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Lights brighten holiday displays

by: JIM CLARK, 
The Christmas Festival of Lights at the Grotto begins the day after Thanksgiving with more than 500,000 lights, 150 choral performances, a petting zoo, carolers and puppet shows.

It's free, and one needs to just drive on Highway 26 west to see and enjoy it.

The Shilo Inns Corporate Headquarters, 11600 Shilo Lane, located on the right side off Highway 26 near the intersection with Cedar Hills Boulevard, will be adorned with holiday lights and decorations for another month, starting Friday, Nov. 27. About 100,000 colored bulbs are lighted up at dusk each day, making the Shilo holiday display one of the country's largest. It's done in conjunction with a toy drive and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves.

'It takes anywhere from two to three weeks to put up,' says Ivan McAffee, Shilo vice president of sales and marketing.

'Our electric bill goes up a little bit, but it's not about the costs, it's about Christmas and the holiday season and really giving back to the community. We've incorporated a salute to the troops serving overseas.'

Toys for Tots can be dropped off at the Shilo headquarters.

McAffee adds, humorously: 'We're not right on the freeway, I don't think we're blinding anybody.'

There will be several holiday lights displays and celebrations across town. Some of the bigger ones:

ZooLights

About one million lights, including 200 animated animals, will be on display, and the mountain goats, leopards, tigers, sea lions, sea otters, polar bears, farm animals and elephants will be visible; Oregon Zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road, 5 to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; 5 to 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; Nov. 27 to Jan. 3 (closed Dec. 24 and 25); $10 adults, $8.50 seniors (65 and older), $7 children (3 to 11).

Winter Wonderland

It's a drive-through of 250 displays, 40 animated scenes and a 200-foot Tunnel of Lights; Portland International Raceway, 1940 N. Victory Blvd., 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays; Nov. 26 to Dec. 27 (except Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 21 and 22), $16 car, $18 car with eight people or more.

Peacock Lane

The street between Southeast Stark and Belmont has been known for its lights displays since the 1920s; Peacock Lane, just east of Southeast 39th Avenue, 5 to 11 p.m. Dec. 15; 6 to 11 p.m. Dec. 16 to 30; 6 p.m. to midnight Dec. 24 and 31; free.

Festival of Lights

A 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden will shine in holiday splendor; The Grotto, Northeast 85th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard, 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27 to Dec. 30 (closed Christmas Day); $7.50 adults, $3 children (3 to 12).

The city's tree

A 75-foot tree will be adorned with lights in the 25th annual event and for the holiday season; Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 S.W. Sixth Ave., 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, free.