By Makenzie Whittle

The Bulletin

What: Oregon WinterFest

Where: Les Schwab Amphitheater, 344 SW Shevlin Hixon Drive, Bend

$10 plus fees in advance, $15 at the gate

When: Friday to Sunday

Friday Feb. 15

5 p.m. — Festival opens

5 p.m. — Wine Walk, $22 in advance, $25 at the gate, includes entry to festival

5:30-7:30 p.m. — Pray for Snow Rail Jam, free ride ages 18 and over

10 p.m. — Festival closes

Saturday. Feb. 16

11 a.m. — Festival opens

Noon — Royal Run 5K, $30 plus fees in advance, $35 at the gate

1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. — JD Platt’s K-9 Kings

1-4:30 p.m. — USASA Rail Jam, ages 14 and over

5 p.m. — 10 Barrel Rail Jam Finals, 18 and over

10 p.m. — Festival closes

Sunday Feb. 17

11 a.m. — Festival opens

Noon — Hot Cocoa Run, $15 plus fees in advance (includes festival entry), $5 at the gate (race only)

1 p.m. — USASA Rail Jam, 13 and under

1:30 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. — JD Platt’s K-9 Kings

6 p.m. — Festival closes

Contact: oregonwinterfest.com or 541-323-0964

Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, so spring must be right around the corner. But for now, as Bend waits for the world-famous groundhog’s predictions to come to fruition, it’s time to celebrate the season at the annual Oregon WinterFest.

It all kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday with the Wine Walk through participating shops at the Old Mill District. Sample wines from around the globe and nibble on snacks while seeing what these local businesses have to offer. Admission to the Wine Walk is $22 plus fees in advance or $25 at the gate and includes weekend entry to WinterFest, a wine glass and 10 tasting tickets.

Across the river, a promenade of ice sculptures and fire pits, including a cauldron by Miguel Edwards, flank the path toward the festivities. These 20 works set ablaze have been handcrafted by local and regional artists to create unusual and incredible vessels to warm up by.

Expanding the fire pit and sculpture installations are pieces from Central Oregon Light Art.

Back again this year is the Pray for Snow Rail Jam. It will see skiers and snowboarders shredding the rail all weekend, including two USASA events. Sign-ups for all riders are on the WinterFest website.

If the rail jam is not your thing, peruse the many local and regional vendors, crafters, food, beer, wine and spirits at the Marketplace.

If you’ve got the kids tagging along, WinterFest has you covered, literally. The OMSI Science Tent and Family Play Zone will be inside and outside for the first time, featuring a collection of hands-on brainteasers, puzzles, face painting, cookie experiments and more. The family area is open throughout the festival.

Youth can also join in the Kid’s Hot Cocoa Run on Sunday starting at noon. Each child will run to different stations, adding more to their cups before finally getting to drink the chocolaty goodness at the finish line.

The Royal Run 5K will make its way from behind the Deschutes Brewery warehouse starting at noon on Saturday. The first 200 registrants to cross the finish line will receive a commemorative glass and beverage.

And as always, six bands will light up the stage Friday and Saturday nights (for a full breakdown, see Page 4).

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