pendleton welcome

As the old song goes, it’s the most wonderful time of year.

Yes, the holiday season is fast approaching–and with it comes all kinds of holiday cheer throughout Pendleton. From bazaars and live music to community events and glow-in-the-dark dodgeball with Santa Claus (you read that right), there’s no shortage of Christmas cheer for the young and the young at heart.

So whether you’re looking for a traditional holiday experience or something off the beaten path, here’s a look at what’s to come over the next few weeks in and around Pendleton.

Nov. 17: Connect With Local Artists at the Altrusa Holiday Bazaar

Get a jumpstart on shopping season with the always-popular Altrusa Holiday Bazaar, where roughly 90 vendors come together to sell crafts, food, and other handmade items you won’t find anywhere else.

In addition to the bazaar itself, the fun includes raffle prizes (including $1,500 in holiday cash, a $500 gift card, a getaway package to Wildhorse Resort & Casino, and more).

Nov. 17: Shine Your Boots for the Cowboy Christmas Ball

With roots dating back to 1991, the Cowboy Christmas Ball has become a cherished Pendleton holiday tradition.

Some 300 patrons gather each year, don their best gala and semi-formal attire, and enjoy food, drinks, dancing, live music, socializing, raffles, silent auctions, and more–with money going to a good cause in the community.

Nov. 22: Work Up an Appetite for Thanksgiving Dinner

Work up an appetite for Thanksgiving dinner with the Club 24 Turkey Trot. The event includes a 5K run/walk and a one-mile dash for kiddos, with proceeds benefiting warming stations in Pendleton and Hermiston. Participants are invited to dress in costume, and the run begins at the scenic Sno Road Winery in Echo.

Nov. 23-Dec. 31: Find an Artistic Gift at the Pendleton Center for the Arts

Looking for a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted gift? Stop by the Art of the Gift Invitational, running Nov.23-Dec. 31, 2018, at the Pendleton Center for the Arts. The showcase includes handmade works from artists throughout the United States. Most gifts fall into the $35-$75 range, and the Center prides itself on spotlighting a mix of fun, funky, and formal works of art.

Nov. 24: Stock Up at the Wildhorse Holiday Bazaar

With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, it’s firmly time to focus on gift-giving–so why not stop by the Wildhorse Holiday Bazaar for food, holiday merchandise, artwork, handcrafted items, and more?

Roughly 60 vendors will be on hand to sell their wares, but the fun goes beyond finding the perfect gift:  Santa Claus will make an appearance, and little ones can stay entertained with an arts and crafts station.

Nov. 29-Dec. 1: Catch a Local Production of “The Nutcracker”

For more than 50 years, Tchaikovsky’s world-famous ballet has been a holiday tradition throughout the United States. That tradition is alive and well in Pendleton, where the Pendleton Ballet Theatre’s production of “The Nutcracker” stars local little ones in sharing the story of the Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and–naturally–the famous Nutcracker.

Nov. 30: Go for a Holiday Stroll

Holiday fun in downtown Pendleton

Looking for a quick, but potent dose of holiday cheer? Head to downtown Pendleton for the Third Annual Holiday Stroll–and come ready to have fun.

Help decorate Pendleton’s Christmas Tree at the Hamley Steakhouse courtyard, welcome Santa to town, count down to the official tree lighting, unwind at a Christmas social with the Pendleton Chamber of Commerce, enter giveaways at downtown merchants, and stay warm with cups of hot chocolate.

If you can’t get into the holiday spirit by the end of the stroll, you just might be the Grinch.

Dec. 1: Play Glow-in-the-Dark Dodgeball With Santa

The headline says it all: Father Christmas will take a break from making his list (and checking it twice) to referee a few games of glow-in-the-dark dodgeball at the Pendleton Recreation Center.

Teams of five can register to participate in one of two age groups: youth (ages 8-16) and an open (ages 16 and older) division. The fun includes popcorn for curious onlookers, fun and quirky prizes, photos with Santa, and more. Note that registration ends on Nov. 26, 2018.

Just be to follow the rules: He knows who’s been naughty and nice.

Dec. 7-8: Get Into the Spirit of the Season With Fun for All Ages

winterfest treeEach year, the CHI St. Anthony Hospital Foundation hosts two days of holiday fun for children of all ages with WinterFest.

The WinterFest evening gala kicks things off with a full evening for Mom and Dad. The fun includes a cash bar, a DJ to keep the party going, dancing, a filling dinner of prime rib and salmon, live and silent auctions, and more. Each year, the auctions spotlight fully decorated trees, along with thematically related gifts to be placed underneath.

Then on Saturday, kids get into the holiday spirit with WinterFest Family Day. Little ones can visit Santa, enjoy lunch with his elves, make ornaments, write letters to Santa, and more.

Dec. 9: Hear All Your Favorite Holiday Tunes with the Oregon East Symphony

Sure, you can queue up Christmas classics on Spotify or flip through the radio (where at least one station has been playing holiday music non-stop since October).

But we’d also suggest enjoying the Oregon East Symphony’s annual Holiday Music Festival, which celebrates the season alongside a variety of community music ensembles. This year’s featured performers include the Eastern Oregon Community Big Band, the Pendleton Men’s Chorus, Our Songs are Alive, and Sisters In Song.

Nightly: Check Out Christmas Lights Around Town

Is there anything more magical than waiting until the sun goes down and driving around town, oohing and aahing at homes lit up with hundreds, if not thousands, of Christmas lights? We think not. The holidays can be busy, so take time to slow down and appreciate the sights of the season.

With so much happening around town, you’ll want to be in the middle of all the holiday action. Check out our accommodations in and around Pendleton–options include historic hotels, B&Bs, resorts, lodges, and more.