Holiday Happenings: Let the fun begin
It's holiday season. Chow down on Thanksgiving turkey and the fixings, and then prepare to enjoy the holidays all the way up to Christmas and New Year's Eve. It's still a pandemic world, but it's also still a fun world. We shouldn't forget that.
We'll track many of the Portland holiday events each week, and check out our Holiday Events special section inserted into the Nov. 24 paper for an extensive list of things to do. Mind you, many events have COVID-19 pandemic restrictions; so, you might want to find out attendance requirements before heading out.
So, what's happening in the next week?:
• Walk or drive through Oregon ZooLights, an animal-themed display featuring 1.5 million lights that opened this week at the zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road. They show pretty much daily till Jan. 9.
• "Critters Make Merry" is the theme of this year's Christmas exhibit at Pittock Mansion, 3229 N.W. Pittock Dr., through Jan. 4.
• The Willamette Valley Visitors Association puts on its fourth annual ornament hunt in the Willamette National Forest and Umpqua National Forest. There has been 200 ornaments hidden along non-wilderness trails; find all three wooden ornaments made in Portland and you will be registered to win a grand prize. The hunt lasts until Jan. 1.
• The 2021 PDX Pop-Up Shops brings local designers and artists into vacant storefronts in downtown Portland and Old Town during the holiday season. Seven shops have popped up, and they will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays through Dec. 31 (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day). The list: Indigenous Come-Up, 719 S.W. Morrison St.; Grate Co., 1101 S.W. Washington St.; Makers Outlet, 133 S.W. Second Ave.; R&Arie, 215 S.W. First Ave.; Tabbisocks, 875 S.W. Yamhill St.; The Pickle Jar/Portland Pickles Clubhouse & Team Store, 910 S.W. Second Ave.; Ceramic NW, 300 S.W. Yamhill St.
Mayor Ted Wheeler encourages Portlanders to shop as part of the "Here for Portland: Shop Small, Show Now" campaign. "We want this holiday season to be a rewarding one for the entire Portland community," he said, adding that the city will be promoting and supporting local retailers, restaurants and suppliers.
Don't forget about Portland Saturday Market in Old Town as a great place to find gifts.
• Watch for it: Karen Thi of Bakersmann Cookies of Portland has been selected to take part in Food Network's "Christmas Cookie Challenge," and her episode airs 9 p.m. Thanksgiving night, Nov. 25.
• Listen for it: Radio stations are going to be playing holiday music through Christmas — yay?!
Meanwhile, All Classical Portland, 89.9 FM, starts its holiday programming on Thanksgiving Day, and there'll be something for everyone. Included is Gratitude Program, Karaoke Carols and Festival of Carols, celebrity chefs Alton Brown and Lidia Bastianich, Cinnamon Bear on the International Children's Arts Network (daily at noon, Dec. 1-Jan. 7) and Classical Countdown on New Year's Eve. At noon Dec. 19 with A Very Theatrical Holiday, All Classical Portland puts a new spin on holiday classics by highlighting theater groups and performers — Lakewood, Broadway Rose, Portland Playhouse and more
For a complete schedule: www.allclassical.org/holiday-2021.
• Portland's "Singing Christmas Tree" features some 300 voices, and shows take place Nov. 26-Dec. 5 at Sunset Presbyterian Church, 14986 N.W. Cornell Road.
• The Grotto Christmas Festival of Lights, 8840 N.E. Skidmore St., presents everything from puppet shows to choral performances to lights and tranquility, Nov. 26-Jan. 2 (except Christmas Day).
• Santa Claus and his elves ride the Holiday Express Train locomotive — along with you — on one-hour round-trip rides run from Oaks Park Station through Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge to the Springwater Trail gateway on the Oregon Pacific Railroad. All trains load and depart from Oaks Park, 7805 S.E. Oaks Park Way, select days, Nov. 26-Dec. 19.
More: www.orhf.org/the-holiday- express.
• Most communities will be lighting their holiday trees soon. Portland's Tree Lighting ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square, 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, will be virtual again, airing on KGW (8). The program will include a holiday sing-along with on-screen lyrics and downloadable songbooks.
• Take in Winter Wonderland, a lights spectacular at Portland International Raceway, 1940 N. Victory Blvd., from the comfort of your motor vehicle, 5 -11 p.m. nightly Friday, Nov. 26 through Jan. 1. It's tabbed as the "Largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi." There'll also be a Bike the Lights Nights, 5 p.m. Nov. 29, with bicycles only.
• How about some theater productions?
Lakewood Center for the Arts in Lake Oswego presents "Elf — The Musical," based on the Will Ferrell holiday hit movie, through Dec. 19.
Oregon Children's Theatre's "Merry Happy Everything!" is an original, three-part performance featuring local artists sharing favorite holiday stories and memories, a holiday-themed improv performance from the Impulse! Group and a musical cabaret, and it's staged Fridays-Saturdays-Sundays through Dec. 19 at Brunish Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway.
• Who doesn't love "A Christmas Carol," the Charles Dickens-inspired performance?
Broadway Rose in Tigard kicks off its version Wednesday, Nov. 24, and productions go through Dec. 23 at its theater, 12850 S.W. Grant Ave. in Tigard.
The Portland Ballet puts on a new ballet, John Clifford's "A Christmas Carol: The Ballet," 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 27-28, at Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Ave.
"A Carol for Christmas" is a world-premiere musical by Stumptown Stages, inspired by the Dickens' classic and set in the Midwest during America's 1930s Depression era. Says publicity: The themes of greed, bigotry, contempt and apathy ring true today as they did then. The cry for the gifts of love, life and caring give us all a chance to shed the chains of our past and give hope for a better future. It stages with 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. shows Nov. 27-Dec. 19 at Winningstad Theatre, 1111 S.W. Broadway.
Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and three ghosts star in "A Christmas Carol" at Portland Playhouse, 602 N.E. Prescott St, Nov. 28-Dec. 31.
• As publicity states, "What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with Storm Large?" One of Portland's premier performers (see "Crazy Enough"), Large takes the stage for the 14th time for her "Storm Large Holiday Ordeal," a night of music, gags, gifts and special guests, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Nov. 26-27, at Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave.
• Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28 at Moda Center, 1 N. Center Court St. Holiday hits include "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo."
• At Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St., it's White Album Xmas, mostly 8 p.m. shows Nov. 30-Dec. 5 and Dec. 8-11. It's a holiday spectacular, a tribute to The Beatles and a reunion of the "Cascadian Freak Family," featuring The NowHere Band and Rose City Circus.
• We'll have more later, but check out the Oregon Symphony's extensive list of shows at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway: "Handel's Messiah," Dec. 4-6; "Comfort and Joy: A Classical Christmas," Dec. 8; Northwest Community Gospel Chorus' "Gospel Christmas with the Oregon Symphony," Dec. 10-12; "It's a Wonderful Life in Concert," Dec. 13; "A Very Merry Christmas Concert" with Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez, Dec. 15; "Cirque Nutcracker," Dec. 18-19; "New Year's Eve with Gladys Knight & The Oregon Symphony," Dec. 31.
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