Fall Festival draws excited crowds, artists to Downtown Bend

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Downtown Bend was already looking festive and ready for fall, with the leaves on the trees changing from green to yellow and orange.

Fall Festival sealed the deal over the weekend, however, with the arrival of fine artists, food, family activities, live music, and more.

Under a clear blue sky and sunshine, visitors mingled among the booths, enjoying the return of the classic Downtown event after its two-year hiatus.

“For the past four years I would walk through and I’d be like ‘oh man, I wish I had a booth here!’ But I never did until this year, and I’m happy to be here,” said ceramic artist Annie Chrietzburg.

She’s been working with clay for more than 30 years, but this is her first go-round with this particular event.

“What I like most is getting out and meeting people in the community, and telling them about my work, and just being outside and doing a show and watching people go by,” she said.

“You get to be like the host of your own party in your own booth for a weekend.”

Another potter, Alan Higinbotham, said it was his third time setting up shop at Fall Festival.

“Bend is just gorgeous of course, and when you get a weekend like this is even better,” he said.

He said business this year has been better than even the 2019 event.

“Most shows have been a little bit better because there’s a little pent up demand, because we weren’t working last year at shows,” he said.

He enjoyed connecting with the other artists who haven’t able to see much of each other during the pandemic.

“A lot of the artists that do this, we travel sort of a circuit, especially Northwest artists,” Higinbotham added. “So that part of it’s been really really fun…a couple years we haven’t seen each other.”

Acrylic artist Marissa Jager just started her brand Astra Statera Art in February, and quit her job as a teacher to pursue art full-time.

Summer Fest in Downtown Bend was only the second art show she had ever joined.

For Fall Festival, Jager once again made the 9 1/2 hour drive from her home in Utah to present her unique work in what she says is “the best town ever.”

“It is such a vibe. The energy here is so good,” Jager said. “Every time I drive around, I can just feel the energy…the people are just so kind and genuine, and they just have this appreciation for nature, and this great energy.

“I’m hoping to come back to Bend every summer. I want to do both Summer and Fall Fest, every summer!”

This year’s Fall Festival ran both Saturday and Sunday, and was sponsored by First Interstate Bank.

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