Bend's Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration Tomorrow
Since the 1930's, celebration of the 4th of July has been a big deal in Bend. Starting early with the annual Lion's Club pancake breakfast followed by the "not to be missed" Bend Park & Recreation Pet Parade which over the years has including everything from ponies and llamas to dogs elevated by helium balloons, to stuffed animals pulled in wagons, the event draws thousands of people from all over Central Oregon. Following the pet parade, Park and Rec sponsors the Old Fashioned 4th of July in Drake Park. The event, which runs from 11 am to 4 pm, includes live music, local artisans and lots of food and family friendly activities such as 3-legged races, gunny sack races, parachute play, water balloon toss, watermelon eating contests and more.
The "unofficial" activity on the 4th is the "Freedom Ride" where over 1000 participants ride bicycles around town, many dressed in patriotic or unpatriotic costumes. Unfortunately, over the years, this ride has involved more and more people who are intoxicated and this has taken away a lot of the fun of the activity.
The highlight of Bend's 4th of July is always the fireworks launched at 10 pm from the top of Pilot Butte. Every year the show improves and wows those who stay up to view the display. Besides the fireworks, the dry brush and grasses on Pilot Butte usually catch fire as well, which adds to the interest of the evening. The Bend Fire Department is always there to take care of these blazes before they get out of hand, although one year we can remember 1/4 of Pilot Butte burning.
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