• What: Community Tree Lighting, featuring live music, Santa’s arrival, Vancouver Pops concert.
• When: 4 p.m. Nov. 24, children’s choirs, train rides, Santa’s arrival; 6 p.m., Santa lights the tree; 6:20 p.m., Vancouver Pops concert in the Hilton. Vancouver Farmers Market holiday market: 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 26.
• Where: Esther Short Park and Hilton Vancouver Washington, 301 W. Sixth St.
• Admission: Free, but concert donations accepted.
• More information: rotaryfestivaloftrees.org or 360-750-0409
• What: Divine Trees, featuring decorated trees and raffle ticket sales.
• When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, through Dec. 16. Raffle: 6 p.m. Dec. 15.
• Where: Divine Consign, 904 Main St., Vancouver.
• What: Uptown “Christmas in the Village.”
• When: 5 p.m. Nov. 25, tree lighting; 1-4 p.m. Dec. 3, block party with reindeer; 4-9 p.m. Dec. 9, ugly sweater crawl.
• Where: Tree lighting, Compass Church, 1812 Main St., Vancouver. Block party and ugly sweater crawl, start on 2200 block of Main Street.
• Admission: Free.
• What: SantaCon.
• When: 7 p.m. to midnight Dec. 2.
• Where: Main Event Sports Grill, 800 Main St., Vancouver.
• Admission: Free — other than mandatory, complete Santa attire.
Vancouver’s annual layer cake of a Christmas kickoff will continue to bring live music, twinkling lights, choo-choo train rides, a charitable tree raffle, a holiday market and Santa Claus himself to downtown Vancouver, starting Nov. 24.
Actually, the charitable trees were set up at Divine Consign, 904 Main St., early this month, and you can stop by anytime to peruse their handmade themes: Origami, elves, jewelry, oceans and more. The trees will be raffled off during a reception set for 6 p.m. Dec. 15 at Divine Consign; local charities benefitting from the raffle include the Arc of Southwest Washington, Children’s Center, the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes, Friends of Hospice and the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. Raffle tickets are $5 each.
Meanwhile, Nov. 24 at 4 p.m., the traditional festivities in and around Esther Short Park begin. The Prune Hill Elementary School choir leads off, followed by the combined Fruit Valley and Chinook Elementary School Choirs. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive ready to take gift requests and pose for photographs. Food vendors will be on hand to keep your tummy filled and your spirit bright. And, the Loki train operated by Hazel Dell veterans organization 40 et 8 will be back to give rides around the park. (The train will be back for more rounds from approximately 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 25.)
At 6 p.m. Nov. 24, things will really brighten up as Santa lights the 10,000 colored bulbs on Vancouver’s towering Christmas tree. That’s really something to see, and it’s followed by something equally splendid to hear: at 6:20 p.m., across the street at the Hilton Vancouver Washington, the Vancouver Pops Orchestra will entertain the crowd with holiday favorites. It’s a free performance, but donations are requested. This whole Friday night festival is sponsored by the Vancouver Rotary Foundation.
Now that you’re properly stuffed with seasonal snacks, tunes, lights and good cheer, you’re probably ready to go shopping. You can do that at the Hilton the night of Nov. 24 and all weekend long as the Vancouver Farmers Market hosts its annual holiday market, featuring all sorts of local, giftable arts-and-crafts creations — as well as the edible treats you’d expect from a farmers market.
The holiday market runs from 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 24, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 25 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 26.
One of the tree artists who contributed to the collection now on display at Divine Consign is origami expert Holly Williams, who decked out a tree by Victoria Bradford of Comfort Interiors with many intricate paper shapes.
If you’re interested in learning how to create origami decorations of your own, Williams is teaching Sip-and-Fold classes from 5 to 8 p.m. on the next three Thursdays (Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14) at Burnt Bridge Cellars winery, 1500 Broadway. The price of admission is a glass of wine — offered to participants at a discount.
Uptown gets down
If you love lights but can’t make tonight’s tree festivities in Esther Short Park, maybe you can get to the annual Uptown Village Tree Lighting. It’s set for 5 p.m. Nov. 25 at Compass Church, corner of Main and McLoughlin. Come back a couple Sundays later for the annual Uptown Village block party, featuring closed streets, Santa Claus and live reindeer that are members of the official Santa Claus Flying Reindeer Sleight Drive Brigade. Local vendors are keen to help along your holiday shopping. The block party runs from 1 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 3.
Still not enough Uptown fun? Return the following Saturday for the Uptown Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl, 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 9. We hear those ugly sweaters start to look truly fetching, once you’ve got your beer goggles on.
Party like Santa
Speaking of which, nobody really knows how to whoop it up like the man in red. But Vancouver Santa wannabes will try on Dec. 2 at the Main Event Sports Grill, which hosts its annual SantaCon from 7 p.m. until midnight. Donations of new socks and underwear will be passed along to Share Vancouver, which serves the homeless and hungry. Sierra Nevada Brewing will provide raffle prizes.
In previous years this Con has been a crawl, but this year it’s all happening at the Main Event, which means to keep it “simple yet amazing.” That means complete Santa attire is required. Seriously. And, goggles or no, no ugly sweaters
By Scott Hewitt, Columbian Arts & Features Reporter