Holidays are here!
The lights will go on from Pioneer Courthouse Square to the Grotto to the Oregon Zoo to Portland International Raceway. Events celebrate the holiday season throughout the Portland metropolitan area starting the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 24.
The centerpiece of ringing in the holiday season takes place at 5:30 p.m. Friday, with the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Thousands of revelers gather as the lights start to glow on the 75-foot Douglas fir.
There'll be a sing-along with Thomas Lauderdale and members of Pink Martini, the Northwest Community Gospel Choir and others.
The Grotto Christmas Festival of Lights features more than 1 million holiday lights and indoor concerts at the chapel through Dec. 30 (except Christmas Day). Info: www.thegrotto.org.
Winter Wonderland allows visitors to PIR to stay in their cars and drive to see lights and some 250 decorations along the track, Nov. 24-Dec. 26. Info: www.winterwonderlandportland.com.
The Oregon Zoo shines with 1.5 million LED lights and animal-themed decorations, and, of course, the animals during during ZooLights through Jan. 7. Info: www.oregonzoo.org.
Already open is the display "A Very Portland Christmas" at Pittock Mansion, which combines holiday decorations at the historic mansion with city themes such as Powell's Books, Packy the elephant and Peacock Lane.
Local musicians play daily in the Music Room.
Visit through Dec. 31. Info: www.pittockmansion.org.
Other holiday happenings in the next week (and beyond, for planning purposes):
• The Portland Ballet puts on its holiday shows, "The Enchanted Toyshop" and "Tourbillon," Friday through Sunday, Nov. 24-26, at Lincoln Performance Hall.
Also, check out a not-so-traditional show "A John Waters Christmas," starring the famous Hollywood director in a one-man show, 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at the Aladdin Theater.
Look for stories on each at www.portlandtribune.com.
• It doesn't get much more festive than Portland's Singing Christmas Tree, which includes a 300-voice choir joined by dancers, a cinematic Nativity and Santa at Keller Auditorium, Nov. 24-Dec. 3. Info: www.singingchristmastree.org. Tickets are $20-$60. Showtimes are 2 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, noon Sunday, Dec. 3.
• Truman Capote's tender holiday tale, "A Christmas Memory," is paired with the original presentation of "Winter Song" at Portland Center Stage at the Armory, through Dec. 31.
Local favorite Leif Norby takes the stage in "A Christmas Memory." It's Capote's autobiographic recollection of his rural Alabama boyhood, a holiday story of enduring friendship.
"Winter Song" is performed by singer Merideth Kaye Clark and The Armory's Brandon Woolley, as they sing about love, loss, family, solitude, renewel and friendship.
Tickets start at $25. Regular show time is 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays and 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Info: www.pcs.org.
• The Portland Spirit has a fun, holiday-themed trip on the Willamette River, Cinnamon Bear Cruise. Info: www.portlandspirit.com.
• At Oaks Park, one-hour Christmas train rides on the decorated Holiday Express resume along Willamette River, with an opportunity to meet the jolly fella himself, Santa Claus, through Dec. 17. It's put on by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation. Info: www.orhf.org/the-holiday-express.
• For one night only, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29, the Oregon ZooLights provides an opportunity for the 21-and-over crowd — BrewLights, as in beer, wine and cider while strolling among the forests of brightly lit trees and dazzling 3-D light sculptures. Info: www.oregonzoo.org/brewlights.
• Shopping takes the spotlight, starting on Black Friday, and there are plenty of bazaars, too.
With some 900 booths filled with holiday gifts, including 500 with handcrafted items, America's Largest Christmas Bazaar draws the holiday crowds the next two weekends — Nov. 24-26 and Dec. 1-3 at the Expo Center. Admission is $8 for adults; on Dec. 1, admission is free with two cans of food for the Portland Police Sunshine Division. Info: www.expochristmasbazaar.com.
• Orchestral concerts are abundant during the holidays. Led by pops conductor Jeff Tyzik, the Oregon Symphony is joined by the Pacific Youth Choir and Ashley Brown (from Broadway's "Mary Poppins") for a rollicking night of carols and beloved holiday tunes, "A Pops Holiday," 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Tickets start at $24. Info: www.orsymphony.org.
• Broadway Rose concludes its 2017 season with the retro Christmas revue "Your Holiday Hit Parade," created by Portland musical theater maestro Rick Lewis ("A Taffeta Christmas," "Christmas on Broadway") and Broadway Rose co-founder Dan Murphy. Opening night is Friday. It stages through Dec. 23 at Broadway Rose New Stage in Tigard. Evening performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; matinees are 2 p.m. Sundays and some Saturdays. Tickets start at $30. Info: www.broadwayrose.org.
• Outside of the Portland area, two attractions will surely draw plenty of visitors.
The Train to Christmas Town, sponsored by the Mt. Hood Railroad, includes storybook characters such as Wabash the squirrel, Zephyr the cat, and Bumblebee the bear. Info: www.mthoodrr.com/train-to-christmas-town.
Christmas in the Garden at the Oregon Garden in Silverton opens Friday and goes through Dec. 31 (excluding Christmas Eve and Christmas). It's all about lights, German food and beverages, artisan vendors, firepits, carolers, Santa, ice skating and more. Info: www.oregongarden.org/events/christmas-in-the-garden.
• The Trans-Siberian Orchestra won't be visiting Portland this year, instead performing in Seattle on Nov. 25 and Eugene on Nov. 26.
But Mannheim Steamroller does visit, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Tickets start at $30. Info: www.portland5.com. The group has been touring since 1984 and joins members of the Oregon Symphony in Portland.
• We'll have a story in an edition of the Tribune next week, but for now plan on stopping by Pioneer Courthouse Square for the Holiday Ale Fest, Nov. 29-Dec. 3. It'll be inside tents and out of the weather as attendees sip among the 55 craft beers, ciders and meads. Info: www.HolidayAle.com.
• The annual Storm Large Holiday Ordeal is sold out Friday and Saturday at the Aladdin Theater. If you're a Storm fan, find somebody with a ticket.
If you're a fan of Jane Lynch, one hopes you bought a ticket for "A Swingin' Little Christmas," Tuesday, Nov. 28, at the Newmark Theatre, because it's sold out. Maybe a friend has an extra ticket?
• Ideas for coming weeks: Providence Festival of Trees, Dec. 1-2; Christmas Ships Parade, Dec. 1-21; "Twist Your Dickens," Dec. 8-31; Oregon Ballet Theatre's "Nutcracker," Dec. 9-24; 27th annual Tuba Christmas Concert, Dec. 9; Victorian Belle Christmas, Dec. 9-23; Michael Allen Harrison and Aaron Meyer holiday concerts, starting in mid-December; Peacock Lane, Dec. 15-31; Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas Rocks Tour, Dec. 27.
The Tribune will highlight Holiday Happenings in each of the coming weeks.