Thousands on three nights over the Fourth of July weekend viewed and were thrilled by Bend’s “new” Mirror Pond fete.
It was a river show entirely different from pageants of the past, dating to 1933. The great arch of blending colors was missing. And so were the floats, with fete queen and princesses riding giant swan and cygnets into the dark river.
Yet the 1960 fete was a crowd pleaser. There was more applause Sunday night, when the seating area was packed to near capacity, than in all 26 previous fetes. People were awed by the earlier arch. But awe does not draw applause.
There was plenty to applaud this year. The dancing water feature, blending music with color and motion, was a beautiful show. The young dancers from Spokane, in their colorful outfits, earned the many rounds of applause they received. Miss America was gracious.
It was a grand show, under the July stars and a quarter moon riding over the pines.
Now the show is history, and Bend must plan for other fetes on the river. What of the future?
There are some who would like to see the colorful arch of Mirror Pond fame incorporated in future shows. This is virtually out of the question. The arch is too costly. Also, there has been evidence through local attendance in recent years that Bend residents have tired of arch and floats.
The river shows of former years had a rather simple start. The “new” fete in the aquatic cove facing Drake Park Saturday night had a fine start. From this auspicious beginning, possibly an even better pageant can be built.
Through the years, the Deschutes fetes have been held primarily for one purpose, that of calling attention of visitors in the vacation season to the beauty of the river as it sweeps through Bend. Up until this year, that beauty has been destroyed for periods of more than a month out of each summer by the construction of barges, arch and ugly booms needed for the three-night show.
This year, Bend visitors enjoyed the fete in the river amphitheater facing picturesque Drake Park. And they enjoyed the full beauty of a river unmarred by wreckage.
Pageantarians can start planning for their 1961 show with the knowledge that they planned well for the 1960 fete.
They presented a show that utilized, but still retained, the beauty of the Mirror Pond.
Source: The Bulletin ©1960