Water Pageant back again: ‘2001: A Water Odyssey’

The Bend Youth Council is pleased to present to the residents of Deschutes County the 2nd Bend Water Pageant of this century, “2001: A Water Odyssey”. The pageant takes place in downtown Bend and on the banks of the Deschutes River. Honoring the Deschutes River as an intrigal player in Bend’s history we acknowledge our heritage this year with a “Water Odyssey”. Once again Bends rich and colorful heritage will unfold for our residents and visitors to our community.

In 1933 the first pageant grew from the creative minds of a few Bend citizens, graduates of the University of Oregon. Recalling the Canoe Fetes in Eugene they believed Bend could do the same but on a grander scale. A few thousand people viewed the first event “with a few small floats and a few pretty girls, drifting down the river.” By 1965 there were 19 floats, 20,000 people lining the banks of the Deschutes to view the event and a 90 foot lighted arch spanning the river.

The rebirth of the Pageant in 2000 was not designed to replicate the previous pageant but to acquaint current Bend residents with our history. Newcomers to the area never had the opportunity to participate in or experience the true community spirit of Bend in the early 30’s and 40’s, nor the extravagant Bend River Pageant. Today Bend is hailed for our livability, volunteerism and civic commitment. This certainly comes in part from the legacy left by the residents of this area in the past 90 years. Their spirit and civic commitment is not forgotten but cherished and reborn in this premier event.

“Rediscover the Spirit” in 2000 was a wonderful success. Collaborative thinking, creativity and the artistic talents of current residents made last year’s event a grand success. The weeklong pageant was presided over by the 1934 Queen Lois Maker Gumpert and the 1965 Queen Linda Mirich Williamson. Many court members from previous years were in attendance for the rebirth of this event. The community was treated to an old fashioned ice cream social; an old west BBQ and “Shoot Out” in downtown Bend presented by the Horse Ridge Pistoleros; a historic fashion show and tea set in the park featuring fashions from Bends past; and the presentation of a 30 foot lighted swan float, designed and built by community members. Over $100,000 of in-kind and volunteer labor went into the crafting and launching of this float. Court members from 1934 to 1965 gathered for a reunion at the famous Pine Tavern in downtown Bend and Saturday evening these court members floated once again down the Deschutes River to cheering crowds lining the banks of the river.

This event is “By the community – For the community.” There are no corporate sponsors. All events are “adopted” by or donated to the pageant by local businesses, agencies or individuals. We rely heavily on volunteers, in-kind donations and direct financial support. The sale of T-shirts, posters, prints and swan pins generate funds to defray the expenses of putting on a pageant of this quality and size. Our carver that produced the beautiful hand carved wooden swans last year has designed another beautiful piece for this year and we do have a few of the original 2000 swans left for purchase.

“2001: A Water Odyssey” includes new and exciting events. Kick off is Monday August 13th with the launching of the giant swan in Mirror Pond. Court members will be available . This year courts members come from local high schools in Sisters, Redmond, Bend and LaPine, having been nominated by their teachers and counselors. Final court selections will come in early June.

Tuesday August 14th the court will be making appearances throughout the county.

Wednesday August 15th brings back the sumptuous old time BBQ and the incredible Old West Shootout in downtown Bend. Come see the Horse Ridge Pistoleros with their guns blazing as they tame the old west. Two shows available.

Thursday August 16th the court will appear at Munchin Music in Drake Park.

Friday August 17th the Twilight Parade will wind through downtown Bend ending with the coronation of this years King and Queen.

Saturday morning the 18th dawns early with the running of the second annual Gravity Drag races. Children 8 to 14 will race in their derby cars down Revere Street to the cheering of residents and on lookers alike. The historic fashion show will be held in the afternoon; the day will closes with the Queens Dance–an event for the whole family.

Sunday morning the 19th join us for the first annual “Foot Race Classic.” Promotion and financial backing for this 5K-run/walk event comes from the Athletic Club of Bend. The excitement continues from noon to 5:00 pm with the Greatest Little Golf Tournament in the West. Join us for 10 holes of “Golf Around Bend”. We guarantee this will be a challenge for any golfer and the prizes at each hole are fabulous. Fun for the whole family! There will be an old fashioned hot dog and hamburger feed served family style, ice cream and drinks on the banks of the Deschutes.

Revival of the Water Pageant was designed as the Signature fundraiser for the Victims Assistance of Deschutes County. The Foundation is the sole recipient of all proceeds from this event. This state mandated program is carried under the District Attorneys office and provides a total support system for victims of all crimes in this county. We honor the work of these people and hope through community support we can present them with a generous check for their work next year.

It is important to note that this event is being designed and brought to the community by a dedicated group of local youth, ages 15 to 18. The work from the Youth Council last year set an example of quality, professionalism and true community spirit. Some of the youth from last year are returning from college to help out again this year with the event.

Source: The Bend Bugle

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