News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters parades its holiday spirit

Snowfall framed the picturesque 42nd annual Sisters Christmas Parade on Hood Avenue last Saturday. Horses and dogs, Zumba dancers and firefighters braved the cold, waving and handing out candy to a thin but enthusiastic crowd.

“Horse, and Santa Claus,” were the parade’s highlights, according to local resident Iliana Gonzales, age four. She had many gorgeous equines to choose from. Many pulled festive carts and carriages. Sisters Rodeo Queen Riann Cornett rode by on her horse, Tequila. There was a fuzzy miniature horse named Monty, from Natural Hoofcare of Bend. Monty was shod in handsome hoof boots to protect his bare feet from the hard pavement, instead of traditional horseshoes.

The classic small-town parade was led by veterans bearing flags and waving to the crowd. Red light swirled from atop fire trucks, their sturdy tires clattering with chains.

Dogs could be seen in abundance, from corgis to Newfoundlands to a St. Bernard. Some pulled merrily decorated mini carriages. Others pulled their owners.

The Pacific Northwest Newfoundland Club showed off their “gentle giants.” Some of the dogs were so friendly, the owners could hardly pull them away from the crowd.

A singer-guitarist and keyboard duo played and sang rockin’ Christmas carols atop a float from Sisters Church of the Nazarene. Sisters Park & Recreation District’s Zumba fitness dancers grooved down Hood Avenue, following their banner. It was carried by SPRD kids Amaya Wyrick and Paxton Seeley, dressed in candy-cane-striped stockings.

The High Desert Brigade and NW Civil War Council wished visitors “Merry Christmas from 1863.” Clad in beautiful costumes evoking the 19th century, they asked longtime emcee Bob Buckmann to tell the crowd about their annual Civil War enactment in Camp Sherman.

At the end came Santa’s picture-perfect, old-fashioned “sleigh” — actually a sparkling white, horse-drawn carriage.

Kaia Backouris, age 8, moved to Sisters recently and began attending Sisters Elementary School. This was her first time being in snow.

“I just love everything about snow,” she said, eyes wide. She described the parade as “really cool and fun.” Her favorite part was “the rodeo queen and her horse.”

Sixteen-year-old Hope Johnson and her dad, Jeff, were visiting from Corvallis.

“Community and coming together,” is what holiday celebrations in Sisters represent to Hope. Her favorite part of the parade was “being warm and welcome, seeing everyone come together and celebrate Christmas as a community.”

The Johnson family lives in Corvallis and has owned a second home in Sisters Country for “probably 30 years,” according to Jeff. “Our family’s come over here quite a bit. We come over at Thanksgiving time; it’s nice because there’s snow. That’s the fun part. Snow is Christmas!”

“Seeing the different floats, seeing what people are putting together,” is what draws Jeff back to the parade every year. “It’s nice to see the little things, the new ideas. There’s always something a little different every year.”

This year’s parade, with the theme “A Sisters Country Christmas,” was sponsored by Hayden Homes and presented by the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce. Afterward, folks gathered at the Chamber’s visitor center on Main Avenue. There, people of all ages mingled and chatted while waiting in line to meet Santa Claus.

“Seeing the fire engines was my favorite part of the parade,” said Alexei Peters with a chuckle, as his kids hid shyly behind him, munching on parade candy. “And of course, Santa.”

Peters said his Portland-based family comes to Sisters Country almost every Thanksgiving.

“We stay at Black Butte Ranch. We always come to the parade,” he said. “Last year’s was longer, because it was a little bit better weather. Only the hardy people came out this time.”


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