A hometown holiday

Popular Camas festival to feature free shuttle, Christmas tree lighting, fireworks, Santa and entertainment on Friday, Dec. 7

Hundreds of people came to downtown Camas in December 2017 to witness the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The event featured shopping, singing, food, hot beverages, fireworks and snowfall. (Post-Record file photo)

Above, Santa greets children at the 2017 Hometown Holidays celebration in downtown Camas. At right, Camas city staff put this year's Hometown Holidays tree up in downtown Camas this week. Camas Mayor Shannon Turk will light the tree during the annual holiday celebration on Friday, Dec. 7. (Post-Record file photo)

Camas city staff put this year's Hometown Holidays tree up in downtown Camas this week. Camas Mayor Shannon Turk will light the tree during the annual holiday celebration on Friday, Dec. 7.

Camas’ popular Hometown Holidays event, which features a Christmas tree lighting in front of the Liberty Theatre, “snowfall,” visits with Santa, entertainment by Camas students, fireworks, hay rides and more, is back.

This year’s event will take place from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 7, throughout historic downtown Camas. The tree-lighting and fireworks will take place in front of Liberty Theatre on Northeast Fourth Avenue at exactly 6:30 p.m.

Bring the little ones for photos with Santa by Windows on Life, from 5 to 8:30 p.m., next to Journey Church on Northeast Fourth Avenue.

Several other events also are happening from 5 to 8:30 p.m. that evening, including storytime at the Camas Public Library, free cocoa at Journey Church (no cocoa served between 6 and 6:30 p.m.) and Camas mill history displays at the Georgia-Pacific Visitor’s Center. Journey Church will feature children’s crafts from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Entertainment goes on throughout the evening in various tents, including the Liberty Theatre Tent east of the historic theater on Northeast Fourth Avenue, which will feature everything from the Camas High School Jazz Nomads at 6 p.m. to the Monalisa Art Bollywood Dancers at 7:15 p.m.

Inside the Dallas Tent at Northeast Dallas Street and Northeast Fourth Avenue, visitors can listen to the sounds of Skyridge Middle School’s sixth-grade choir at 5:40 p.m., and the Prune Hill Penguin Choir at 6:45 p.m., then watch Dance Evolution at 7:15 p.m. and see the Baller Balladeers at 7:45 p.m.

The Birch Street tent, at Northeast Birch Street and Northeast Fifth Avenue, will feature a variety of youth choirs and musicians from 6:45 to 9 p.m.

Other entertainment acts, including the Camas High brass choir, will perform on Northeast Cedar Street near Northeast Fourth Avenue. Roaming street acts include the Zion Lutheran Church Carolers and St. Thomas Singers.

Krista Bashaw, the city of Camas’ special events coordinator, said this year’s Hometown Holidays event features more than 22 school and community choirs, bands and dancers.

The event is still free of charge, thanks to financial support from Columbia Credit Union, Windermere Real Estate, Unitus Community Credit Union, Downtown Camas Association, IQ Credit Union, and in-kind donors and volunteers, Bashaw added.

“Each year just gets better and better,” Bashaw, who has coordinated the event for 13 years, said. “This is one of our community’s favorite events. It gets us in the mood for the holiday and it helps bring out the ‘kid’ in all of us.”

Bashaw said there are a few new things happening at the annual holiday event this year, including a parking shuttle, sponsored by the Camas School District, which will pick attendees up at five different parking lots within a mile of downtown Camas — including lots at Doc Harris Stadium, Hayes Freedom High School, the Camas School District administration building, the Camas Church of the Nazarene and Crown Park’s metal-covered shelter — and drop riders off on Northeast Fourth Avenue between Camas City Hall and Camas Public Library, near the heart of the Hometown Holiday action.

The shuttles are free and will run from 4:45 to 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 7. To find more details about the parking lots and routes, visit cityofcamas.us/parks and click on the “Parking Shuttle Information for Hometown Holidays” link.

Also new this year is a “pedestrian corridor” on the south side of Northeast Fourth Avenue between Northeast Birch and Cedar streets. The holiday event is notorious for being extremely crowded in that area, particularly when the time for the annual tree-lighting and fireworks approaches, and the new corridor, which is for walking only with no stopping or standing, will hopefully help people move through the streets easier than in previous years. The corridor will be in effect from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. during the event.

“We are trying to respond to last year’s public comments about overall congestion during Hometown Holidays, and are introducing the parking shuttle and pedestrian corridor to see if these two new elements help to alleviate some of the issues we experienced last year,” Bashaw said.