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Festivals, festivities, fun light up start of Christmas season

Clark County’s celebration of approaching holiday has many branches

By , Columbian staff writer
13 Photos
Joni Zimmerman, center, visits reindeer at the 2016 Uptown Christmas in the Village Block Party.
Joni Zimmerman, center, visits reindeer at the 2016 Uptown Christmas in the Village Block Party. (The Columbian files) Photo Gallery

The sweetest people Lindsey Norberg ever met moved here from Hawaii. They aren’t Hawaiian natives, she said, but they learned that warm, laid-back culture at its source and brought it back to the chilly Pacific Northwest, and to Norberg. “I fell in love a little” with a different way of life, she said.

So when Norberg, a graphic designer, signed up to help create an origami Christmas tree for Divine Consign’s annual charity raffle, she envisioned decorating it with island life and gleaming teal green, “the color of Hawaiian waters,” she said. Her classmates and origami teacher Holly Williams loved the idea, and they all worked for two months to cut and fold paper into approximately 350 colorful flowers, fish, sailboats and other tropical delights.

“I really wanted something that, when you look at it, it just makes you happy,” Norberg said.

The Maui Christmas tree created by Norberg, Williams and their fellow origami crafters is one of four you can view and buy $5 chances to take home, with all proceeds going to local charities. Maui Christmas raffle sales will support mental health clinic Children’s Center; the other options are a barnyard-themed a Friends of Hospice tree, a pet-themed Humane Society for Southwest Washington tree and a classic, shimmery, silver-and-gold tree that supports the charitable efforts of Divine consign, a nonprofit furniture resale shop.

The trees will be raffled at a reception set for 6 p.m. Dec. 15 at Divine Consign, 904 Main St., Vancouver.

If You Go

Downtown Vancouver

Vancouver Rotary Tree Lighting

When: Starts at 4 p.m. Nov. 23 with music, vendors, carriage rides; 6 p.m., Santa lights the tree; 6:15 p.m., Vancouver Community Concert Band at the Hilton.

 Where: Esther Short Park and Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St.

Admission: Free.

More information:

Vancouver Farmers Market Holiday Market

When: 3 to 8 p.m. Nov. 23; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 24; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 25.

Where: Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St.

Admission: Free.


When: 7 p.m. to midnight Dec. 8.

Where: Main Event Sports Grill, 800 Main St., Vancouver.

Admission: Free, other than mandatory Santa attire.

Divine Trees at Divine Consign

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, now through Dec. 15.

Where: Divine Consign, 904 Main St., Vancouver.

Tree raffle: 6 p.m. Dec. 15. Raffle tickets: $5.

Uptown Village

Christmas in the Village festivities

When: Tree lighting, biker Santa, music: 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 24.

Where: Compass Church, 1812 Main St.

Reindeer Block Party at Vancouver Pizza

When: 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 2.

Where: 2200 block of Main Street.

Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl

When: 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 15.

Where: Wherever they let you in, Main Street.

Twinkly and bright

Divine Consign’s little in-house tree festival is the traditional prequel to the huge annual event in Esther Short Park on Nov. 23: the Vancouver Rotary Tree Lighting, featuring twinkling lights, carriage rides (no LOCI train this year), a holiday market and live music by children’s choirs, a community band and one jazzy crooner.

Santa Claus is booked to arrive in time for the 6 p.m. lighting of 11,000-plus bulbs on Vancouver’s Christmas tree, but this year he’ll have a tough sister act to follow. Famous siblings Elsa and Anna — that is, Queen Elsa and Princess Anna of Arendelle from the animated Disney movie hit “Frozen” — will be on hand this year to greet fans in person and in song.

Everything gets going at 4 p.m. with holiday music from the Hough Glee Kids under the direction of Anson Service; Elsa and Anna sing at 4:30 p.m.; the combined Chinook Elementary and Fruit Valley Elementary school choirs, under the direction of Lorelai Aloha, take the spotlight at 5 p.m.; and old-school Vancouver showman and bandleader David Cooley and his “COOLEY Show” take over 5:30 p.m. While that’s happening, you can visit food vendors who’ll be happy to sell you something hot to nosh on.

Feast your eyes on the big tree as it goes twinkly and bright at 6 p.m., then head across the street to the Hilton Vancouver Washington for more holiday sounds by the Vancouver Community Concert Band, plus an indoor holiday market hosted by the Vancouver Farmers Market. The market continues all day Nov. 24 and 25.

Uptown Village

If you can’t make it to the Nov. 23 downtown festivities, don’t let that shrink your disappointed heart to Grinch-ish proportions. Just head to Uptown Village on Nov. 24, and again on the afternoon of Dec. 2 and the evening of Dec. 15, for variations on the same yuletide themes.

Uptown’s tree lighting is set for 5 p.m. Nov. 24 outside Compass Church. The event features holiday music by the Hough Community Choir, local vendors and crafts for kids. Also, a certain special guest will be showing up at around 6 p.m. — on a Harley, we’re told — to pose for photos with children. Bring your camera.

Then, from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 2, Vancouver Pizza hosts its annual Reindeer Block Party featuring live music by Ebony Notes as well as live reindeer Blitzen and Comet, direct from the North Pole (via the Reindeer Express farm of Spokane). Meet Santa Claus (who always seems to be in Vancouver), do some free crafting and check out holiday vendors.

And, Uptown Village hosts its annual Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl from 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 15.

Red suits required

That Santa Claus character shows up everywhere, doesn’t he? From 7 p.m. until midnight Dec. 8, many of him (and her, and them) will ho-ho-ho at the Main Event Sports Grill, which hosts an annual SantaCon dinner and party. Donations of new socks and underwear will be passed along to Share Vancouver, which serves the hungry and homeless.

Full Santa-themed attire is mandatory, we’re told. That means absolutely no ugly sweaters.