Winter-Themed Festival: Oregon WinterFest’s 19th Anniversary

Above: A fire sculpture made by sculpture artist Ivan McLean titled Trogdor. When showing his sculpture at Winter Fest, he let attendees press the fire button. McLean showed his work two years ago at Winter Fest as well. (Photo by Katya Agatucci | The Broadside - Contact:

By Katya Agatucci | The Broadside (Contact:

From a fire-pit competition with a flame-breathing dragon sculpture, 600-pound blocks of ice being carved, and adventure obstacle courses, Oregon WinterFest returned for its 19th year.

An all-age festival in our own backyard and the largest winter celebration in Oregon hit the Old Mill District for President’s Day weekend. “[It gave] out-of-towners the opportunity to travel and enjoy this fun event, as well as everything else Bend has to offer,” said Kirsten Morrell, event coordinator.

Jamie Sweetman [left] and Dan Butters [right], served dumplings at the Dump City Dumpling stand at WinterFest. The stand serves Chinese-style bun dumplings in different flavors, inspired by cultures all over the world.
“Oregon WinterFest began as an event to bring the community together in the winter months where our beautiful town of Bend, Oregon tends to shine its brightest. It was meant to celebrate the winter, bring people together, and have a great time,” Morrell said.

From Feb. 16 through 18, the three-day festival offered live music, food, and plenty of vendors.

Above: Many of the food vendors at Winter Fest, including The Jerk Kings, Dump City Dumplings, Parilla Grill and many more. There was also a marketplace with even more arts and crafts, specialty foods, sporting goods and fashion vendors.

Vendors and artists had to apply to be included. “We want to make sure that we are bringing the best of the best vendors and artists to our events,” Morrell said. “For example, our vendor representative and creative genius behind the Fire Pit Competition evaluates applications as well as searches out sculptors to include in our events.”

For those who have been praying for snow in Central Oregon, 10 Barrel Brewing actually brought snow to the festival’s 2018 Rail Jam. The locally founded company brings in a pop-up rail-jam truck, which allows snowboarders and skiers to shred the snow.

The Music Chatlet, sponsored by Oregrown, offered two nights of live music Feb. 16 and Feb 17., from Larry and His Flask to Precious Byrd and Coolio.

Whole Foods Bend sponsored a Wine Walk through Bend’s Old Mill District for guests to “sip and stroll.” Vendors locally and regionally gathered in the Gourmet Food and Lifestyle tent that was sponsored by Elite Medi Spa to sample wines, gourmet snacks, and lifestyle vendors and their products.

Activities included the Metal Mulisha performing stunts and watching various breeds of dogs perform their acrobatic tricks for crowds.

The title sponsor this year for the event was OnPoint Community Credit Union, and the festival had more than 20 other sponsors, according to Morrell.

This year’s attendees beat cabin fever despite a lack of snow, and found enjoyment in a range of activities that appealed to just about anyone. ■


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