found at Bend Summer Festival
Jul 06,2006 00:00 by K_Guice

Looking for a bebopping good time?  Check out the 16th annual Bend Summer Festival hosted by the Bend Downtowners Association and put on by C3 Events.

The event kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday and runs until 10 p.m. and continues on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“The idea of the summer festival is for Bend to get out, stretch their legs during the warmer weather and enjoy downtown,” said Chuck Arnold, the director of the Bend Downtowners Association. The best part, it is free open to the public.

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“Bend Summer Festival is about bringing community together,” said Jen Peterson, event coordinator for C3 Events.  “It’s about creating an environment to have fun, talk, eat and get together.”

Head over to Minnesota Street for the latest addition to the festival, Jazz and Wine presented by Vino Mercato.  Stroll down the street and sample fabulous cheeses by Tumalo farms and partake of local and regional wines by Maragas, Volcano Winery and Vino Mercato.

The rich tastes will be enhanced by the jazz stylings of Rich Hurdle and Crescent Jazz, Dillon Schneider, Lori Fletcher, Jim Cajacob, Groove Merchants and Ramsey Embick. 

If dancing a jig sounds like more fun, head over to the McMurray & Sons Dance Stage.  There audiences will see performances by local and out-of-town dance troupes and have the chance to learn a bit of what they do.

“This is truly a family affair,” said Peterson.  There will be an area set up just for the kids in the crowd.  “It’s being put on by the Working Wonders Children’s Museum,” Peterson said. 

“They are going to have art and hands-on activities.  They are also going to have inflatable toys like bouncy houses.”  The children’s area is located at the Mirror Pond Parking Lot near Franklin.

 “There are a variety of music, vendors and a sampling of flavors that central Oregon has to offer,” said Arnold.  On the Clear 101.7 main stage the festival will showcase music from the California Guitar Trio, Marcus Eaton, Taarka, DJ Logic, among others.

For those looking for a little piece of heaven on Sunday, check out the Saxon’s Summerfest Gospel N’ Brunch, R&B Showcase.  Cameron Clark of C3 Events visited a jazz festival in Hollywood, California with Ron Henderson, owner of Saxon’s Fine Jewelers.  There the pair stumbled upon a bit of inspiration.

The House of Blues featured a Sunday brunch that included the soulful sounds of gospel performers. “It was awe inspiring,” Clark said. So, he decided to bring a similar event to Bend and the Saxon’s Summerfest Gospel N’ Brunch was born. 

The R&B Showcase will feature performances by African Gospel Acappella from 11 a.m. to noon.  The gospel quartet, Witherspoon from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and Portland's renowned Linda Hornbuckle will round out the day’s performances from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on the main stage.

A brunch buffet will be provided by Breck Morgan Catering from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday.  “Gospel is an art form,” said Clark. “We’re hoping that the church community will see this and after church on Sunday, will come down for brunch and to enjoy some gospel music.”

Among the marvelous music, good eats and family treats, Peterson says patrons will find 170 art vendors from all over the world.  “There is something for everyone,” she said.

“Really our goal is to share downtown with everybody,” Arnold said.  “Downtowns like these are dying off everywhere,” he added.

However, he says Bend’s downtown has been thriving without losing its charm.  Arnold adds, “Downtown Bend is very friendly and easy to navigate.  It has great people, stores, uncommon shops and we like to show it off and share it with people.”

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