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Mayor Travis Stovall, Santa Claus flip switch to light community tree for holidays

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall flipped the switch to light the Christmas tree Saturday evening, Dec. 4. Downtown Gresham felt more like the North Pole last weekend as businesses, elected leaders, and Santa Claus himself all put on an event that celebrated community and the spirit of Christmas.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The 70-foot Gresham Christmas tree has been lit for the holiday season. The main event of the annual Spirit of Gresham event was the lighting of the 70-foot ponderosa pine in the Gresham Arts Plaza, 488 N.E. Third St. Mayor Travis Stovall, City Council and Santa Claus teamed up to flip the switch and brighten the holidays Saturday evening, Dec. 4.

"How joyous it is to see everybody's faces and be all together," said Mayor Travis Stovall. "The year we had included tremendous challenges for many of us, but I am incredibly excited to celebrate this evening with you all."

The plaza had free food, hot drinks, music from the Mt. Hood Community College Choir, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a light display from the Holiday Light Cruise, presented by Gresham Ford, which had drivers cruising through the city earlier in the day.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus took photos with local kids during the Spirit of Gresham festival Saturday, Dec. 4. Hundreds of families made their way to downtown for the festivities, and cheered as the Christmas tree was lit for the season.

"This is one of the top events of the year (in Gresham)," Stovall said.

But it wasn't just the festivities in the Arts Plaza that drew the crowds — all day there were holiday-themed events for people to enjoy.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Kids decorated cookies at iCandy in downtown Gresham. Local bars had music and holiday drinks; Shop Girl Consignment had models showcasing the latest trends from the North Pole; Frenzi Frozen Yogurt offered telephone calls to Santa's Workshop; U.S. World Class Taekwondo and Whimsy Burrow Children's Resale Boutique had ornament decorating; Dan Anderson Martial Arts had face painting and so much more.

All of the downtown businesses had their own holiday decorations, and Main Avenue was filled with festive lights.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Oliver, 3, loved seeing the decorations at the Gresham History Museum. The Gresham History Museum was also decked out with Christmas decorations, and visitors could vote on their favorite entries in a Gingerbread House Competition — which included amazing entries like the Sugar Plum Bakery, an U.S. Forest Service lookout, and the Gresham Post Office.

All together the event was a special evening for kids in the community, who loved the activities and decorations. After getting her photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, one little girl excitedly turned to her parents.

"I knew he was real," she said with a beaming smile.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - There are several incredible gingerbread houses on display at the Gresham Arts Museum.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Festive cars cruised through Gresham to spread cheer over the holidays.


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