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Holiday Lights Paddle Parade

Bend tradition brings holiday cheer

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The ever-popular Holiday Lights Paddle Parade returns to the Old Mill District this weekend — featuring paddleboards, kayaks and canoes all dolled up in festive Christmas decorations and lights.

Last year, boats and boards decorated in holiday garb floated through the Old Mill District while lighting up the Deschutes River. The event, nearly 20 years strong, is a Bend tradition that celebrates the holidays while showing some local love for the Deschutes River.

The Holiday Lights Paddle Parade is a Bend tradition, nearly 20 years strong. - JILL ROSELL
  • Jill Rosell
  • The Holiday Lights Paddle Parade is a Bend tradition, nearly 20 years strong.


Anyone with a paddleboard, kayak or canoe is welcome to participate. Paddlers should meet at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe from 2-3:30pm Fri., Dec. 14 ready to decorate with lights, materials and crafty ideas. The river will be cold, so it may behoove paddlers to wear a dry suit under their ugly Christmas sweaters or costumes in case of an accidental spill. Spectators can expect to see a parade of lights between 4:15-6pm.

A jolly Old Saint Nick stands next to his festive kayak at the Holiday Lights Paddle Parade. - TUMALO CREEK KAYAK & CANOE
  • Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe
  • A jolly Old Saint Nick stands next to his festive kayak at the Holiday Lights Paddle Parade.

If you're wondering where to post up to watch the parade, Source contributor and Tumalo Creek employee K.M. Collins suggests the east bank of the Deschutes River, south of Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, upriver from the flag bridge.

After the parade, meet back at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe for warm beverages.

Holiday Lights Paddle Parade
Friday, Dec. 14, 4-6pm.
(Paddlers meet 2-3:30pm at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe)
Old Mill District
450 SW Powerhouse Drive, Bend
Free

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