Pride Insiders

Winter PrideFest brings big gay fun to Bend, Ore.

Enjoying Winter PrideFest in Bend, Ore.

There is more to do in Bend, Ore., besides rent movies at the last surviving Blockbuster Video store on Earth.

This town in Central Oregon is the new hotspot for naturephiles, who are moving here for the ski slopes, the white water rafting, the trails for and mountain biking and hiking, and the generally beautiful (and usually sunny!) location.

Stop watching movies, and get outside and have some fun. Bend will host Winter PrideFest from Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2020, a celebration of gay and trans inclusivity in winter sports, and of course there shall be parties, plus one particularly fun afternoon of downhill tubing while wearing festive costumes.

GayCities chatted with Jamie Nesbitt (photo above), Bend resident and President of OUT Central Oregon, about the big fun that this little town has planned.

Why do you host a pride festival in the winter?
This will be the third year of celebrating Winter PrideFest at Mt. Bachelor and in Bend, a multi-day celebration of winter sport. We believe that inclusivity is inherent in outdoor sport and activities, so we developed Winter PrideFest as a means to bring together outdoor enthusiasts who love winter sport activities, showing pride and love of the mountains and beauty of Central Oregon. A summer day-long pride festival called Central Oregon Pride has taken place in Bend every June for 15 years.

What are your favorite events during Winter PrideFest?
Winter PrideFest includes multiple days of alpine and Nordic skiing, and snowboarding at Mt. Bachelor. Additionally, we have a panel discussion about LGBTQ inclusivity in sport and outdoor activities. The weekend also includes a night-time outdoor skating event called ‘WIGS…an Ice Breaker,’  and a night-time dance party featuring two DJs from Portland. And Drag Tubing at Mt. Bachelor is fun.

Besides PrideFest, why would someone want to visit Bend?
Bend is considered one of the best outdoor cities in the US. People visit Bend to explore the Cascade Mountains, alpine lakes, and high-desert climate, where hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing, and many, many other outdoor activities are easily accessible.

What’s your favorite restaurant?
I love Spork. The spicy pork noodles are delicious.

What’s your favorite gay/gay-friendly bar in Bend? What do you drink there?
Bend is a very welcoming and inclusive city, where businesses embrace the LGBTQ community. We host a monthly night out at The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin in downtown Bend. Typically 80 to 100 people attend.

Are there local beers from there that you like?
Bend is well-known for its many breweries, and there are approximately 20 breweries here. We have partnered with a few of them on various projects related to building the LGBTQ community. A great sour beer is the Sexy Girlfriend at Immersion Brewing.

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