Cities welcome the holiday season with community celebrations

Hot cider, Santa and holiday music! Could it get any better?

It’s about to become the most wonderful time of year with a variety of community gatherings and celebrations destined to warm the heart of even the most die-hard OUTLOOK PHOTO: ANNE ENDICOTT - The Gresham History Museum is decked out for Christmas, complete with a comfy seat for Santa to visit with youngsters. OUTLOOK PHOTO: ANNE ENDICOTT

Gresham will kick off the holidays with its 21st annual Spirit of Christmas Saturday, Dec. 1, featuring a day packed with events and culminating in the lighting of a 60-foot Ponderosa pine in the Performing Arts Plaza.

Laura Shepard, communications director for the city of Gresham, said the longtime tradition has grown from a small downtown gathering to become a beloved community event.

“People mark their calendars for this event every year,” Shepard said. “It says a lot about the businesses and the community support that the Spirit of Christmas has been around for so many years.”

Festivities get under way at 10 a.m., when Santa Claus takes up residence to greet youngsters at the Gresham History Museum, 410 N. Main Ave. Parents can bring their own camera to capture the moment, or a professional photographer will be on hand to take photos for $5. Each family that poses with Santa will receive a commemorative ornament depicting historical scenes from Gresham’s past, such as the old Multnomah County Fairgrounds and the Farmers’ Market.

The museum, which recently underwent a significant remodel, has been decked out for the season with greenery and decorations scattered among the vignettes showcasing Gresham’s early years.

Christmas trees are adorned with ornaments donated by the family of Martin Stone, a longtime Gresham business owner, and Eelitta Stone, a former music teacher in the Centennial School District.

At 5:30 p.m., Santa will board a fire truck for the short ride to the Performing Arts Plaza, where he will hand out candy canes and lead the countdown to the tree lighting at 6 p.m. by: FILE PHOTO - Santa Claus will make a special appearance in Gresham, Fairview and Troutdale to usher in the holidays.

The winner of East County’s Got Talent, Bo Baskoro, the Dickens Carolers and Gresham Christmas Choir will perform and launch a new feature to this year’s Spirit of Christmas.

“Bo and the choir will lead the crowd in a sing-along,” Shepard said. “This makes everybody part of the event. Nothing builds community spirit around the holiday like singing. I think it will be a great new tradition for the future of the Spirit of Christmas.”

The tree lighting will be held earlier than in years past, Shepard said, to encourage folks to enjoy the holiday ambiance downtown. Visit Café Delirium and the Hoppy Brewer on Main Avenue for live Christmas Jazz music or see if your favorite painted storefront window agrees with the judges in the decorating contest sponsored by the Historic Downtown Gresham Business Association. Most merchants will remain open later in the evening to greet customers and ring in the holiday season.

“This is going to be the best one yet,” Shepherd said. “It’s going to be very festive and packed with entertainment.”

But Gresham isn’t the only place to get into the Christmas spirit.


The sixth annual Fairview tree lighting kicks off at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at Fairview City Hall and Community Park. Along with a countdown to the tree lighting at 5 p.m., Fairview’s celebration will include musical performances throughout the evening and a visit from Santa.

Community members who bring one can of food will receive a ticket for a free hot chocolate. Beverages and treats will be available for purchase from Stomping Grounds Coffee.

The event is presented by the city of Fairview’s Economic Development Advisory Committee, local businesses and community members.


Residents in Troutdale will usher in the holidays beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, with performances by the Reynolds High School Expressions singers and the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

The event coincides with Troutdale’s First Friday Art Walk, where merchants will remain open longer into the evening for shopping and dining opportunities.

Vendors with Troutdale’s Farmers’ Market will be present in the square, and the Fireside Carolers and Vivance Voices will offer traditional holiday music. Residents also are encouraged to donate a blanket, cash or nonperishable food to aid SnowCap’s holiday efforts in East County. Hot beverages will be available from Trader Joe’s and Frontier Communications.

Troutdale’s tree lighting is sponsored by the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce and the city of Troutdale.

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