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  • Writer's pictureMarc Viquez

Vince Genna Stadium – Bend Elks


Photos by Marc Viquez Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.00

Vince Genna Stadium 401 SE Roosevelt Ave Bend, OR 97702



Year Opened: 1964 Capacity: 3,500

 

Baseball and Beer Highlight a Bend Elks Game

Vince Genna Stadium has been the epicenter of baseball in Bend, Oregon, since its opening in 1964. Named after its builder–known locally as Mr. Baseball–Vince Genna, the ballpark has seen its share of baseball throughout the years from semi-pro, American Legion, Minor League, and now Summer Collegiate League.


The Bend Elks debuted in 2000 and have been a mainstay in Central Oregon for 20 seasons. Before the club’s arrival, it was in danger of being razed after sitting idle for a couple of years without professional baseball that dated back to 1970, with the arrival of the Bend Rainbows.


The next three decades saw various affiliated ball clubs call Vince Genna Stadium, home from the Bend Phillies (1979-1987), Bend Bucks (1988-90), Bend Rockies (1991-1994), and the independent Bend Bandits (1995-1998).

The attendance figures would range from around 600 a game for many of these teams.


This caused many to wonder if the natural wonders of the area were too much of a distraction. How can baseball compete with scenic hiking trails, white water rafting, mountain trails, and various craft breweries to entertain fans the Elks have found a way to make things work in the city with average crowds of over 1,000 per game.


Food & Beverage 3

The ballpark offers three areas for concessions: BBQ Deck, Genna’s Grill, and Mini-Concessions stands. The stadium also features a beer garden for the 21 and up a crowd. The BBQ Deck serves burgers, hot dogs, brats, and Beyond Burgers. Genna’s Grill is home to chicken strips with fries, Polish sausage, and corn dogs. The mini-concession areas offer soda and ice cream treats.


Domestic and craft beers are $4 to $5 for a 16-ounce. The price increases to $7 and $8 for a 24-ounce beer. Fans can also enjoy glasses of wine and White Claw and Mike’s Hard Lemonade if they are not beer fans. It should be noted that the garden is closed on Wednesdays.


Atmosphere 3

Genna Stadium is a mundane facility that is a relic of the minor league baseball past. It features a main grandstand behind a home plate with a press box at the top, bleachers seating down each foul line, and a stadium box seating section.


The field is well taken care of with views of lush trees behind the outfield walls. The walls are speckled with numerous ads from local businesses, adding to its old-school minor league baseball feel, and small video scoreboard in left field. Also adding to that feeling are written lineups and small kiosks offering menu items.


The beer garden is a hub of activity, with folks enjoying a pint or two throughout the game, but you have to be 21 and up to enter the area. A typical crowd is usually over 1,000 fans a game and keeps things buzzing at each home game. The PA announcer also does a great job entertaining fans in the stadium and announcing promotions, ads, and on-field gimmicks in between innings.


A Bend Elks game is a comfortable and casual environment in a bare-bones kind of ballpark. There is just the right amount of food, beer choices, and fan interaction to make watching a baseball game an enjoyable experience. The sun setting beyond the outfield walls above the Cascades is quite the setting for a baseball game.


Neighborhood 4

Vince Genna Stadium is located in a residential neighborhood, and the left-field borders a small strip mall. The Old Mill District is west of the ballpark a few miles away and is a retail mall inside the historic mill buildings along the Deschutes River. The Deschutes Brewery Tasting Room is not far away and is one of the most popular breweries in Bend.


However, there are quite a bit others to choose from that including Bend Brewing Company, GoodLife, Silver Moon Brewing, Worthy Brewing Company, and Crux Fermentation Project, to name a few. Crux offers outdoor seating for watching the sunset.


The outdoor activities include hiking trails, mountain biking, kayaking, and even surfing on the river. If you enjoy scenic views, then visit Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint to enjoy the wonders of the area. Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Smith Rock State Park are about a 30-minute drive outside of town for more natural beauty. Tumalo Falls is a 97-foot waterfall that is worth viewing when in town.


Downtown Bend offers local boutiques, hotels, award-winning restaurants, art spa services, and plenty of entertainment and events to satisfy many who like the nightlife or need a break from outdoor activities. The Broom Closet, The Capital, Chomp Chomp, The Drake, and Jackalope Grill are a few restaurants and nightlife options.


Access 4

Crowds never attract more than 1,000-1,200 per game, making it a very accessible stadium for fans. Concessions are located outside the main grandstand. The location of the ballpark is east of SR-97.


Return on Investment 4

The price of a general admission ticket is $7, preferred seats are $10, and field-level box seats are $15 per game. The preferred seating is an elevated section behind home plate, and field-level box seats are stadium seats closest to the action on the field. Merchandise is reasonable with other clubs in the WCL, and food prices are the same. GA tickets, hot dogs, sodas, and 12-ounce Coors Banquet and Light are $2 on Tuesday nights.


Extras 3

The ballpark earns points for the Beer Garden, affordable pricing of craft beer, and a wide variety of locally brewed beers. Bend is also a great town to be in when you are not at a ball game. To see a game here is enjoyable, but there is also everything from outdoor adventures of hiking, canoeing, and biking to shopping and touring the city's multiple breweries.


Final Thoughts

Vince Genna Stadium is a nice place to watch a baseball game in front of a few thousand people on a cool, summer night in Oregon. The city is a wonderful place to spend a few days and enjoying a local craft beer at an Elks game is a great way to spend an evening in town.

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