The 4th Annual Bend Witches Paddle will take place on Halloween Day, Oct. 31, from 3-5pm at Riverbend Park. The concept is simple. Community members dress up as a witch or warlock, grab a paddleboard and head out to Riverbend Park to paddle down the Deschutes River.
This event is in support of the MountainStar Family Relief Nursery's trauma-informed, strength-based child abuse prevention program. MountainStar will have a booth set up with loudspeakers, an informational booth and a donation drop-off table.
Donations aren't required to participate but are encouraged. Diapers, wipes, books, toys and non-perishable foods will be accepted at the drop-off table. This event is about getting the community together to enjoy the beauty of Central Oregon's nature and spread awareness for MountainStar.
"It's a Bend-style event. Rain or shine, people are going to come out and support local charities and just enjoy being outdoors. We're really excited," said events and marketing manager for MountainStar, Kara Roatch.
McKenzie Stott has been one of MountainStar's biggest supporters. Four years ago, to support MountainStar, Stott invited some friends to dress up as witches with her and bring donation items to support the nonprofit. It started off with a couple of dozen community members and has grown every year since.
Last year, there were 300 participants, the event raised $1,600 in cash donations for MountainStar and the MountainStar minivan was stuffed to the brim with donations, according to Roatch. The event planners are expecting to see even more involvement this year.
It's not only paddleboards. People on canoes, kayaks, innertubes or anything that will keep afloat on the Deschutes are invited to join. The drop-in will start at around 3pm, but people are more than welcome to join at any point.
Attendees are encouraged to bring a lifejacket because the water is cold and shallow. If some don't want to get in the water, dress up and join the many onlookers on the flag bridge. Donations can be made to MountainStar Family Relief Nursery at mtstar.org/donate.
Bend Witches Paddle
Monday, Oct. 31, 3pm
799 SW Columbia St., Bend
Free, donations accepted