Cocoa Crawl, tree lighting kick off holiday season during annual Gresham celebration

PMG FILE PHOTO - Celebrate the annual lighting of Greshams Christmas tree during the Spirit of Christmas event Saturday, Nov. 30Join an annual kickoff to the holidays with a free event in downtown Gresham filled with fun activities, giveaways, and a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The annual Spirit of Christmas begins at 3:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, with the Cocoa Crawl. Coordinated by the Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation, families can walk along a route to 16 "Sip Stops" hosted by downtown Gresham businesses.

A commemorative mug is required to participate, and can be purchased for $10 at the Glass Butterfly while supplies last. The walking tour is a fun way to pass the time before the tree lighting ceremony.

Following the Cocoa Crawl is the 28th annual Spirit of Christmas celebration, presented by Advantis Credit Union. From 5-6:30 p.m. in the Gresham Center for the Arts Plaza, 488 N.E. Third St., there will be live music, warm drinks, and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The ceremonial lighting of Gresham's 60-foot Ponderosa pine Christmas tree will happen promptly at 6 p.m. Before the lighting, Santa will greet the crowd, listen to children's wish lists, pose for photos and help Mayor Shane Bemis in leading the countdown to the lighting. Musical performances will include local groups and schools singing holiday songs.

Throughout the day, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., downtown Gresham will turn into the North Pole. Many of the small businesses will host fun activities for families and children to visit.

The 2019 Spirit of Christmas is sponsored by Advantis Credit Union, the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce, Riverview Community Bank, Gresham Ford, Office Depot, Clackamas County Bank, The Outlook, Weston Kia, MetroEast Community Media and more.

The event also supports SnowCap Community Charities' Fill-A-Bag fundraiser. Attendees are asked to donate a canned good during Spirit of Christmas or spare change — just 5 cents given to SnowCap buys 1 pound of food.

Cocoa Crawl

This year's sip stops include:

-- Core Coffee: enjoy delicious hot cocoa

-- Glass Butterfly: caramel apple spiced cider and 50% off Black Friday Weekend Blowout items

-- All About Kids Resale: hot cocoa and sweet treats

-- Books Around the Corner: spiced molasses cocoa and a festive scavenger hunt

-- Off the Charts Games: chocolate chip and marshmallow cookies, as well as 20% off selected items

-- Accent on Attitude: hot spiced cider

-- Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation in the Frenzi Plaza: hot cocoa and walking maps

-- Frenzi Frozen Yogurt: candy canes for hot cocoa dipping and phone calls to the North Pole

-- Boccelli's Ristorante: cookies to go with the hot drinks

-- Maggie Mae's Kids Bookshop: scoop up snowman poop and decorate a free gift bag

-- US World Class Taekwondo: cookies, ornament decorating and a special offer for a free week of lessons

-- Gresham Burrito Shop: hot cocoa

-- Dan Anderson Karate School: cookies, face painting, board breaking and a special offer for two weeks of free classes

-- Party Surprise!: holiday marshmallows and hot cocoa

-- Landmark Tax & Investment Service: peppermint or vanilla hot cocoa and crispy treats

-- ServPro of Gresham: hot cocoa served in the Arts Plaza

North Pole Village

The businesses taking part in the holiday fun include:

-- Pediatric Therapy Services: 3:45-6 p.m., hot chocolate snowman make-n-take

-- Café Delirium: 3-6 p.m., $1 off any size holiday special

-- Hoppy Brewer: 6-9 p.m., Spirit of Christmas jazz featuring Tim Paxton Quartet

-- iCandy: 2-5 p.m., cookie decorating (while supplies last)

-- Gresham Historical Society: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., pictures with Santa

-- SALT Academy of Performing Arts: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Christmas Bazaar and live caroling

-- Gresham Ford: 9-11 a.m., free Christmas character pancake breakfast

-- Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., caroling

-- Shop Girl Consignment: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., live piano and carols with mulled wine and cider

-- Sugar Cubed Cakes: 3-5 p.m., frost your own cupcake

-- Feather Your Nest: 2:30-4 p.m., holiday ornament making

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