BEND, OR -- Bend is getting all decked out for the holidays. Rod Porsche, Executive Director of the Downtown Bend Business Association, says he’s been stringing more lights the past few nights, "To make downtown look as good as it can, every year. We had 40 volunteers help out with more wreaths, more ribbon, last Saturday; it was just an amazing turnout. And, they lit a lot of the trees."
The festivities begin Friday evening with the lighting of a live tree near Drake Park, "We’ve tied our community tree lighting to the First Friday Art Walk special holiday edition, just because everybody’s downtown and we thought more people could enjoy the tree lighting that way," Porsche tells KBND News. "So, First Friday Art Walk is 5-9, as usual. But, there will be some special things; you can write letters to Santa at Leapin’ Lizards Toy Store, that sort of thing."
The lighting ceremony begins near the Mirror Pond south parking lot at 6:15 p.m. "Santa reportedly is going to come from the North Pole at about 6:50-ish and he will lead the tree lighting countdown at 6:59 and 30-seconds."
But, Porsche says that’s just the beginning; there are more festivities on Saturday. "The crown jewel is the Christmas parade; it starts at noon. You do have the Jingle Bell Run, just before that. For our organization, the Downtown Bend Business Association, we’re all about creating memorable moments. And, these parades, they just really create that experience for the families in our community."
Santa will visit with kids after Friday's tree lighting, and again Saturday afternoon, near Starbucks on Wall Street. Then, the Santa Hut moves to the plaza near Bellatazza for the Saturday afternoons of December 10 and 17.