Please note: This post is from July 2012. If you’re looking for this year’s post about what’s happening in Bend for Independence Day 2015, go here.
‘Tis the season for fireworks, parades, Fourth of July camping trips, and floods of phone calls to Visit Bend from travelers seeking information about all those things.
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common questions we get this time of year. Since it wouldn’t very nice if we only gave you the questions, we’ve also taken the time to provide answers. We’re helpful like that.
Q: Where can I watch Fourth of July fireworks in Bend?
A: Each year, fireworks are launched from the top of Pilot Butte at 10 p.m. The best vantage point to see them is the back deck of my house in northeast Bend. While I’d love to have you all over for a barbecue, it’s unlikely the fire marshal would allow this.
If you aren’t coming to my house, you can see fireworks from just about any spot in town with a view of Pilot Butte. City parks are popular viewing spots, so check the Parks & Rec site to find one near you.
Q: What special events are happening for July 4?
A: One of the most popular Bend traditions is the annual Pancake Breakfast in Drake Park sponsored by the Bend Sunrise Lion’s Club. This all-American meal is served from 8 a.m. to noon. Cost is $4 for kids and $6 for adults, and proceeds support local charities.
My personal favorite event is the annual Pet Parade. It’s Bend’s largest parade, with 8,000 spectators and participants, and it’s been happening since the 1930s. Starting at 10 a.m., the parade winds its way through downtown with a kooky array of humans, canines, and farm animals, many of whom will be attired in bizarre costumes. If you or your kids want to march in the parade, the lineup and decorating party takes place at 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot between Bond and Wall across from the Deschutes Public Library. If you just want to watch, you can park your chair pretty much anywhere in Downtown Bend. Streets will be closed starting at 9 a.m. and parking can be tough to find, so get there nice and ear
After the parade, head over to Drake Park for the Old Fashioned July 4 Festival. From 11-4, enjoy games, live music, a variety of food booths, and more than 100 artisan booths.
Oh, and while you’re downtown, be sure to stop by the Bend Visitor Center to buy your $10 Beer For a Year raffle ticket! The drawing is in two weeks, and you currently have about a 1 in 100 chance of winning $2400 in gift cards from the breweries along the Bend Ale Trail.
For a super-fun freak-show, the Freedom Ride starts around 2 p.m. near Pioneer Park. Keep an eye the Facebook page for The Source Weekly for top-secret details.
For the fitness-minded among you, the annual Spark Your Heart 5K run/walk will kick off at 8 a.m. in Riverbend Park. Details and registration are here.
Q: Uh-oh…Tumalo State Park is full. Where can I camp?
A: I asked our CEO to volunteer his front lawn, but sadly, he declined.
No guarantees, but here are a few other options you can try:
- North of Bend near Terrebonne, Smith Rock State Park offers tent camping only.
- The area around the Cascade Lakes has several options, including Gull Point and Crane Prairie. Keep in mind, many of the northern Cascade Lakes campgrounds are still closed due to snow (yes, SNOW!)
- Near Newberry Crater, try Cinder Hill campground.
- Want to stay near Sisters? Try Perry South or Sisters City Park Campground.
- The Deschutes Fairgrounds offers RV parking. There’s also the Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort.
Q: Where can I float the river?
A: We have a whole web page devoted to this! Find out about canoeing, kayaking, standup paddling, and river float trips in Bend. You can also check out this blog post I wrote last summer offering the inside scoop on inner-tube floating the way the locals do it.
Q: What hikes are open?
Q: Are things like the High Desert Museum and Lava Lands Visitor Center open on July 4?
Q: We really like the way you write the Bend Buzz Blog and would like to buy you some fireworks. Is this OK?
A: Yes, please.
Editor’s note: Though much of the attractions, events and things to do over the fourth of July in this post still rings true today, some of the specific information has been updated for 2015, check out the updated Visit Bend blog post Celebrating the Fourth of July in Bend, Oregon.