BEND, OR -- Downtown Bend officially kicks off the Christmas season Friday night, with the lighting of the community tree at the Mirror Pond South parking lot, near Drake Park. "Santa’s going to be coming down from the North Pole at exactly 6:55. The event starts at 6:30; we’ll have some caroling, the Bend High School Dynamics will be there and another choral group, we’ll have hot cocoa," says Rod Porsche, with the Downtown Bend Business Association, "So, it’s a great, fun event."
Porsche tells KBND News, "[Santa] helps lead the countdown to light the community tree. And then afterwards, he leads the parade of kiddos to what we’re calling ‘Santa’s Village,’ which is right next door to Starbucks, there on Wall. And he’ll greet every kiddo for free, take as many pictures as you want, that evening and the next day after the parade." The Bend Christmas Parade starts at noon on Saturday, "A great, great way to create another memorable moment for Bendites and Central Oregonians with their families. If you haven’t been down to a Christmas parade, it’s just a quintessential way to ring the holiday season. It starts promptly at noon and it’s just a lot of fun." The parade route begins at Newport and Harmon and winds over the Newport Avenue Bridge, down Wall and around Drake Park on Riverside to Tumalo Avenue.
Santa will also be available for free photos every Saturday until Christmas at Santa’s Village on Wall Street.