Joanna Yorke & Kelly Moyer
CLARK COUNTY — With this year’s Thanksgiving already a thing of the past, many Clark County area municipalities are gearing up to kick off the Christmas season.
Some cities hold all-day festivities complete with entertainment, refreshments and more, while others hold tree lighting ceremonies that include visits with Santa, hot cocoa, cookies and more.
Here are the different tree lighting ceremonies and holiday festivals going on around the Clark County area this holiday season.
The annual Battle Ground Christmas Tree Lighting and Celebration will be Fri., Dec. 2, at the Battle Ground Community Center/Fairgrounds Park area, 912 E. Main St., in Battle Ground.
The evening will start off at 5:30 p.m. with the Battle Ground High School Jazz Choir who will sing Christmas carols. Santa will arrive by fire truck, courtesy of Clark County Fire District 3, at 5:45 p.m. and will light the tree at 6 p.m.
From 6-7:30 p.m., children and families can meet Santa and get pictures taken for $5. Money raised through pictures with Santa benefits the Battle Ground Summer Playground Program. Hot cocoa and cookies will be provided, courtesy of the North County Community Food Bank. Event attendees are encouraged to bring a food donation to support the food bank.
For more information, contact the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce at (360) 687-1510 or the Battle Ground Parks & Recreation Department at (360) 342-5380.
Camas’ annual Hometown Holidays event is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m., Fri., Dec. 2, during the town’s First Friday, in downtown Camas.
Come get your photo taken with Santa, watch the tree lighting, visit the children’s holiday craft corner, enjoy caroling and music performances, drink some cocoa, take a hayride and do a little holiday shopping in the many downtown Camas shops. All activities are free and sponsored by the city of Camas. For more information, visit http://downtowncamas.com/event/hometown-holidays-2016.
La Center’s annual Christmas Festival kicks off this year from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Fri., Dec. 2, with “Santa’s House Calls,” an event that brings the Clark County Fire & Rescue Firefighters Association around to houses throughout La Center to collect donations of coats, food and unwrapped new toys for families in need. Schedule your visit by Wed., Nov. 30, to have your home included in the pick-up.
From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sat., Dec. 3, the La Center Holiday Bazaar will host more than 80 vendors, with all proceeds benefiting music programs for La Center youth. Admission is free and the event will be held in the gymnasium of the La Center High School, 725 N.E. Highland Ave., La Center.
The real Christmas Festival extravaganza is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Sun., Dec. 4, in downtown La Center, between Aspen and Birch streets. At 5:30 p.m., The Dickens Carolers will perform on the main stage. Then, at 6:15 p.m., Santa arrives, the town tree is lighted and there will be a fireworks display. From 6:30 to 8 p.m., the public can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The La Center Christmas Festival is supported by the city of La Center, Miss Teen La Center, Clark County Fire & Rescue Firefighters Association, the La Center Police Department and Greg Morgan. For more information, visit www.lcnorthpole.com.
Ridgefield’s annual Hometown Celebration is set this year for Sat., Dec. 3, with different events going on all around the city.
The Ugly Sweater Run will begin at 9 a.m. and includes a 5K and 10K in downtown Ridgefield. The Art & Craft & Golden Elephant Sale will be going on from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Ridgefield Community Center, located at 210 N. Main Ave.
From 10 a.m.-3 p.m., the Holiday Food & Gift Marketplace will be open at Overlook Park. Sponsored by Columbia Credit Union, the Holiday Marketplace will feature live music with the View Ridge choir and band and local artists. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. there will be hot cider, cookies and children’s crafts at the Ridgefield Community Library in the Community Center, with holiday storytime at 10:30 a.m.
Other activities include cookie decorating, kid’s crafts and goodies from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene; the South Ride and Union Ridge student craft bazaar from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at View Ridge Middle School; Kids Activity Center with games, crafts and selfie station at Sportsman’s; Santa at Umpqua Bank from noon-3 p.m. (photos with Santa are $5 or $4 with two cans of food); and holiday trailer rides with Santa’s elves and warm blankets from noon-3 p.m., with hot cocoa and cider served by A Merry Heart Events & Sage Organics.
A live nativity scene will be available for viewing from noon-3 p.m. at Old Liberty Theater, provided by Ridgefield Community United Methodist Church.
At 3 p.m., a cookie decorating contest will be held at Pioneer Street Cafe. The Tree Lighting Festival will kick off at 4:30 p.m. at Overlook Park, featuring DanceFusion NW, hot cider, cocoa and a community sing-along.
At 6 p.m., Mulled Wine and Chalk Art event will take place at Koi Pond Cellars, followed by an Acoustic Guitar Summit Holiday Concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Liberty Theater. Tickets to the concert are $18.
Visit http://www.ci.ridgefield.wa.us/community/page/first-saturday-hometown-celebration for additional information.
The Vancouver Rotary Foundation is gearing up for its 21st annual Festival of the Trees, which takes place the weekend after Thanksgiving, Fri-Sun., Nov. 25-27, at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver and at the Vancouver Hilton Hotel.
This year’s festival includes musical entertainment, a community tree lighting, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a free Vancouver Pops Orchestra concert, train engine rides, the infamous ‘talking tree,’ a community scavenger hunt, a holiday farmers market, a variety show and a dozen beautifully decorated trees with corresponding prize packages to be raffled off on the final day of the festival.
The Vancouver Rotary Tree Lighting and Concert kicks off at 5:15 p.m., Fri., Nov. 25, at Esther Short Park in downtown Vancouver with live music from the Touch of Class Chorale and a visit from Santa’s elves. At 6 p.m., Santa arrives and the tree will be lit. Then, at 6:20 p.m., the Vancouver Pops Orchestra Concert starts at the Vancouver Hilton. The concert is free, with donations accepted. Esther Short Park is located at 605 Esther St., in downtown Vancouver. The Vancouver Hilton is located across from the park, at 301 W. 6th St.
For a full schedule of this year’s Festival of Trees, visit the Rotary Festival of Trees site.
The Washougal Lighted Christmas Parade begins at 6 p.m., Thu., Dec. 8, in Reflection Plaza, at 1703 Main St., in downtown Washougal.
The 2016 Washougal Christmas Tree Lighting follows the parade at 6:30 p.m.
Entry to the event is free. For more information, visit the city’s Washougal Lighted Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting site.
Woodland will celebrate the start of the Christmas season with all-day activities during Winter Fest on Sat., Dec. 3, with holiday-related activities going on from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., at Horseshoe Lake Park.
The Christmas Tree Lighting will take place at 6 p.m. at Hoffman Plaza. For more information, contact the Woodland Moose at (360) 225-7736.
The Yacolt Christmas Tree Lighting will take place this year Sun., Dec. 4, 4-6 p.m., right outside Yacolt Town Hall at 202 W. Cushman St.
Santa will arrive via fire truck at 4 p.m. Photos with Santa are $5 each. The Battle Ground High School Jazz Choir will be there singing Christmas carols, and Curly the Camel will be a part of the live nativity scene.
Attendees can also enjoy complimentary coffee, hot cocoa, hot apple cider and cookies.
Yacolt’s giant Doug Fir Christmas tree, which stands at 130 feet, is the largest living Christmas tree in the state of Washington and one of the largest ones in the entire nation.
For additional details, visit http://www.townofyacolt.com/general/page/christmas-tree-lighting-1.