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Events and attractions kick off the season, such as Portland's Singing Christmas Tree, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Pittock Mansion

COURTESY PHOTO - Cirque Musica helps ring in a season of holiday happenings with a night of acrobats, aerialists, hilarious hijinks and holiday cheer, all set to a full orchestra, Nov. 24 at Moda Center.Advertisements, Lifetime Christmas movies and jingles and songs already in the public realm nothwithstanding, it's time for the holiday season to commence — with some events joining the early foray in the week before Thanksgiving.

Remember when Black Friday used to kick off the holiday season?

Nowadays, seems like, it's October.

Still, people do enjoy the holidays, and the red and green colors and decorations, songs of the season and even circus acts — yes, circus — help ring in the season. Here are some events to consider in the next week (and then follow the Tribune each week for updates):

• Portland's Singing Christmas Tree has always been a spectacular show, and the two-hour musical production takes place Friday, Nov. 22, through Dec. 1 at Keller Auditorium, 222 S.W. Clay St.

Tickets are $20-$60 and available at portland5.com. Performance times: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 22, 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 23, 2 p.m. Nov. 24, 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 29, 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 30, 1 p.m. Dec. 1.

It's been 57 years now of Portland's Singing Christmas Tree, which features choirs and song — about 350 adult and youth voices — and Santa and dancers, actors and musicians all performing on and around a giant stage Christmas tree.

Special guests are Katie Harman and Georgene Rice.

For more: www.singingchristmastree.org.

• All aboard! The Mt. Hood Railroad's Train to Christmas Town takes visitors on a 90-mile train ride paralleling the Columbia River, along with Santa and elves and cocoa and cookies.

Rides take place Fridays-Sundays, and some weekdays in December, from Hood River and continue through Dec. 29.

It costs $47-$67. For more: www.mthoodrr.com.

COURTESY PHOTO - Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has opened its Gingerbread Adventures. Above is an image from last year's display.• The sweet structures of Gingerbread Adventures have been built and the exhibit has opened at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 S.E. Water Ave. The fourth annual event pairs a local bakery and an architecture firm to build the gingerbread structures, and they show through Jan. 2.

There'll be gingerbread house workshops on Dec. 12, 17 and 19; tickets are $20.

For more: www.omsi.edu.

• We'll have more on ZooLights later, but Oregon Zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road, gets the party started with BrewLights, two days of beer/seltzer/cider, live music, food carts, brightly lit trees, 3-D light sculptures and even the Unipiper for the 21-and-over crowd.

It takes place at 5 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 22-23 with regular admission.

For more: www.oregonzoo.org/brewlights.

• Returning to Portland, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is playing two concerts, 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, at Moda Center.

Tickets: starting at $46, $16.75 parking, www.rosequarter.com.

The group and its "Christmas Eve and Other Stories" has been a nationwide hit for years, playing favorites such as "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24," "O' Come All Ye Faithful," "Good King Joy," "Promises To Keep" and "This Christmas Day."

• Cirque Musica is coming to Portland for the first time, offering a full theatrical circus event with music from a full symphony orchestra and acrobats, aerialists, hilarious hijinks and holiday cheer.

The "Holiday Wishes" show takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at Moda Center.

Tickets: starting at $26, parking $20, rosequarter.com. For more: www.CirqueMusica.com.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pittock Mansion has book-themed decorations this season.• "A Pittock Mansion Christmas: Wonderful World of Books" exhibit opens Monday, Nov. 25 and shows through Jan. 5 (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day), from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, at Pittock Mansion, 3229 N.W. Pittock Dr.

Tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, $9 for youth (6 and older).

The mansion's rooms will be turned into magical storybook settings, featuring everything from children's books to modern-day mysteries. More than 70 volunteers developed designs for the 18 rooms, and designs will be installed Nov. 22-23.

For more: www.pittockmansion.org.


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