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News / Life / Clark County Life

Looking for holiday cheer? Our events guide has everything from ‘A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol’ to Zoo Lights

By Monika Spykerman, Columbian staff writer
Published: November 23, 2023, 6:08am

Through Jan. 7: Zoo Lights at the Oregon Zoo is open 4:30-7 p.m. through Jan. 7. Adult tickets range from $12 to $26 and youth tickets are $12 to $18. Buy Zoo Lights Any Night tickets at oregonzoo.org/lights to use any night and time throughout the season.

Nov. 24: The Rotary’s Club’s Vancouver Community Tree Lighting Celebration is 3:30-6:30 p.m. in Esther Short Park. The festivities include a parade, starting with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus via tugboat at 5:30 p.m. in front of the AC Hotel at 333 W. Columbia Way, Vancouver. The parade will proceed along Columbia Street toward Esther Short Park, where Santa and Mrs. Claus will be dropped off to illuminate the Christmas tree at 6 p.m. The tree will glow until New Year’s Day.

Nov. 24-26: The Southwest Washington Winery Association is hosting a Fall Celebration Weekend at 16 regional wineries and tasting rooms with discounts, gift baskets and wine bundles. Times differ at each location; before going, visit swwawine.com for a list of wineries and hours and to download a stamp card. Participants who get stamps from three wineries can win a $50 gift certificate.

Nov. 24-Dec. 31: The Winter Wonderland drive-thru light show at Portland International Raceway is 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 4:30-11 p.m. Friday through Sunday. From Dec. 15-25, hours are 4:30-11 p.m. Admission is $37 per car Monday through Thursday, $43 on Sunday and $48 on Friday and Saturday evenings. Tickets are $48 per car Dec. 15-25. Buy $32 tickets at Safeway. VIP tickets are $85. Get details at winterwonderlandportland.com.

Nov. 25-26, Dec. 2-3, Dec. 9-10, Dec. 16-17: Take a train to visit Santa with the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad’s Christmas Specials. The 1941 ALCO S2 diesel locomotive departs at 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. each day from the station in Yacolt. See views of the Lewis River then stop at Moulton Station for warm cider, cocoa and coffee. Santa will have a gift for each child. Ugly Christmas sweaters are encouraged. Get tickets ($16 to $22) at tickets.bycx.org.

Nov. 25-Dec. 30 (except Christmas): The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights, 8840 N.E. Skidmore St., Portland, features outdoor light displays, choir concerts, caroling, puppet shows and live music. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Nov. 25 through Dec. 15 and 4:45-10 p.m. Dec. 16-30. Admission is $14 for ages 12 and over and $6 for children ages 3-11. Children 2 and under are free. Discount nights ($5-$12) are Nov. 27-30 and Dec. 4-7. Tickets are $7-$18 (cards only, no cash) at the gate. Get details at thegrotto.org.

Nov. 25-26, Dec. 2-3: The Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club hosts a Holiday Open House from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day at 2505 N. Vancouver Ave., Portland. Ticket prices are $12 for adults age 12 and over, $5 for children ages 3 to 11 and free for children under 3. Buy tickets at cgmrc.com.

Nov. 30-Dec. 8: Pomeroy Farm, 20902 N.E. Lucia Falls Road, Yacolt, offers wreathmaking workshops where attendees can sip wassail and listen to Christmas music while making wreaths from fresh greenery. Bring clippers, wear gloves and dress warmly. The cost is $45 and includes materials. Workshops are 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, 7 and 8 and at 4 p.m. Dec. 2. Register at pomeroyfarm.org.

Dec. 1: Downtown Camas’ Hometown Holidays is 5-8 p.m. with Santa Claus, crafts and activities, entertainment, free hot cocoa, food vendors, after-hours shopping and art shows. The tree in front of the Liberty Theatre will be lit and “snow” will fall. Elves will hand out goodies from the Holiday Swag Wagon. For details, visit cityofcamas.us/parksrec/or call 360-834-5307.

Dec. 1: Battle Ground’s Holiday Tree Lighting Celebration is 5:30 p.m. at the Battle Ground Community Center, featuring a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, escorted by the Fire District 3 and the Battle Ground Police Department. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet children inside with free cookies and hot cocoa. Get details at cityofbg.org.

Dec. 1: Kindred Homestead Supply, 606 Main St., Vancouver, will host an Ornament and Wrapping Paper Swap from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Instead of buying new ornaments and paper, see what treasures your neighbors have. Bring old ornaments, hooks, wrapping paper, gift tags, gift boxes, gift bags, ribbon and bows. Learn more at kindredhomesteadsupply.com or call 360-719-2745.

Dec. 1-2: The Ridgefield Winter Market is 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 2 with vendors, food carts, a photo booth, raffles and Christmas shopping at Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene, 747 Pioneer St., Ridgefield.

Dec. 1-17: Magenta Theater presents the Jane Austen-inspired “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” at 1108 Main St., Vancouver. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets are $23 at magentatheater.com or $25 at the door.

Dec. 1-17: Metropolitan Performing Arts presents “A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol” at 6403 E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver. Shows are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Family Day with discount tickets is Dec. 3. Pride Night is Dec. 9. Meet Santa Day is Dec. 17. Buy tickets ($11 to $20) at mpa.booktix.com or call 360-975-1585.

Dec. 2: The Port of Camas-Washougal will host an outdoor viewing of the annual Christmas Ships parade at 6 p.m. Dec. 2 in Marina Park. The Columbia fleet will appear at various locations on the Columbia River from Dec. 1-17. See the complete schedule for both Columbia and Willamette fleet parades at christmasships.org.

Dec. 2: The Ridgefield Hometown Celebration from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. features twinkling lights, decorations, food and sales. Visit the Holiday Food and Gift Vendor Marketplace in Overlook Park from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and see Santa Claus at the Old Liberty Theater from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Attend the tree-lighting ceremony in Overlook Park at 4:30 p.m. with dancing, carols, free hot chocolate and cookies. Get details at ridgefieldwa.us.

Dec. 2: Yacolt’s Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration is 2-6 p.m. Stop by the library, 105 E. Yacolt Rd., Yacolt, to decorate paper cut-out gingerbread ornaments and get a hot chocolate goody bag to take home. Visit the outdoor market at 4 p.m. and stay for the Christmas tree lighting in the town square at 6 p.m.

Dec. 2: Ridgefield’s Candy Cane Lane on North 34th Court offers light displays, cookies, candy canes, caroling 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Bella Noche neighborhood will be closed to vehicle traffic for pedestrians to safely view light displays. Bring winter clothing donations for Ridgefield’s Family Resource Center.

Dec. 2: Sons of Norway Lodge, 2400 Grant St., Vancouver, will host a Christmas Artisan Market from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Find cutting boards, coat racks, recycled art, ornaments, handmade puppets and vintage fabric aprons. The lodge’s kitchen will sell Scandinavian delicacies. For details, email sofnvancouver@gmail.com.

Dec. 2: The Festival of Wreaths and Wine is an evening of music, wine tasting, dinner and a silent auction at the Battle Ground Community Center at 5:30 p.m. Bids are also welcome for the online auction starting Nov. 29. Tickets are $35 at www.battlegroundrotary.org.

Dec. 2: The Prairie High School Winter Carnival is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 11311 N.E. 119th St., Vancouver. The community is invited to eat free pancakes, drink hot chocolate, play carnival games, get pictures with Santa and pick out a free toy from Santa’s Workshop (or kids can pick out gifts for parents in the “Shop for Your Parents” room). Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

Dec. 2-3: The Ridgefield Winter Market is 5-8 p.m. Dec. 2 and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 3 with vendors, food carts, a photo booth, raffles and Christmas shopping at Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene, 747 Pioneer St., Ridgefield. Learn more at facebook.com/p/Winter-Market-Ridgefield-100086788043405/.

Dec. 2-3: Gather Arts Studio, 16523 N.E. 170th Ave., Brush Prairie, is hosting a Christmas Open House from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. Browse the wares of 20 local makers with many gifts under $10. Enjoy treats and snacks, enter the gift basket raffle, get permanent jewelry or buy a kid’s cookie kit. Sign up for a wreath decorating and bow-making class from noon to 2 p.m. Dec. 2 ($65), a wooden ornament decorating class from 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 2 ($45) or a cookie decorating workshop from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 3 ($55). Register for all classes at gatherarts.com/openhouse.

Dec. 2-3: Vancouver Master Chorale and orchestra present a Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 3 at First Presbyterian Church, 4300 Main St., Vancouver. The concert includes J.S. Bach’s “Magnificat” and Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Adult tickets are $25, $5 for students or free for children 12 and under. Buy tickets at vancouvermasterchorale.org or at the door.

Dec. 2, 8 and 9: Touch of Class Chorale presents “Come Gather ‘Round the Fire,” a concert featuring favorites like “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” along with choral classics. Concerts are 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at Mill Plain United Methodist Church, 15804 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd.; 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at East Woods Presbyterian Church, 16210 N.E. 20th St.; and 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver, 4505 E. 18th St. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for children ages 6-16 and free for children under 6. Get details at facebook.com/TouchofClassChoir/.

Dec. 3: La Center’s Christmas Festival is noon-7 p.m. in downtown La Center, starting with tomato soup and grilled cheese served by the Lion’s Club. The afternoon includes Christmas story time, vendor bazaar on Fourth Street, a holiday fun run, gingerbread decorating contest, fireworks, live music and visits with Santa. The tree lighting is at 4:30 p.m. Get details at www.lacenterchristmasfestival.com.

Dec. 6: Attend the Christmas Swing Dance at the Valiant Ballroom with a free beginner dance class from 6 to 6:45 p.m. followed by dancing from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets for the dance are $8 cash at the door. Enjoy swinging and swaying for 40s and 50s music with a DJ. The dance is open to all skill levels, all ages, singles, partners or groups. Festive holiday attire is strongly encouraged. Enter the ballroom through Most Everything Vintage, 815 Washington St., Vancouver. Questions? Call or text 360-449-2130.

Dec. 7: Washougal’s Lighted Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting is 5-7 p.m. in Reflection Plaza with free cookies and hot cocoa plus music by the high school band and choir. Take selfies with Santa at 5 p.m. and see the parade at 6 p.m., followed by the tree-lighting at 6:45 p.m. For details, email rose.jewell@cityofwashougal.us or call 360-835-8501, ext. 101.

Dec. 7: The community is invited to a free Chanukah Celebration at 5:30 p.m. in Esther Short Park. The event includes a menorah lighting ceremony, LED light dance presentation and a gelt drop, where children will catch chocolate coins as they rain down. Attendees should bring canned goods to donate to the Clark County Food Bank and add to the “canorah,” a menorah constructed from cans.

Dec. 8: The Hockinson Community Holiday Tree Lighting is 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Hockinson Community Church, 15918 N.E. 182nd Ave., Brush Prairie, with parking at the Hockinson Community Center and Hockinson Middle School. A 20-foot noble fir will be lit and Santa will arrive by fire truck. Enjoy free hot cocoa and chili served by Fire District 3 cadets. Enjoy live music by the Hockinson Middle School Band before the tree is lit at 6:30 p.m. Learn more at facebook.com/HockinsonMainStreet.

Dec. 8: Activate Church will host Christmas in the Park from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Esther Short Park, 301 W. Eighth St., Vancouver. The free event includes free Christmas trees, live Christmas carols, free Santa photos, hot chocolate, Christmas characters, cookie decorating and other give-aways.

Dec. 8-10: Friends of DanceWorks presents “The Nutcracker” at 7 p.m. Dec. 8-9 and at 2 p.m. Dec. 9-10 at Fort Vancouver High School, 5700 E. 18th St., Vancouver. Join Clara and her prince as they journey through the Land of Snow into the Kingdom of Sweets. Tickets are $25 to $35 at danceworksperformingarts.com or 360-892-5664.

Dec. 9: The Junior Symphony of Vancouver presents its Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. at Cascades Presbyterian Church, 9503 N.E. 86th St., Vancouver, with music by Mozart, Percy Faith and Grainger plus sing-along tunes. Tickets are $15 at the door. A reception follows the concert. For details, call 360-696-4084 or visit oregonchamberplayers.org.

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Dec. 9: Visit Get To-Gather Farm1913 S.E. 303rd Ave., Washougal, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to kick off the Christmas season with warm drinks, toasty s’mores and Christmas carols while decorating the farm’s Christmas tree. Bring an ornament to donate or decorate the tree with one of the farm’s ornaments. Weather permitting, visitors will also enjoy outdoor Christmas movies. Chestnuts roasted over an open fire will be available to buy after 1 p.m.

Dec. 9: The Clark College Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Treble Ensemble and Chorale present a holiday concert at 7:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 401 E. 33rd St., Vancouver. Admission is free, though donations are welcome. Each choir will sing a set of their own repertoire, then all choirs will combine to sing John Rutter’s “Gloria.” Other songs include “Winter Wonderland,” Ola Gjeilo’s “Tundra,” Lauridsen’s “O Nata Lux” and John Tavener’s “The Lamb.”

Dec. 9: Skamania Lodge, 1131 S.W. Skamania Lodge Way, Stevenson, is hosting a family-friendly Grinch Brunch from 8 to 11 a.m. with special guest, the Grinch. Enjoy green (scrambled) eggs, Who-hash hashbrowns, Who-la-la pancakes and a Whoville hot chocolate bar. The menu also includes ham and bacon, a corned beef casserole and mini-cupcakes. Attendees are encouraged to wear pajamas. Adults are $25.95 and children ages 12 and under are $19. Reservations are required by calling 844-432-4748.

Dec. 9: Dennis’ 7 Dees Garden Center, 10006 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., Vancouver, will host Reindeer Magic from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See live reindeer, get professional photos with Santa, purchase food from local vendors, enjoy face painting and live music. Tickets are $9 at dennis7dees.com/reindeer-magic/.

Dec. 9: The Uptown Village Association will host the annual Ugly Holiday Sweater Pub Crawl from 5 to 9 p.m. in locations throughout Uptown Village. Grab your ugliest holiday sweater and head to Uptown Vancouver for a night of cheer with a finale at Trap Door Brewing featuring live music, holiday games and prizes. Drink specials are available for everyone wearing ugly sweaters.

Dec. 9-10: The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra presents its Holiday Pops concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 10 in Skyview Concert Hall, 1300 N.W. 139th St., Vancouver. Hear classic holiday tunes and beloved pops hits. Standard seating tickets are $42 and premium seating tickets are $55 at vancouversymphony.org.

Dec. 13: Celebrate the season with The Juleps Holiday Jubilee, featuring The Juleps singing Andrews Sisters Christmas classics at 6:30 p.m. at the Kiggins Theater, 1011 Main St., Vancouver. Special guests include Santa Claus and the Tri-Tone Trio from the Ne Plus Ultra Jass Orchestra. Tickets are $25 in advance at kigginstheatre.com or $30 at the door.

Dec. 15-18: See “Elf” and “A Muppet Christmas Carol” at Kiggins Theatre. Get showtimes and tickets ($11) at kigginstheatre.com.

Dec. 16: Bells of the Cascades handbell choir will perform its “Once Upon a December” concert from 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 16 at Salmon Creek United Methodist Church, 12217 N.E. Highway 99, Vancouver. Hear new arrangements of familiar Christmas songs and many other inspiring pieces, from French carols to Gregorian chants to old English tunes. Buy tickets at the door. Adults are $20, students are $5 and children under 7 are free. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Call 360-573-3111 for more details.

Dec. 16-17: Northwest Performing Arts Alliance and Riverside Performing Arts present “A Tale of the Nutcracker” 6-7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 and 1-2:30 p.m. Dec. 17. This 1950s-themed show blends acrobatics, ballet, jazz and tap with music by Tchaikovsky and Duke Ellington. Tickets are $20-$30; call 360-694-8662 or visit 26320.recitalticketing.com.

Dec. 16-17: Columbia Dance presents a history-inspired “Nutcracker” with shows at 1 and 5 p.m. both days at Skyview High School, 1300 N.W. 139th St., Vancouver, plus a sensory-friendly show at 6 p.m. Dec. 15. Set in 1840s Fort Vancouver, the production features beavers fighting fur trappers, dancing wapato plants, covered wagons, a mystical moon woman, shipwrecked castaways and salmon swimming upstream. Buy tickets ($18-$30) at columbiadance.org.

Dec. 18: Re-Imagined Radio will broadcast “A Radio Christmas Sampler Vol. III” from 1 to 2 p.m. on KXRW-FM (Vancouver) and KXRY-FM (Portland). The show draws from “Dragnet Christmas,” a comedy record by Stan Freberg, and three radio programs, “The Stockings Were Hung” from “The Shadow” (Dec. 24, 1939); “Christmas Gift” from “The Whistler” (Dec. 24, 1951); and “Christmas Story,” from “Gunsmoke” (Dec. 20, 1952). Learn more at www.reimaginedradio.net.

Dec. 20: Re-Imaged Radio and Willamette Radio Workshop offer a live performance of “A Radio Christmas Carol” at 7 p.m. at the Kiggins Theatre, 1011 Main St., Vancouver. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children. Charles Dickens’ classic tale is reinvented as a radio program and performed on stage with voice actors and Foley artists. Get tickets at kigginstheatre.com.

Dec. 20: Northwood Public House and Brewery, 1401 N.E. Rasmussen Blvd., Battle Ground (in Battle Ground Village), presents “Beerhall Brass for the Holidays,” featuring the Festival Brass ensemble. The performance from 5 to 8:30 p.m. is free for all diners and bar patrons. Reservations are recommended by calling 360-723-0937 but walk-ins are welcome. The seven-member group features trumpets, trombones, a French horn, euphonium and tuba. Their repertoire includes popular holiday melodies ranging from popular contemporary tunes to classic works.

Dec. 22-25: See “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “White Christmas” at Kiggins Theatre. Get showtimes and tickets ($11) at kigginstheatre.com.

Dec. 31: Vancouver Elks Club, 11605 S.E. McGillivray Blvd., Vancouver, will host a New Year’s Eve Soiree from 6 p.m. until the wee hours of Jan. 1. Don 1920s attire to ring in the New Year. The evening includes Sazerac cocktails, an Italian dinner, dance and singing contests, a photo booth and a Champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $35 at EventBrite.com.