The annual Pet Parade is one of Bend's most popular July 4 traditions.
The annual Pet Parade is one of Bend’s most popular July 4 traditions.

There’s a reason Travel + Leisure just named Bend one of America’s best towns for 4th of July.

Actually, there are about a million reasons. From old-fashioned pancake feeds and sack races, to bountiful opportunities to hike, bike, paddle, and explore the great outdoors, Bend has everything you could possibly want for an Independence Day celebration.

If you’re lucky enough to spend Independence Day 2016  in Bend, here’s what you need to know!

 

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. If you have any friends who live in an elevated area of northeast Bend, try to procure an invitation to their Independence Day barbecue. Bring beer.

Fireworks burst above Pilot Butte.
Fireworks burst above Pilot Butte.

If that’s not an option, 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. Al Moody Park (near the base of Pilot Butte) is a locals’ favorite, but you’ll want to get there early with a blanket or chairs.

 

 

Q: What special events are happening for July 4?

A: Bend’s old-fashioned 4th of July celebration is like something out of a Normal Rockwell painting. Watermelon-eating contests, dunk tanks, scavenger hunts, and sack races will keep you hopping (so to speak) all day long.

The annual Pet Parade is the best show in town!
The annual Pet Parade is the best show in town!

Things kick off early with 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 11 a.m., and proceeds support local charities.

Once you’ve stuffed your face with hotcakes and bacon, stroll into Downtown Bend for 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. Temps will likely be in the 80s this year, so keep your kids’ and pets’ comfort in mind when planning costumes.

If you just want to watch, you can park your chair pretty much anywhere in Downtown Bend. Streets will be closed from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and parking can be tough to find, so get there nice and early.

The route for the 2016 4th of July parade.
The route for the 2016 4th of July parade.

After the parade, head over to Drake Park for the aforementioned Old Fashioned July 4 Festival. From 11-4, enjoy games, live music, a variety of food booths, kids’ activities, and more than 130 artisan booths.

Craving a more intimate celebration? Brasada Ranch (just 16 miles northeast of Bend ) is hosting a variety of Independence Day events including a traditional county fair and old-fashioned barbecue. You can enjoy great food, live music, lawn games, and panoramic views of three (yes, THREE) firework shows across the region. Go here for pricing and event schedule.

Need more ideas? Check out Visit Bend’s event calendar or previous posts on the Bend Buzz Blog for oodles of options!

 

 

Q: Uh-oh…Tumalo State Park is full. Where can I camp?

A: Independence Day is typically one of the busiest times of the year in Bend, and 2016 will be especially crazy with the holiday falling on a Saturday. A good starting point is Visit Bend’s complete roundup of campgrounds and RV parks. While we can’t guarantee availability on a busy holiday weekend, these might be worth trying if you strike out elsewhere:

Finding a campsite for Independence Day can be tough, but you've got a few options.
Finding a campsite for Independence Day can be tough, but you’ve got a few options.

 

Q: What about hotels?

A: Bend has tons of amazing hotels, but the odds of you scoring a last-minute room for 4th of July weekend are about the same as the odds it will snow that day.

Luckily, there are a number of neighboring towns that may (emphasis on may) have rooms available. Try Redmond (20 minutes away), Sisters (25-30 minutes away), Sunriver (25-30 minutes away), La Pine (45 minutes away), or Prineville (45 minutes away).

 

Q: Where can I play in the Deschutes River?

A: We have a whole web page devoted to this! Find out about canoeing, kayaking, standup paddling, and river float trips in Bend. To get the inside scoop on floating on the Deschutes River the way the locals do it, check out this blog post.

There are tons of options for hiking around Central Oregon this time of year.
There are tons of options for hiking around Central Oregon this time of year.

Q: What hikes are open?

A: This page from the Forest Service offers up-to-the-minute trail conditions and closure info. You can also refer to Visit Bend’s hiking page for ideas about where to go. Cascade Hiking Adventures is another terrific resource for hiking ideas.

 

Q: What things are open on July 4?

A: Mt. Bachelor will launch their official summer operations on July 4 this year. That’s a great opportunity to head up there for scenic lift rides, lunch at Pine Marten Lodge, disc golf, and downhill mountain biking off the Sunshine Accelerator Lift. The sunset dinners and sled dog rides will open the following week on July 8, 2016.

Downhill mountain biking season is kicking off July 4 at Mt. Bachelor.
Downhill mountain biking season is kicking off July 4 at Mt. Bachelor.

Though the High Desert Museum is closed on Independence Day, be sure to stop by on a different day during your trip. The newly-renovated otter exhibit opened recently, so it’s a good chance to get a look at these playful creatures in their brand new habitat. You should also check their schedule and time your visit for one of their stellar Raptors of the High Desert shows.

Lava Lands Visitor Center is Open July 4. The Deschutes Historical Museum is not only open, but offers free admission and free ice cream cups while supplies last on July 4.

And of course, the Bend Visitor Center will be open on Independence Day from 9-5 for all your visitor information needs (and to redeem Bend Ale Trail atlases, of course!)

Q: We enjoy the Bend Buzz blog so much that we’d like to buy you a beer. What kind do you like?

A: Why thank you! I’ll take anything from around the Bend Ale Trail, but my personal faves are Hop Venom from Boneyard Brewing, Off Leash from Crux Fermentation Project, Pinedrops from Deschutes Brewery, Ching Ching from Bend Brewing Company, and pretty much any sour they happen to be serving up at 10 Barrel.

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