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Let the holiday season begin!

Santa will make a special appearance Friday for Lake Oswego's 51st annual tree-lighting celebration


REVIEW FILE PHOTO - Santa will arrive in style Friday evening for the lighting of Lake Oswegos holiday tree and then stay to hear the Christmas wishes of good girls and boys. “There is something very magical about the Holiday Tree Lighting,” Jamie Inglis says, and it’s not just because Santa arrives on the back of a classic Lake Oswego fire engine.

“It’s the unofficial start of the holiday season in Lake Oswego,” says Inglis, who organizes the event for the city, “and many, many families through the years have made it a tradition to join us for the celebration.”

This year’s tree lighting will be the 51st, in fact. It’s set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Bigelow Plaza in the Safeway parking lot at Fifth Street and A Avenue, where the Lake Oswego High School Choir will lead the crowd in singing favorite holiday songs.

Lake Oswego Mayor Kent Studebaker and Keith Dickerson, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, will help light the tree. The chamber is one of the sponsors of the holiday celebration.

“This is one of Lake Oswego’s favorite events,” Dickerson says, “especially for families with children.”

Once those lights are aglow, the crowd will surge down A Avenue to Millennium Plaza Park for the lighting of the Millennium Tree. (During the parade, which takes about 20-30 minutes, cars and buses will not be allowed to turn on or cross A Avenue from Second to Fifth street, according to the Lake Oswego Police Department.) Leading the way will be the Lake Oswego Fire Department’s first fire engine, which it purchased in 1923.

Company, the talented song-and-dance troupe from Lakeridge High School, will perform in the park. So will the Millennium Concert Band, and there will be plenty of free candy canes, cookies, hot chocolate, coffee and other treats provided by Starbucks.

All of that will set the stage for Santa Claus, who has promised to hang around long enough to hear the holiday wishes of every good girl and boy.

In the spirit of the season, everyone is invited to bring non-perishable food items to the Holiday Tree Lighting. The food, which can be deposited in barrels and bins at Millennium Plaza Park, will be distributed to area shelters and pantries.

Joining the fire department in service will be the Lake Oswego Police Department and the City of Lake Oswego operations staff. In addition to the Chamber of Commerce and the city, event sponsors include Freeman Motors, Starbucks, Lake View Village, Safeway, Tree Care & Landscaping Unlimited and The Lake Oswego Review.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or cnewell@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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