Soggy weather fails to keep away holiday spirit

by: VERN UYETAKE - James and Elizabeth Daugherty, holding their daughter, Georgia, are excited as the countdown begins for the Lake Oswego holiday tree lighting at Bigelow Plaza.The Lake Oswego holiday tree lighting has been blessed with weather even beyond the hopes of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce in recent years.

That happy weather winning streak ended Friday as the cold rain refused to let up at the Safeway parking lot on Fifth Street (where Bigelow Plaza is located) for the 48th annual version of Lake Oswego’s biggest holiday event.

The crummy conditions made it impossible for dads to perch their children up on their shoulders to better appreciate the holiday happenings. Instead, they had to use umbrellas.

However, the holiday spirit still made its appearance in Lake Oswego. About 1,000 people and a fair number of dogs braved the drippy weather to attend the VERN UYETAKE - Hazuki Bacon, 9, lets Santa Claus know what she wants for Christmas when he visited Millennium Plaza Park.

It was impossible not to get into the holiday spirit thanks to the booming rendition of Christmas favorites sung by the Lake Oswego High School carolers, who were in excellent voice for “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” “Up on the Rooftop,” “Holly Jolly Christmas,” “Let it Snow,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Deck the Halls,” “Jingle Bells,” “O Christmas Tree,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and others.

The singers proved to be a great warm-up for the giant tree lighting. Taking his last turn as honorary tree lighter was outgoing Lake Oswego Mayor Jack Hoffman, who was accompanied by Chuck O’Leary, executive director of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce. They encouraged the folks to express peace on earth, goodwill toward men, plus do their Christmas shopping locally.

After the cheering died down, the revelers made a procession to Millennium Plaza Park, where there was much more fun holiday stuff. Hoffman and O’Leary lit up another huge Christmas tree, Lakeridge High School’s Company gave its annual dynamo performance in the plaza and cookies, candy canes and hot chocolate were passed out to the throng. The popular Millennium Concert Band kept the atmosphere festive. Ultimately, Santa Claus appeared to the delight of all the little duffers.

The annual Tree Lighting Celebration was organized by the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce and the city of Lake Oswego.

Sponsors included the Lake Oswego Review, Lake View Village, Tree Care & Landscapes Unlimited, Directors Mortgage Inc., Safeway, Moonstruck Chocolates, Starbucks, Marcia Kies of Hasson Realtors and Prudential Northwest Properties.

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