A Bend holiday tradition like none other.

Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe’s Holiday Lights Paddle Parade is a magical and unique holiday event that lights up the Deschutes River and the Old Mill District. This festive gathering combines the love of paddling with the joy of the holiday season, creating a memorable experience for participants and

Set to start at 4 p.m. on Friday, December 15, paddlers from all over Central Oregon gather at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe’s shop near the Bend Whitewater Park and make their way upriver on the Deschutes. Kayaks, canoes, paddleboards – if it floats, you might see it in the Holiday Lights Paddle Parade – are adorned with an array of colorful lights and decorations, setting the water aglow, creating a mesmerizing holiday spectacle in the process.

Festive paddle sport enthusiasts parade with holiday decorated lights and clothes Friday evening Dec. 10, 2021 on the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon. Photo by Rob Kerr

Participants put their creativity on display, as they decorate their watercrafts with twinkling lights, ornaments, and other holiday-themed embellishments. As darkness falls, the magic truly begins. Paddlers embark on a leisurely journey up the Deschutes, creating a mesmerizing procession of illuminated vessels reflecting on the water’s surface.

Spectators gather along the banks, marveling at the enchanting parade of paddlers and their illuminated crafts. The Old Mill District footbridge is especially festive. The atmosphere is filled with laughter, holiday cheer, and a sense of community as friends and families come together to celebrate the season in a truly unique way.

The Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe Holiday Lights Paddle Parade is a testament to the spirit of the holiday season, highlighting the creativity and outdoor enthusiasm of the Bend community. It offers a break from the traditional festivities and provides an opportunity for people to connect with nature and one another in a memorable and magical way, making it a cherished and eagerly anticipated annual event.