Looking to get into the holiday spirit?
Festive events happening in Camas and Washougal provide many opportunities to do so, starting this week.
Two of the community’s favorite celebrations are among those that will be returning this year: the Washougal Festival of Trees and Camas Hometown Holidays.
Camas Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Krista Bashaw said the Christmas tree has been put up in front of the Liberty Theatre and decorating is underway. Many residents mark their calendars to attend Hometown Holidays each year.
“I think Camas has been able to create that family tradition of coming down and seeing friends and family and having a positive experience,” she said. “There’s good food, great shopping, listening to all of those lovely performances. It just brings the community together.”
Mayor Scott Higgins promised that the Grinch would not steal Christmas in Camas this year. In 2013, much of the entertainment provided by local students did not take place because school had been canceled that day due to poor weather conditions.
This year’s Hometown Holidays, with temperatures expected to be near 50 degrees, will get underway at 6 p.m. Friday.
“It is a great event for our community,” Higgins said.
Over in Washougal, the Festival of Trees will also kick off at 6 p.m. Friday. The Washougal School District fundraiser includes a display of trees decorated by community groups, schools, churches and businesses in themes that will include “Candyland,” “Silver Bells,” “Santa Express,” “Fly With Me” and “Oh, Joy.”
Students from Excelsior High School got involved in the fun of decorating their tree, with the theme “Sock it to me Xmas.”
“The most amazing thing that happened at EHS was a table of guys and girls, most of whom had never touched a needle and thread, were stuffing and sewing sock monkeys,” said Pattie Roberts, an EHS volunteer. “They were laughing and talking like a group at an old time quilting bee. For that moment in time, there was nothing but fun.”
All told, more than 20 decorated trees, as well as a selection of 50 gift baskets, will be up for bid, with proceeds going to fund a variety of items including science kits, music programs, field trips, art supplies and math workbooks.
“Last year we had 206 people register to bid on trees, raffles and baskets,” said Chuck Carpenter, a member of the Festival of Trees Committee. “This year, with better weather, we anticipate over 250. Come join us.”
Below are additional details about these and other upcoming holiday events.
Washougal Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade
Washougal’s annual Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade will be held Thursday, Dec. 4, at downtown’s Reflection Plaza. The parade starts at 6 p.m., followed by the tree lighting at 6:30.
“What better way to begin your Christmas holiday than enjoying the fun and magic of a lighted parade with your family and community,” said Rose Jewell, parade organizer.
Santa Claus will be part of the parade, and then stick around afterwards to listen to children’s Christmas wish lists and pose for photos take by Windows on Life Photography.
For more information, contact Jewell at 835-8501.
Festival of Trees
The Washougal Festival of Trees returns to Hathaway Elementary School, 630 24th St., this year.
It will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6. The event will feature decorated trees and gift baskets which will be given to the highest bidder.
Breakfast with Santa will be held Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, for $3 per person.
For more information, search Washougal Festival of Trees on Facebook.
The community celebration will be held Friday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 9 p.m., in downtown Camas.
The tree lighting will take place at 6:30 p.m., in front of the Liberty Theatre, followed by Santa’s arrival at 6:45. Photos with Santa will be provided east of Journey Community Church by Windows on Life Photography free or by donation.
The event will also include entertainment provided by Camas School District students as well as other local groups, and there will be hay rides and arts and crafts.
Restaurants will be open, and vendors including Papa Murphy’s, Kids With Ice and Getta Gyro will also offer food for purchase.
Downtown shops will also be open extended hours during the First Friday event.
The Liberty Theatre will be debut the holiday movie “Elf.” The show starts at 8 p.m.
For more information, call 834-5307.
Camas Holiday Home Tour
The recently remodeled Farrell House will be among the homes open to the public for the Holiday Home Tour.
The Downtown Camas Association will host the annual event Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6 and 7. This year’s tour features four historic and notable Camas homes, decorated for the holiday season. In addition to the Colonial-style Farrell House, participants can see an historic bungalow near Crown Park, a river view home at Lookout Ridge, and a Craftsman-style home in Lacamas Shores.
Docents will lead guests through the homes, sharing the historic attributes, family stories, and amenities that make each one memorable.
Tickets can be pre-purchased for $20 online at www.downtowncamas.com/events-and-festivals/holiday-home-tour, or at the Camas Hotel, 405 N.E. Fourth Ave.; Camas Antiques, 305 N.E. Fourth Ave.; Camas Gallery, 408 N.E. Fourth Ave.; Lizzabeth A, 339 N.E. Fourth Ave.; Runyan Jewelers, 327 N.E. Fourth Ave.; and the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce, 422 N.E. Fourth Ave.
For more information, visit www.downtowncamas.com, email email@example.com, or call 831-5794.
Christmas Ships on the Columbia River
The Christmas Ships will parade at the Port of Camas-Washougal Saturday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. The port offices, located at 24 S. “A” St., in Washougal, will open its doors to the public at 5 p.m.
The Christmas Ships Parade is celebrating 60 years of holiday performances on the Columbia and Willamette rivers.
“Their annual appearance at our Port continues a long-standing tradition and includes up to 25 decorated vessels,” said David Ripp, executive director.
The Washougal High School X-Tet, dressed in period costume singing Christmas carols, will perform, and free cookies and cider will be served.
For more information, visit www.portcw.com.
Community Orchestra Christmas Concert
The first Christmas concert of the Camas-Washougal Community Orchestra will be held Saturday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m., at Camas United Methodist Church.
Music by Gluck, Mozart, Beethoven, Grieg, Humperdinck and Foster will be performed, in addition to American traditional music, an Irish jig and Christmas carols.
The concert is free; donations will be accepted.
CUMC is located at 706 N.E. 14th Ave.
For more information, visit www.camasumc.org, then click on “Community Orchestra.”
Post-Record reporter Danielle Frost contributed to this article.