Tree lighting, fireworks and local performance groups help usher in the holiday season
CAMAS — The streets of downtown Camas were filled with crowds full of holiday cheer on Friday evening as local residents flocked to the 12th annual Hometown Holidays event, and the official lighting of the Camas Christmas tree.
The event revolved around the lighting of a 40-foot tall Christmas tree in front of the Liberty Theatre in Camas, but that was not the only activity during the Hometown Holidays event.
Throughout the evening, various local community groups performed at several different tents scattered around the downtown region. These included local choirs, bands and dance groups.
The Camas High School band entertained attendees as they waited for the Christmas tree to come alight. The Lacamas Heights Elementary school choir also provided musical entertainment, and invited the bustling crowd to participate in well known Christmas songs.
Children excitedly waited in line to have their photo taken with Santa Claus, and this became a popular attraction for families attending the event.
Camas Mayor Scott Higgins presided over the Christmas tree lighting. He presented a brief speech that was intended to inspire pride in the city’s history as a mill town.
“Never forget where we came from,” Higgins said.
At 6:30 p.m., Higgins led the crowd, now standing shoulder to shoulder along the sidewalks and streets of downtown Camas, in a countdown for the tree lighting.
When the countdown reached zero, the tree lit up in red and white lights, and fireworks burst overhead. Snow machines mounted on buildings delighted the crowds with additional holiday ambiance.
Activities and performances continued into the evening after the tree lighting. Attendees were able to take hayrides in a trailer decorated with Christmas lights and greenery.
Additionally, almost all of the shops and restaurants in downtown Camas threw open their doors to welcome eager customers and hungry attendees.
For those wishing to have a warm drink to ward off evening chills, Journey Community Church in downtown Camas provided hot cocoa.
Even the brief sprinkling of rain could not keep the crowds from visiting downtown Camas for this kickoff to the holiday season.