13th Annual Rhubarb Festival

‘It Was a Magical Weekend’ at the Rhubarb Festival

The 800 granny fruit pies sold out in four hours. Food trucks ran out of fare. Savory bison
burgers on 400 donated brioche buns were devoured, as kids undaunted by chilly weather
cavorted on the water slide. Music blasted from speakers, and dads pushed strollers from booth
to booth. “It was a magical weekend,” said Jamie Donahue, executive director, describing the
Activity Center’s 13th annual Rhubarb Festival – a summer tradition that once again proved
irresistible for hundreds of local families.

More Vendors Accommodated

“We started signing up vendors in January,” she noted. “Requests came in for applications
before they were even ready, and available spaces were almost full by March. Fortunately, with
our newly asphalted parking lot, we’ve been able to accommodate more vendors. We envision
adding about 20 new spaces next year, and making the entire area more shoppable. And, due
to popular demand, we’ll offer lots of rhubarb items.”
Huge Role of Volunteers

Donahue credited Janice Delzer, event coordinator, for “taking on a huge role that included all
vendor communications. She even stayed in touch while in Hawaii on vacation! After some
seven months of work, Janice asked me when the festival was over, ‘what are we doing next?’
She did admit, however, that when first volunteering to help, ‘I had no idea what I was signing
up for!’” said Donahue, who also praised Lori Scott, volunteer coordinator, for her efforts.
“Our volunteers are the reason the Activity Center’s doors stay open, and without them, there
wouldn’t be a Rhubarb Festival,” Donahue emphasized. “For example, the ladies who make our
wildly popular pies had an especially challenging time this year. Because of the long winter,
rhubarb didn’t start growing until two weeks before the event, and we were only able to proceed
with our plans thanks to the generosity of people in the community. ‘Hey, I’ve got rhubarb in my
freezer. Need some?’ was typical.”

Dessert Samples Rescued

Another challenge Donahue and her volunteers faced was notification by the health department
– a few days before the weekend fundraiser – that because of rule changes since 2022, they
couldn’t stage the dessert contest – “one of our most popular attractions,” according to Donahue
— or sell samples. Fortunately, these issues were resolved in time, much to the relief of the
many confection connoisseurs.

Something for Everybody

“The versatility of this year’s vendors (including 25 new ones) really struck me,” Donahue said.
“They offered something for everybody — including a doggie bakery, woodworking creations,
plants, jams, jewelry, canvas paintings, and even bottle wine chimes.
One of the vendors, who helped organize the Bend Farmers Market, told us that she prefers to
be at the Rhubarb Festival – as she has so much fun! A typical promise — as made by Red
Baron after continuously smoking tri-tip and ribs in the parking lot to feed the hungry weekend
crowd – was “I’ll see you next year!”

Flying Canopies Averted

While wanting to thank everyone who helped make the event a success – including drink
vendors (“who really pulled through”), Terry Mowry (who organized all the entertainment), and
Franz Bakery (for its “how many do you need?” donation of burger and hot dog buns) —
Donahue couldn’t resist mentioning Ace Hardware.
“Ace provided two palettes-worth of 50-pound sandbags to help stabilize the vendor tents, which
can become parachutes, as happened last year due to gusts of wind that sent four canopies
secured with bricks flying through the air,” she recalled. “Fortunately, we were blessed with good
weather this time around.”

True Sense of Community

“There was such a warm feeling all day, with people laughing and smiling wherever I looked,”
said Donahue. “There was a true sense of community that I hadn’t seen since Covid, and a
sense of love for our little town. It made your heart happy.”

Director’s Corner July 2023

Come In and Cool Off With Us!

If temperatures in July seemed especially sweltering, it wasn’t your imagination. According to scientists, several days were likely the hottest in Earth’s modern history, as a surge of heat across the globe shattered temperature records from North America to Antarctica.
But summer is far from over, and we’d like to remind everyone that the La Pine Activity Center is a cooling center. That means you and your loved ones are welcome to come inside and get out of the heat. We’re open five days a week, Monday – Friday, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
While you’re here, we’d love it if you join us for lunch, or try out our other regular activities such as exercise classes (including Yoga with Michelle, Balance & Bones, Fit for Life, and Body Groove) and bingo (scheduled for Monday nights and Tuesday afternoons).
We especially urge those who are still in Covid mode, and reluctant to leave their homes and mingle, to enjoy the Activity Center’s hospitality. People of all ages — not just seniors – are welcome to sit on the couch, work on their laptops, read a book, or just socialize. There’s always someone who would appreciate a friend.
When we first opened up as a cooling center last summer, after temperatures reached 100 degrees, our air conditioning went out. It was horrible! We’ve since purchased a new A/C system, which I’m happy to say is working well, and keeps the inside of the Activity Center nice and cool.
The idea of offering a cooling center initially came about when we realized that a lot of people in the La Pine area may not have A/C — some of them can’t afford a larger bill for power. And as we’re always here to try and help people in our community who are in need, providing a place to rest and refresh made sense.
(The Activity Center is also available, inside and outside, when wildfires or other disasters result in evacuation orders.) And remember, per the Oregon Health Authority: All Oregonians are asked to check on vulnerable friends, family, and neighbors who may be susceptible to extreme heat to help them access ways to stay safe – especially those who live alone or lack air conditioning. Signs of heat stroke include fever, rapid pulse, nausea or vomiting, and hot or damp skin. OHA advises people to call 9-1-1 immediately is someone shows signs of heat stroke.


 Brett Turner and his wife, Gina, own Grocery Outlet in La Pine, and he’s been a La Pine Activity Center board member since he was elected to the position in August of 2022.  
“I decided to run for the board of directors because I wanted to step up and give back to the community and help Jamie and the Activity Center.  Jamie has always been so supportive of my wife and I and our business in the past,” said Brett.
“We’ve given the Activity Center food and monetary donations since Grocery Outlet first opened in La Pine.  We’re big supporters of the Rhubarb Festival, as well.  In July we’re having a fund raiser called “Independence from Hunger”  where people donate or buy food baskets for those who are struggling to make ends meet, and we split the profits from that fund raiser with the Activity Center, the Christmas Basket Association, and St. Vincent de Paul.  Most grocery stores fund-raise during the holidays, but there are hungry people out there during the summer, too, so what we raise goes to help during that time.”
Brett believes the Activity Center is headed in a great direction right now.  
“It’s a very important facility for this community, and  I believe that this board of directors is doing a really good job.  The money we’ve recently raised for the new kitchen remodel is huge; we’re securing grants and the future is very bright”
Brett and Gina have lived in La Pine since December of 2016 after coming here from California’s Bay Area.
“My wife and I were both store managers at Safeway and when Albertsons bought them out, we didn’t care for the new operation, so Gina moved on to Bed, Bath and Beyond as store manager.  Then some friends told us about an opportunity to own a Grocery Outlet franchise.  This is a very family-oriented company and they like couples as co-managers, so we looked into it, started the training program, and when this store was going to open we decided to buy it. We opened La Pine’s first Grocery Outlet in February of 2017.”
“We love the pace of life here in La Pine.  Just being able to take a walk in the woods is so awesome. Life in the Bay Area was very fast and hectic, and there came a time when we realized we didn’t want that anymore.”
“We also love La Pine’s small town vibe.   When we first moved here strangers would wave at us and we were taken aback, until we got to know the town better and realized that people still wave to strangers here!  This community really pulls together when the time arises and we’re very impressed with that.”
“The Community Kitchen and St. Vincent de Paul organizations pick up food donations from us several times each week, so we’re here for this community and want to keep our dollars local. “ 


Debbie Kreps is the Monday front desk volunteer at the La Pine Activity Center, greeting those who walk through our doors and pointing them in the right direction for what they need
“I started out two years ago by volunteering at Bingo on Monday nights, and then just kind of worked into running the front desk,” says Debbie. “I usually just come in one morning per week, but I will fill in for others when needed.
Originally from Newberg, Oregon, she and her husband moved to La Pine a little over four years ago.
“I really like the climate in La Pine and we needed to get out of the city,” says Debbie. “We would come here camping every summer for about five years and one year we just decided that we didn’t want to go back home!”
Before retiring, Debbie worked in food service at George Fox University for 19 years, right up until the day before she moved to La Pine. Her husband, Ray, worked for Chrysler Corporation also for 19 years, and was retired for 10 years before they moved here. Now he is a substitute teacher in Gilchrist, La Pine and Bend.
“I love being here and meeting the people who walk through our doors,” says Debbie. “It’s nice to chat and get to know them and I’ve met some truly wonderful people here at the Center. “
Recently the La Pine Senior Center changed its name to the La Pine Activity Center, with the goal of promoting more exclusivity within the community. The Center is here to fill the needs of the whole community.
“From my experience working at George Fox University, I think it’s beneficial to have older people interacting with those much younger than themselves,” says Debbie. “Older people feel younger, more energized, when they’re around those younger than themselves. I think the mixture of seniors and younger people benefits them both. There’s so much more opportunity having this place be an “activity center” because it draws more people from our community in, and if a senior needs help, there are younger folks who can help them out; conversely, younger people can learn from their elder’s wisdom. It’s a win-win for both groups.”
“This Activity Center is an excellent place to come for an exercise class, have lunch three days a week and visit with people, and just get OUT. In the winter, people come here and get warm, sit, relax, read or watch the fire in the ‘living room” we have in the front of the building. It’s a great landing spot.”