Celebrating the season

Festivals, tree lightings and visits with Santa are all part of the holidays in Camas and Washougal

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A visit with Santa is the highlight for many children at the various holiday festivals. Other events include tree lightings, concerts, crafts and "The Nutcracker."

It’s time to dig out the lights from the garage, search for the perfect tree, drag out your ugly reindeer sweater and spend more time with family: The holidays are here.

The local area has an abundance of events such as festivals and tree lightings that can help you get into the spirit.

Krista Bashaw, special events coordinator for Camas Parks and Recreation, is planning the Hometown Holidays festivities for this Friday.

“This is a fabulous fun event for the entire family, no matter what the weather,” she said.

She added that it wouldn’t be possible without the help of loyal volunteers.

“Lisa Kuhlman of Windows on Life photography has donated the time to take pictures with Santa for the last several years, and Chandra Chase from the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce does a great job designing all of our posters and donated her services this year.”

This year’s event will feature three entertainment tents with choirs and bands from Camas schools.

The tree lighting, a highlight of the event, takes place at 6:30 p.m., at Cedar Street and Fourth Avenue in downtown Camas.

The city’s Public Works Department will be bringing out its latest addition, a new snowplow, to display.

“I just hope it snows,” Bashaw said.

The Festival of Trees event in Washougal will take place Friday and Saturday.

It is different than celebrations in the past, with the exception of the tree lighting ceremony Saturday night. This year’s event will also feature Christmas tree auctions on Friday and Saturday.

There will also be the annual Christmas Ships event at the Port of Camas-Washougal, and several other celebrations.

Below is a listing of holiday-related events in more detail:

Dec. 2 Celtic Muse

The harpist group will return to the Camas Public Library for a free community performance on Thursday, Dec. 2, from 4 to 6 p.m.

The fireside concert featuring Jennifer Pratt-Walter and Valerie Blessley will include Celtic harps, woodwinds and kantele. Attendees will also be invited to try to play a harp.

The library is located at 625 N.E. Fourth Ave. For more information, call 834-4692.

Dec. 3-5 Holiday Home Tour

The tour will get attendees into the spirit of the season with four decorated homes available. The self-guided tour includes two contemporary homes, one complete with a ballroom, and two classical homes. There will be entertainment at each of the homes, including ballroom dancers, the Journey Community Church band, Camas and Washougal high school choirs, and performers from VEGA and Virtuosity Dance Studio.

Volunteers from Soroptimist International of Camas-Washougal will serve as docents. They will tell visitors about the unique aspects of each home.

Tour tickets are $20 each and will include a program book with maps to the each of the homes, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

These can be purchased online at, or from the Camas Hotel (405 N.E. Fourth Ave.), Camas Antiques (305 N.E. Fourth Ave.), Runyan’s Jewelers (327 N.E. Fourth Ave.) and The Uncommon Gift (407 N.E. Fourth Ave.).

Proceeds from the tour will benefit the Downtown Camas Association and Soroptimist International of Camas-Washougal.

Hometown Holidays

Festivities will take place in downtown Camas, between Dallas and Birch Streets, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday. Festivities will include the Christmas tree lighting at 6:30 p.m., and visits with Santa until 8:30 p.m. Other activities include hay rides, food, a fire truck and police car display, storytime and kids’ crafts. Bands and choirs from local schools will help get the crowd into the holiday mood as well.

Festival of Trees

The city of Washougal’s newly revamped holiday event will begin with a tree auction from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Santa will come to True Value, 1822 Main St., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. There will be refreshments both days. The tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Christmas in the Gorge

Santa Claus and caroling will be part of the celebration Friday and Saturday in Stevenson. On Saturday, the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum, 990 S.W. Rock Creek Drive, will host a free public sing-along from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served until 4 p.m.

The public sing-along is an annual tradition. Vocal support will be provided by a quartet of carolers composed of Nicole Tiffany, Christi Zelinta, Karen Branch and Diane Velasquez, all of Vancouver. The pianist will be Lois Ann Davis, of Battle Ground, who will provide accompaniment on a Steinway concert grand piano.

Children will have the opportunity to meet Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, receive a goodie bag, and have a photo taken on Santa’s lap.

For more information, call the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce at 800-989-9178 or 509-427-8911.

Christmas tree giveaway

A Stuff the Bus Christmas tree give-away will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 1436 “A” Street in Washougal, right next to the fire station. Several businesses are teaming up to raffle off 20 trees each day. Saturday’s proceeds will go toward Washougal High School Stuff the Bus efforts, and Sunday’s will go to Camas High School. Attendees are asked to bring nonperishable food donations. There will be free cocoa and coffee. Photos with Santa will also be available from Fireworks Photography.

Christmas Ships

This event, a favorite holiday tradition for many families, will return to Washougal on Saturday 7 p.m. That’s when the parade of up to 40 Christmas Ships can be viewed from the Port of Camas-Washougal along the Columbia River. Some of the boats will be docking at the port a few hours ahead of the performance, giving viewers a chance to see the vessels up close and talk with captains and crews. Most of the boats are expected to return down river to home ports following the show.

The offices of the Port of Camas-Washougal, located at 24 S. “A” St., will open at 6 p.m., so that the parade that usually lasts for about an hour can be viewed from indoors. Seating will be available. Hot apple cider will be served.

Columbia Ridge tree lighting

Columbia Ridge Senior Living will host a Christmas tree lighting and open house Saturday, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Guitarist Michael Baker will provide entertainment.

Columbia Ridge is located at 2300 W. Ninth St., in Washougal.

Christmas at the Farm

On Saturday, Camas Camp-n-Ranch will be hosting this event for the entire family. For $5 per person, or $15 for a family of four or more there will the opportunity to take photos with Santa, make a swag, decorate Christmas cookies and hear stories read by Mrs. Santa. The barns will be open so attendees can visit 4-H animals. Camas Camp-n-Ranch is located at 27312 N.E. Hathaway Road, Camas.

Christmas train run

The Chelatchie Prairie Railroad in Yacolt, Wash will host its annual Christmas Train Run at 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4-5, Dec. 11-12, and Dec. 18-19. Christmas trees will be available with the purchase of a ticket. Santa will be onboard and refreshments will be served. The train will depart from 207 Railroad Ave. in Yacolt. Call 686-3559 or browse for more information about fares. Reservations are recommended.

Clark County Historical Museum Holiday Open House

The Clark County Historical Museum will host its sixth annual open and artisans market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Attendees can enjoy holiday shopping while children participate in hands-on craft activities. Items for sale will include art, collectibles, baskets, jewelry and fashion accessories, ornaments and more. The museum is located in Vancouver’s 1909 Carnegie Library, 1511 Main St., Vancouver. Admission to the event is free.

Christmas teas

Oliver’s Restaurant, 401 N.E. Fourth Ave., in Camas, will host Christmas teas at 2:30 p.m. on the following dates: Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3-4, and Dec. 10-11. The cost is $30 and reservations are required. The number is 210-4037.

Breakfast with Santa

This event will be held at 9 a.m. on the following dates: Sunday, Dec. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 18 at Twilight Pizza Bistro, 224 N.E. Fourth Ave. Tickets are $20 per person and include a full breakfast, gifts for the children and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased by calling 903-0593 or e-mailing If enough people are interested, organizers may add a third date on Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Dec. 10 and 11 Touch of Class concert

The Touch of Class Chorale will hold a Christmas concert Friday at 7 p.m., at St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 1206 N.E. Birch St., in Camas. For more information, call 834-3281.

Holiday Lights Walk

A 10-kilometer Holiday Lights Walk will take place at LaCamas Swim and Sport, 2950 N.W. 38th Ave., Camas, on Saturday with starting times between 2 and 5 p.m.

The event is sponsored by All Weather Walkers and it is free. No pre-registration is required.

Flashlights are recommended for those who will be starting the walk later in the afternoon.

The walk is rated as easy/moderate due to one short hill. For more information, call Joe Titone at 944-8190 or e-mail

Dec. 13 and 14 Choir and band holiday concert

The Washougal High School holiday choir concert will be 7 p.m. Monday at the Washburn Performing Arts Center, 1201 39th St. The band concert will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday. For tickets or more information, call 953-3100.

Dec. 17-20 “The Nutcracker”

The characters of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen and Clara will return during a Columbia Dance performance of “The Nutcracker” ballet.

The shows will be held Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday at 2 and 7 p.m., Sunday at 1 and 5 p.m., and Monday at 2 p.m., at the Royal Durst Theater at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, 3101 Main St., in Vancouver.

Jan Hurst is the show’s artistic director and choreographer. Dancing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy will be Amelia Bishop and Rebecca Vidales, partnered by Sugar Plum Cavalier Steven Goforth. The Snow Queen and Snow King performances will be danced by Tia Chen with Goforth and Bishop with Brij Taylor. Xaalan Dolence and Rebecca Schneider perform the role of Clara.

Cost to attend a performance is $18 for adults, and $10 for children age 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at Columbia Dance Center, Beacock’s Music, Divine Consign, Sunrise Bagels and at the door at the time of the show.

For more information, visit or call 737-1922.