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News Release
Spirit of Christmas tree lighting kicks off holidays - 11/16/17

GRESHAM, Ore. -- Join your friends and neighbors to celebrate the start of the holiday season in historic downtown Gresham, where a variety of fun, family friendly festivities all lead up to the grand finale--the lighting of the City's 60-foot ponderosa pine at the 26th annual Spirit of Christmas event, Saturday, Nov. 25. The free festivities include arts and crafts in Historic Downtown Gresham for Small Business Saturday from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., with live music, photos with Santa and free treats at the Arts Plaza starting at 5 p.m. The tree is lit promptly at 6 p.m.

"Gresham may be the fourth largest city in Oregon, but we still celebrate that small-town feel at our annual tree lighting ceremony, the Spirit of Christmas," said Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis. "We'll bring the beautiful tree, sparkling lights and Santa. But, it's this great community coming together to celebrate with our neighbors that is the heart of this special event."

At the Arts Plaza, located at 401 NE Second St., Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet the crowd, listen to the children's wish lists, pose for photos and assist Mayor Bemis in leading the countdown to the tree lighting. Live music performances include Gresham Arthur Academy, SALT Pac, and the Gresham High School Overtones. Free cocoa, hot cider, hot dogs, candy canes, popcorn and more will be served, thanks to our generous sponsors.

At the event, the City will collect canned goods to support Fill-a-Bag food drive. Last year, Fill-a-Bag raised the equivalent of 875,000 pounds of food for local families. A $20 donation can buy a whopping 400 pounds of food for the hungry, so bring your donations as well.

This annual event is made possible by local businesses. Special thanks to our Gold sponsors, Riverview Community Bank, Gresham Ford, Gresham Station, MetroEast Community Media, and Weston KIA, and our Silver sponsors, Nicholas Restaurant, Clackamas County Bank, East County Little League, Grocery Outlet, ServPro of Gresham, The Outlook/Pamplin Media Group, Pathway Church, Pediatric Therapy Services, Office Depot, US World Class Taekwondo, and State Farm/Rob Hendrickson.

The Historic Downtown Business Association (ExploreGresham.com) is hosting a variety of family-friendly activities downtown activities before and after the tree lighting:

10:00 a.m. -- 4:00 p.m. -- Photos with Santa at the Gresham History Museum

2:30 p.m. -- 4:30 p.m. -- Multiple business open houses, as follows
- Amiton Furniture: Open House with cookies and cider
- Accent on Attitude: Open House with treats
- Anderson Martial Arts: Board breaking, face painting
- Blondies Pizza: Pizza dough activity
- Café Delirium: Phone calls to the North Pole
- Feather Your Nest: Ornament making
- Frenzi: Decorate tree ornaments
- Gresham Library: Craft activity
- iCandy: Gingerbread cookie decorating
- KMO: Children's craft
- Pediatric Therapy: Cookie decorating
- SALT Academy: Holiday bazaar, letters to Santa, and more!
- St. Henry's Church: Advent paper chain making
- SugarCubed Cakes: Decorate your own mini cupcake
- Tsuru Island: Games, slide show and garden tour at Main City Resource Center
- USWC Taekwondo: Kid's wonderland with crafts, bounce house, obstacle course and more!

6 p.m. -- Countdown to the tree lighting at the Arts Plaza

Visit http://www.GreshamOregon.gov/Spirit-of-Christmas for more information.