▶️ Holiday weekend promises sun, fun and, yes, tourists – lots of them

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Hotels basically full, campsites at capacity, and the Deschutes River full of floaters.

That’s what you can expect from in Bend this Memorial Day weekend with the unofficial start of summer.

General Manager Daniel Elder says the Campfire Hotel is almost fully booked and he’s expecting mostly out-of-staters.

“I think people are pretty eager to travel, especially now that people are getting vaccinated,” Elder said. “We’ve had time as businesses to really make sure we’re creating safe environments, both for our guests and our employees.”

Jeffrey Lindenbach is one of those eager tourists, visiting Bend from Canada.

“Right now we’re floating down the river and then we’re going to go do something else,” Lindenbach said. “Honestly, don’t really know yet, but we’re going to do something fun.”

The Deschutes River was surprisingly quiet Friday afternoon, but that likely won’t last for long with warmer weather on the horizon.

The employees of Tumalo Creek Tube Rentals have an idea how the weekend will look, thanks to their reservation system.

“It’s looking like we’re probably going to service 100+ people,” Brad Bennett, rentals manager said. “But that could always change if people cancel or something like that.”

But it’ll probably be easier finding an innertube or kayak than it will be a campsite in and around Bend.

Medford resident Pascal-Jumeaux Brasseur says he has had a difficult time finding a spot.

“Every single campsite is completely booked out within 15 or 20 miles of Bend,” Brasseur said. “But Smith Rock just opened up for day-use and also no reservations allowed. So it’s first-come-first serve.”

Even at peak pandemic, crowds came to Bend and this weekend should not be any different.

Elder appreciates the traffic visitors will bring to local businesses.

“To see a weekend like this for the Bend community where these smaller businesses, that have worked very hard to stay open, are now going to get that added business coming in this weekend,” Elder said. “It’s very exciting.”

Brasseur is excited to be traveling again, like normal.

“I just hope that it continues to go on this way,” Brasseur said. “In that all of our restrictions are lifted and we’re able to just keep on enjoying the life that we’ve been given.”

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