BEND, OR -- Bend's Oktoberfest kicks off Friday at 3 p.m. It’s the largest fundraiser of the year for the Downtown Bend Business Association. Executive Director Rod Porsche says the annual Wiener Dog races have become so popular, they’ve taken on a life of their own. "People literally have come from as far away as Seattle to have their wiener dogs compete in our races, which are on Saturday. It’s a love/hate thing with the wiener dog races. They bring so many people in. But, man, it’s a challenge to get all those folks into that small space."
Due to those anticipated crowds, the races are being moved to Irving and Oregon Ave. "The location just wasn’t working anymore," Porsche tells KBND News. "We had folks dangling off the top floor of the parking garage and it was like, we just can’t have it anymore for insurance and safety; we just didn’t want anyone to get hurt. So what we’ve done is we’ve moved it to Irving and we’ve quadrupled the amount of bleacher seating."
And, for the first time, the wiener dogs will be broadcast on a big screen for overflow crowds. "There will be added bonuses because, of course, we do the tricycle races earlier in the day; those are amazing and very entertaining. And, people who aren’t able to get a seat in the bleacher area will be able to see it on this big ‘Jumbotron.’ And then, of course, all the action – the oompah band and the hammerschlagen and all the things we do up at the main stage will be on this big screen, too."