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More Fairs Than You Can Shake a Hot Dog on a Stick At 

Regional fairs and arts events keep summer busy

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Erin Rook

June 20

Central Oregon Pride 2015

Bend isn't topping any lists of "Gayest Cities" anytime soon, but the small community of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender folks and their friends pools its time, energy, and resources to create a vibrant annual Pride celebration, complete with popular local and regional musical acts, vendors selling all things rainbow, and community organizations out to show their support. This year, the celebration is sprinkled throughout the month, with a variety of events for all ages and inclinations.

Noon-6 pm. Drake Park, 777 NW Riverside Blvd. Free.

July 4

Pet Parade & Old Fashioned July 4th Festival

Think of it as patriotism light—and bright. None of that heavy stuff about war, plenty of emphasis on freedom. Like the freedom to wear a headache-inducing combination of stars and stripes, to ride around town dressed like Betsy Ross or Thomas Jefferson, to turn down your inner environmentalist while enjoying the fiery display in the night sky. And did we mention pets? In this case, it's about your freedom to dress them up in ridiculous costumes, not theirs to be liberated from them.

Parade 10 am, festival 11 am-4 pm. Parade through Downtown Bend, beginning on Wall Street. Festival at Drake Park, 777 NW Riverside Blvd. Free.

July 11

Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show

This 40-year tradition is one of Sisters' biggest draws. Imagine First Friday Art Walk, only it's all quilts and many are displayed along the sidewalk out in the open air—it's actually the largest outdoor quilt show in the world. Though the hardcore quilters have already bought up tickets for the walking quilt tours and featured speaker Tula Pink of FreeSpirit Fabrics, there are plenty of other opportunities to marvel at the artistry and craftsmanship quilters use to turn fabric and thread into large-scale works of art.

9 am-4 pm. Downtown, 220 S Ash St., Sisters. Free.

July 10 - 12

Bend Summer Festival

Nothing says summer like a leisurely stroll through downtown during Bend Summer Festival, with vendors lining the streets, the smells of summer street foods, taps flowing with local brews, and the sounds of popular bands emanating from the stage. Sort of like First Friday, with an expanded focus and way more people.

Friday 5-11 pm, Saturday 11 am-11 pm, and Sunday 11 am-5 pm. Downtown Bend. Free.

July 24 - 26

Balloons Over Bend Children's


There's something about a hot air balloon that tickles the imagination of young and old alike. So it's a fitting accompaniment to the annual children's festival. For one weekend each summer, Riverbed Park turns into a giant playground. Get up with the sun and a cup of hot cocoa to watch the balloons launch into the sky over the Deschutes, or create fodder for fanciful dreams by ending the day with the Nightglow show, in which balloons turn into larger-than-life fireflies. During the day, activities include bounce houses, K9 Kings Flying Dog Show, Bend Endurance Academy's Bike Rodeo, face painting, crafts, education, and the Balloon Blast Kids Race. If that doesn't tucker 'em out, nothing will.

Launch 6 am, festival 10 am - 4 pm, nightglow at dusk. Riverbend Park, 799 SW Columbia St. Balloon Blast Kids Race $5. Viewing balloons free. Kids festival $15.

July 29 - August 2

The Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo

Now that we moved from the age of the "artisan" to the moment of the "maker," it may be time to bring back the classic county fair as a headlining summer event. At its core, the county fair is a celebration of the culture of craftspeople, farmers, ranchers, and others who make their living by making something more concrete and essential than widgets.

In addition to prize-winning pigs, pies, and pottery, the Deschutes County Fair includes a host of interactive and entertaining options such as a rodeo (complete with 2015 Deschutes County Rodeo Queen Olivia Chandler), a wild animal exhibit (including camel rides), a Wild West re-enactment, and entertainment spanning in sophistication from a talent show to local performers to headlining acts.

This year's big names are Oklahoma rockers and Girls Gone Wild Tour alums Hinder, pop country star Martina McBride, classic rockers of "Horse With No Name" fame America, and country rocker Joe Nichols (see: country radio hit "Gimme That Girl" and the classy "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off").

Of course, it wouldn't be a county fair without a carnival, the sweet scents of cotton candy and fresh hay mixing with the salty aroma of popcorn and so many warm bodies (on two and four feet). Despite advances in technology, the Ferris wheel maintains its magic and oversized stuffed animals remain romantic gifts when won by popping balloons, ringing bottlenecks, or racing animatronic horses.

Just remember to save the hot dogs and elephant ears for after the wild rides.

Wednesday July 29 – Sunday, August 2. 10 am-10 pm Wednesday and Thursday, 10 am-11 pm Friday and Saturday, 10 am-5 pm Sunday. Deschutes Country Fair Grounds, 3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond. Adults $12, seniors/children $7, children 5 and under free.

August 7 - 9

Sunriver Art Faire

It's an art fair. In, you guessed it, Sunriver. There will be art there—from more than 65 regional artists. But that's not all, there will be live music and children's events, so you can easily drag along that partner, child, or friend who's not quite as into art as you are. No word yet on which musical acts will be playing, but last year's event included local favorites like Chiringa, Parlour, Cinder Blue, and the Klassixs AyreBand.

Friday and Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Sunday 10 am-4 pm. Village at Sunriver, 57100 Beaver Dr., Sunriver. Free.

August 28 - 30

Art in the High Desert

One of the top 15 arts and crafts shows in the nation, this show is legit. Which is to say, not just any old artist can be featured here; all entries are juried and come from across the United States and Canada. It's a unique opportunity for folks in Central Oregon to come face-to-face with artists whose work they may have previously admired from afar.

Friday & Saturday, 10 am-6 pm. Sunday 10 am-4 pm. Along Deschutes River, Old Mill District, 730 SW Columbia St. Free admission.

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