▶️ Holiday events take over Central Oregon for Thanksgiving weekend


With Thanksgiving this week, parades will soon travel the streets and Santa will touch down once again in the High Desert. 

Everyone is welcome to the number of events taking place this weekend to mark the start of the holiday season. 

Old Mill District 

The annual Thanksgiving morning “I Like Pie” walk/run will take place in the Old Mill District between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. 

Guests can walk or run 1.5 or 2.5 miles, and enjoy a piece of pie at the end of the course. 

“It’s a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bend,” Old Mill District Marketing Manager Beau Eastes said. “It’s been down here for several years, and it’s a great way to kick off Thanksgiving and the holidays. Come down, run whatever distance you want to run, and then eat pie afterwards.”

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The next morning, Santa wastes no time, flying in by helicopter at 10 a.m. on the west side of the river. 

Eastes said a new addition this year would be a parade following the helicopter landing. 

“With some help from some of our area high school cheer and dance teams, Santa will make his way to SantaLand, which is that former Simply Mac space in between the Avalon and Evoke Winery.”

SantaLand will be open Friday through Sunday every week until Christmas, and Wednesday through Friday before Christmas Day. 

Also returning this year is the Tree of Joy, a collaboration with the Rotary Clubs of Bend and the Salvation Army. It’s a chance for folks to pick a name from the tree and purchase a gift for a child or a family in need. 

“I think you actually connect a little bit more with the child of the family in need when you pull that that tag off the tree, so that’ll be really fun,” Eastes said. 

The North Pole Mailbox will be available from Nov. 25 to Dec. 18 for children to drop off letters to Santa, and they will get a response from the North Pole if a return address is included. You’ll find that box at 330 SW Powerhouse Drive, Suite 120. 

For more information about other events taking place in the Old Mill District this holiday season, visit https://www.oldmilldistrict.com.


In Redmond, the Turkey Trot 5K, 10K and kids run starts at 9 a.m. Thanksgiving morning at Sam Johnson Park. 

The rest of the weekend has no shortage of holiday cheer. 

“Starting Friday at 11 a.m., our holiday village market in Centennial Park opens,” said Amanda Joe Luelling, the Events Coordinator for the Redmond Chamber of Commerce. “And that goes until 5 p.m. And then on Friday, starting right at dusk, 6:00, we have our Northern Lights display on Redmond City Hall. And then our Starlight Parade, our Christmas parade in downtown Redmond will start at 5 p.m.”

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That parade runs down 6th Street and ends in Centennial park, where Santa will light up the city tree. 

This year’s parade has an “Ode to Christmas Sweaters” theme, with 63 floats. 

The Chamber of Commerce will also have a Giving Tree to help children in need in the community. 

“We work with different nonprofits in our community. They organize helping the kids and identifying the kids in our community, and then they send those kids to me,” Luelling said. “And then I work with businesses in our community to put up trees to decorate with tags. So we have this whole tag program going out for these kids, and then the community can come out and pull the tags and fill them, bring the gifts back in to us.”

The program supports 500 children each Christmas. 

Redmond businesses Arome, Junction Roastery, Redmond Athletic Club and Willow are supporting the tree this year. 

The Redmond ice rink is also opening this weekend, located right next to the Chamber of Commerce building. It costs $5 per person, which includes a skate rental, or $1.25 when you bring your own skates. It costs $15 for a family of up to six people. 

“We’re all very supportive of each other here and we love what we have here in Redmond, and these events and these parades and programs that we’re pulling off, they really give that sense of community,” Luelling added. 


On Friday evening, Sisters will have its annual tree lighting event in Fir Street Park from 5:30 to 6 p.m. 

Hood Ave. will also welcome a parade on Saturday, hosted by the Sisters Parks and Recreation District.

“It’s going to start at 2 on Saturday November 26th,” said Nikki Olson, the Special Event Coordinator for the district. “We have about 25 participants ranging from the fire department to Rudolph to Santa, of course.” 

Cookies and cocoa will be available at McKenzie Village Park right after the parade. 

“We just hope that it’s a really good reminder about the community that we live in, and that there’s this great sense of peace and joy and just reconnecting with your community,” Olson said. “We’ve kind of lost that over the last couple years, so just being able to celebrate your community and family and friends, and taking a moment to just enjoy the holiday.”


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