Vancouver prepares for annual lighting of Christmas tree

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter

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It’s beginning to look a lot like … well, we all know how that song goes.

That sense of the approaching holidays will make a big leap forward on Friday when one of the community’s most visible aspects of Christmas bursts to life.

Santa Claus will hit the switch at 6 p.m. and, in a bloom of multi-colored lights, a venerable Douglas fir in Esther Short Park, West Sixth and Esther streets, will assume its annual role as Vancouver’s Christmas tree.

The transition started Wednesday morning when a team from St. Mary’s Services strung thousands of lights on the tree.

The workers used two hoists to reach the upper levels of the tree, which is around 100 feet tall.

Illuminating the towering tree is always the highlight — so to speak — of the day-after-Thanksgiving celebration, but it’s not the only element of the Friday festivities.

The Vancouver Pops Orchestra will open its holiday song book in a concert at 6:20 p.m., across the street at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St. It’s a free performance, but donations are requested.

The Friday night festivities are sponsored by the Vancouver Rotary Foundation.

Friday also will mark the start of the holiday version of the Vancouver Farmers Market near the west side of Esther Short Park. It runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.