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Lights shine bright in St. Helens Courthouse Plaza

Annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Christmas Ships Parade draw visitors over weekend


A crowd of hundreds gathered at the Courthouse Plaza in St. Helens for the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 12.

Volunteers from St. Helens Economic Development Corp., the Main Street Program and other community members helped decorate the plaza over the weeks leading up to the ceremony. Event planner Tina Curry said the ceremony this year involved a lot more holiday décor and lighting than previous years. Several photo displays were set up in the plaza to allow visitors to take interactive photos.

The event was complete with free hot cocoa, popcorn and photos with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus starting at 5:30 p.m. Curry said volunteers handed out more than 300 cups of hot cocoa Saturday.

After the tree lighting ceremony, dozens of lighted ships sailed along the shoreline for spectators to see during the annual Christmas Ships Parade. Volunteers from across Portland and surrounding areas paraded up and down the Columbia River with their ships decorated before docking overnight in St. Helens.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Emma Westall, a 2-year-old from St. Helens, sits on Santa Claus' lap during the St. Helens Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Volunteers with Columbia River Fire and Rescue escorted Santa and Mrs. Claus to the ceremony in a fire engine.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Decorated boats wait at the St. Helens City Docks before beginning a parade towards Columbia City. Volunteers from the Christmas Ships Parade were treated to a buffet dinner in the St. Helens City Council chamber hall before beginning the show.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL - Volunteers from St. Helens Economic Development Corp. hand out popcorn and hot cocoa during the tree lighting ceremony.