Holiday Happenings: Celebrations go on
Well, it's a holiday season unlike any other in many of our lifetimes with the COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions, but we can take solace in the fact that holiday lights and trees can still be displayed, turkeys can still be cooked, presents can still be purchased and given to loved ones, and parties can still be held (virtually, if you want).
With Gov. Kate Brown's "freeze" order, larger gatherings in Multnomah County won't be allowed until Dec. 18.
And, many events and attractions already had been canceled: the Singing Christmas Tree, Peacock Lane, Miracle of a Million Lights/Victorian Belle Christmas, America's Largest Christmas Bazaar, Holiday Ale Fest, Portland Saturday Market, Oregon Ballet Theatre's "The Nutcracker" and anything live at Portland'5 Centers for the Performing Arts.
But, there are some events and attractions still happening. Here's an updated rundown:
• Oregon Zoo's Zoolights has turned into a drive-thru event, at least during the "freeze," and it's expected to remain open till Jan. 10 (except Dec. 25) at the zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road. For info and tickets: http://www.oregonzoo.org/zoolights.
• A popular drive-thru experience, the Sunshine Division Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway, 1940 N. Victory Blvd., opens Friday, Nov. 27, and continues through Jan. 2. Hours are 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 5-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. The walking and bike nights are not taking place. Info: http://www.winterwonderlandportland.com.
• Watch KGW-8 for the 36th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, at Pioneer Courthouse Square. It's not being promoted as an in-person event because of the huge number of people it usually draws to the square. Info: http://www.thesquarepdx.org.
• Portland Center Stage plans two online events: "Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol," beginning Saturday, Nov. 28, and "The Bells That Still Can Ring," beginning Dec. 12. Info: http://www.pcs.org.
• Christmas at The Grotto, 8840 N.E. Skidmore St., has changed because of the shutdown. The Christmas Festival of Lights had already been canceled, and now there won't be any public gatherings in the grounds or gardens. The gift shop remains open with Mass celebrated daily (capacity of 25 people). It could open up later in December. For more: http://www.thegrotto.org.
• Pittock Mansion, 3229 N.W. Pittock Drive, has closed temporarily, putting the Christmas exhibit "Critters Make Merry" on hold. It was scheduled through Jan. 4; it remains to be seen whether it'll open. Info: http://www.pittockmansion.org/events.
• Because of the "freeze," Oregon Rail Heritage Center's Santa's Enginehouse tours have been stopped for now at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, 2250 S.E. Water Ave. But, plans are to open up Dec. 18-23 and Jan. 1-3 with 50-minute tours being given. There won't be a Holiday Express train this year. Info: http://www.orhf.org.
• Safeway/Providence Festival of Trees will be different with its online gala, 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, and "Christmas Special," 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, on KATU-2. There won't be any in-person events. Info: http://www.ProvidenceFoundations.org.
• As of now, it appears the Christmas Ships Parade will take place on the Willamette/Columbia rivers, Dec. 4-22, although the meet-and-greet event Dec. 19-20 won't be happening. Stay up to date by visiting http://www.christmasships.org or its Facebook page.
• Broadway Rose Theatre, a Tigard musical theater company, presents "Christmas My Way — A Sinatra Holiday Bash," a virtual show available to rent Dec. 4-31. Info: http://www.broadwayrose.org.
• Online fun can be had with "The Hip Hop Nutcracker," 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Info: http://www.portland5.com.
• Holiday music goes virtual with Jim Brickman's "Comfort & Joy At Home," 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, at http://www.portland5.com.
• Another online music event is Portland Youth Philharmonic's "Virtual Concert-At-Christmas," 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 26 at http://www.portlandyouthphil.org.
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