Tree lighting ceremony

Thousands gather for the holiday tree lighting ceremony at the Columbia County Courthouse Plaza last year.

Tree lighting ceremonies and other holiday festivities are returning to Columbia County this year.

In St. Helens, the annual holiday tree lighting ceremony and Christmas Ships Parade will be held on the riverfront on Saturday, December 14.

Live holiday music by Jim Fischer will begin in the Columbia County Courthouse Plaza at 4 p.m. The tree lighting will take place at 5:30 p.m. with the arrival of Santa. Families can take pictures with Santa and enjoy free candy canes and hot cocoa.

The Portland Christmas Ships Parade launches from the St. Helens City docks at 6 p.m. The fleet heads downriver to Columbia City before returning to the St. Helens docks for the night.

In Rainier, two festive events are happening again.

One of them is the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

The ceremony will take place at 5 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8th at City Hall, 106 W B Street, Rainier. Santa will arrive, light up the tree and will then be available for free pictures. There will also be raffle prizes and refreshments like coffee, cocoa and cookies.

Another event making its return is the Holiday Home Decorating Contest.

Entrants must reside within the city limits, and deadline for entries is Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. Judging will take place between the hours of 6 and 8 p.m. on Dec. 14, and entrants are asked to have lights on during those hours. The Mayor and two council members will be judges, and will award homes in three categories: most creative, most twinkling lights and Mayor’s Choice.

Those interested in competing in the contest must fill out an entry form, available online, at rainierchamberofcommerce.com, and at City Hall. Entrants must write their name, address, contact phone, and category for award.

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