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A Little Something for Everyone 

Experience the holidays Central Oregon style

This year, holiday magic abounds with a plethora of fantastical events. Grab your calendar and get ready to fill it with shows and activities, as the Central Oregon community has simply outdone itself with next-level opportunities for celebration—your crew won’t want to be left out!
PHOTO COURTESY SUNRIVER RESORT
  • Photo courtesy Sunriver Resort

The following are the top picks for must-see activities and events this holiday season:

Old Fashion Christmas

The Old Fashion Christmas event at the fairgrounds has been around for eight years, giving families the opportunity to get some shopping done while having a whole lot of seasonal fun. This indoor experience is packed with gifts, art, antiques and food vendors and is home to a stunning holiday display with a Candy Land maze that leads right to Santa. There’s so much to do, but don’t worry, there are resting areas with holiday movies playing, hourly drawings for prizes, demonstrations and a Christmas tree coloring contest for kids. The entrance fee is $5 with a voluntary canned food donation benefiting a local charity food bank.

When: Nov. 12 & 13
Where: Deschutes County Expo Center

Ice Skating

Any holiday experience in Central Oregon wouldn’t be complete without a family ice skating session. Check out these local rinks: 

The Pavilion in Bend: Offering recreational skating for all ages and abilities, The Pavilion hosts Sunday Family Skate for only $6/person, which includes a skate rental. Check online for hours: bendparksandrec.org/facility/the-pavilion/

Seventh Mountain Resort: The skating season at this outdoor rink opens on Nov. 18 with a holiday bazaar and annual food drive. You can find the details at: seventhmountainriverco.com/ice-skating/

Village Ice Pavilion in Sunriver: This location includes an indoor viewing area, an indoor/outdoor fireplace and a solar screening system that offers shelter from inclement weather. The skate season starts in late November. More info: sunrivervillagefun.com

Redmond Ice Rink: Located in downtown Redmond, this rink welcomes skaters of all ages and abilities. For opening dates and details check it out online: raprd.org/ice-rink

Traditions at Sunriver

Sunriver Resort goes the extra distance with its Traditions Holiday Experience. This remarkable annual holiday event is 50 years old for a good reason. It kicks off with the Grand Illumination and gives families the opportunity to take a horse-drawn sleigh ride through a snowy meadow, sip hot cocoa by the fire, decorate a gingerbread house, build their own Takoda the Bear, witness light shows and of course, play in the snow. Loads of beautiful holiday decorations and lights make for a festive experience as well.

When: Beginning Nov. 19
Where: Sunriver Resort
Online: sunriverresort.com/activities/winter-traditions-holiday

The Nutcracker: A Child's Tale

Your family will love this heartwarming take on a classic. Valerie Holgers' Académie de Ballet Classique’s “The Nutcracker: A Child’s Tale features local dancers as they tell the story of a young girl, Clara, who befriends a nutcracker on Christmas Eve. Through movement and music, the dancers bring the nutcracker and the night’s adventure to life in an unforgettable way that will leave the audience with sugar plums dancing in their heads for the rest of the season. Note: There are two performances this year: 1:30pm and 6pm.

When: Nov. 26
Where: Tower Theatre
Online: towertheatre.org

Bend Christmas Parade

After its cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Bend Christmas Parade returned with a boom in 2021, clocking the largest attendance on record. Word on the street is that this year’s event is going to be even better. Run entirely by volunteers, the parade has been an icon of Bend for the past 29 years. This year’s theme is, “A High Desert Christmas.” Your family can expect an impressive lineup of floats, marchers, performances and even the possibility that Santa might attend. Arrive early to stake out your prime viewing territory.

When: Dec. 3 at noon
Where: Downtown Bend (you can find the map online)
Online: bendchristmasparade.org

Central Oregon Youth Orchestra Winter Concert

This is no average winter concert; this is an opportunity to revel in local holiday music performed by talented kids! Experience an assembly of 35 music students of all ages from across the region led by COCC music professor Travis Allen, and conducted by Redmond Proficiency Academy’s Jonathon Moore. You never know, the show may inspire the young music lover in your family to pick up a new instrument!

When: Dec. 13
Where: Tower Theatre
Online: towertheatre.org

Central Oregon Locavore Holiday Gift Faire

Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts made by local artisans, crafters and more at the annual Locavore Holiday Gift Faire. From stunning pieces of art to handmade apparel, local honey and jewelry that makes a statement, there is something for everyone on your list. Bonus: The gifts you buy give back to the Bend community, as every item bought is created locally. Check the website in advance for up-to-date COVID precautions. 10am – 4pm.

When: Dec. 19
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church
Online: centraloregonlocavore.com
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