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Tree Lightings declare Christmas season is upon us

Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - A healthy crowd braves the wet, cold weather to view the lighting of the holiday tree in Forest Grove on Friday, Nov. 28.Tree lightings in Forest Grove and Banks kicked off the holiday season over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Both celebrations featured singing, treats and visits from Santa.

Forest Grove unveiled a new set of colorful lights to accompany the large, lit ornaments it added to the tree last year and to replace the white lights of years past.

The Forest Grove/Cornelius Chamber of Commerce bought the lights with help from a $2,800 Community Enhancement Program grant from the Forest Grove City Council.

Each of the 1,500 LED lights uses .04 watts of energy, compared to 40 watts per bulb for the set of white lights in the past, said Chamber Executive Director Howard Sullivan, who credits the chamber’s holiday-decorating committee with the upgrade.

In an unofficial, online contest sponsored by the News-Times last year, readers voted for their favorite holiday tree and Forest Grove came in last, with Cornelius placing first and Banks second.Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Peyton Mitchell (5) of Forest Grove visits Santa at the Forest Grove Senoir and Community Center after the ceremonial lighting of the tree.

At that time, the white lights which used to wrap around the tree trunk and thinly string its branches were gone and Forest Grove’s tree had only the large, lighted ornaments dotting its branches with the traditional white star at the top.

Before that, “for a couple years there were no lights. We just had the star,” Sullivan said. “It looked incomplete.”

Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Families took turns posing for photos beneath the Banks holiday tree after gathering to watch it light up last Sunday, Nov. 30. There may yet be more changes to Forest Grove’s lights, he said. “We’re going to be meeting and we’re hoping to get more people to join our group.”

Cornelius will light up its own tree at 6 p.m. Friday in Veterans Memorial Park, where local children will sing, Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a Cornelius Fire Department truck, and everybody will get free candy canes, cocoa and cookies.

Seasonal festivities continue in downtown Forest Grove the next day, Saturday, Dec. 6, with Holiday in the Grove, an all-day celebration that starts with Breakfast with Santa and ends with the annual Light Parade down Main Street.

Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - A youth choir sang carols at the senior center during Forest Groves post-lighting party.

Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - One-year-old Mikayla Ledford and Tiffany Douglas get a visit from Santa at the Banks tree lighting.

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