Sunriver’s Grand Illumination


Hello Bend! We spent the day after Thanksgiving at the North Pole! Sunriver Resort brings on the fun at their annual Grand Illumination event. A blanket of snow covered the landscape which set the scene for a beautiful event. Upon arrival, we hit the “North Pole” tent, which was heated & offered tons of fun for the little ones with crafts, face painting & magic! There were also cool local artisans, a few food trucks and a bar for the adults.

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Live music, Victorian Carolers & a visit from a live Snowman add to the allure of this Sunriver holiday tradition. At just about 5:30 on the dot the crowd started counting down…3…2…1 & then POW…the brilliance of thousands of lights! The illumination of the resort and the surrounding grounds was spectacular! There was even a short firework display to top it off. The parade that followed was so cute…but short. A few decorated golf carts from the local residents followed by a proper parade float with the big guy himself, Santa!


The event ran from 1:30-7:00. I was a little worried about arriving too late as I didn’t want to fight the crowd….then I remembered we live in Bend! Crowd, what crowd? It never seems too crowded at any event, party or festival.  Definite benefit of living in a smaller town, yes another perk of Living the Bend Life!

We arrived around 4:00, which was perfect as the North Pole tent was not too crowded and gave the kids a chance to partake in the special events. It also gave us the opportunity to park in the resort parking area which made for an easy getaway after the festivities. Sunriver Resort actually closes the main road to the lodge at which point visitors must take the shuttle from the Village Center. I’m not sure exactly what time the road closes, sometime after 4:00, but I do know I didn’t want to be stuck trying to catch the shuttle at the end of the night with all the other visitors. It was a chilly 24 degrees when we arrived….and 10 when we left, so be sure to bundle up properly.

As one of Sunriver’s Annual Holiday Traditions, it sure did not disappoint. I’m sure this will become one of our family traditions as well. What better way to spend the day after Thanksgiving, then enjoying the holiday cheer & a beautiful display of lights? We will definitely be back in the next few weeks to admire the lights again and take advantage of Sunriver’s Holiday Sleigh Rides. We are all looking forward to riding in a One-Horse Open Sleigh along the Deschutes River!


*Illumination photos courtesy of Sunriver Resort

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