Bend▶️ Bend Christmas Parade: Annual tradition is a ‘big friendly get-together’

▶️ Bend Christmas Parade: Annual tradition is a ‘big friendly get-together’

▶️ Bend Christmas Parade: Annual tradition is a ‘big friendly get-together’

▶️ Bend Christmas Parade: Annual tradition is a ‘big friendly get-together’

The Bend Christmas Parade is Saturday, kicking off at noon sharp. The annual tradition has grown thanks to organizers and volunteers, past and present.

“In 1992, we became involved in the parade,” said longtime former organizer Gaye Gilpin. “We had not as many entries of course, in that time period. But now we have 100.”

“Ironically, until I got involved, I had actually never been to the parade, which is a little crazy,” said Michael Sipe, Chairman of the Bend Christmas Parade Volunteer Committee. “My wife had been to the parade. Our kids have been to the parade. Our grandkids have been to the parade. I’d never been to the parade. It’s just like this huge festive street party. People are in such great spirits.

“It brings everybody together in a really just wonderful community,” said parade publicist Dina Barker.

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“People said they’ve they’ve been going to the parade since they were little and now they’re bringing their own kids,” Gilpin said.

“I think that the the parade is really one of the hallmark events of Central Oregon and certainly of Bend. It’s an event that people look forward to every year,” Sipe said.

“And it makes everybody feel part of Bend and part of Central Oregon because they come from all over,” Barker said.

Sipe says there’s about 10,000 to 20,000 people who watch the parade every year.

“I think that it’s important to know that there’s about 150, 160 volunteers that it takes to put on the parade. So the parade committee of people who love this event is huge. It’s extraordinary,” Sipe said.

“It just feels really good and really rewarding. Personally to be part of that,” Barker said.

“There’s no agenda other than to have a great time, celebrate the Christmas season, celebrate the reason for the season. And so it’s just a big friendly get-together of our city that happens once a year in a very, very special way,” Sipe said.

“All your worries go out the door, you know, for the time you’re at the parade. I hope it continues forever. I mean, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t, you know?” Gilpin said.

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