Hometown Holidays returns to downtown Camas this week

Tree lighting returns after 3-year hiatus; Santa will be on hand for photos during Friday, Dec. 1 event

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A lighted holiday tree stands in front of the Liberty Theatre in downtown Camas on Friday, Dec. 4, 2020. (Kelly Moyer/Post-Record)

Camas’ popular Hometown Holidays celebration kicks off the holiday season this week, starting at at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.

The annual Hometown Holidays event returns with a full schedule of family friendly activities, including the popular tree-lighting ceremony, sponsored by the Downtown Camas Association and the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce, which is set to happen at 5 p.m. in front of the Liberty Theatre, 315 N.E. Fourth Ave., in downtown Camas.

“This is one of our community’s favorite and festive events, getting us in the mood for the holidays and bringing our community together to share some of the joy of the season,” the city of Camas’ special events coordinator, Krista Bashaw, said of the Hometown Holidays, adding that the annual downtown Camas holiday event is free and open to the public thanks to the support of Columbia Credit Union, iQ Credit Union, Windermere Real Estate, Downtown Camas Association, Lutz Hardware and in-kind donors and volunteers.

The event will also feature school and community choirs, bands and dancers; the chance to take your own photos with Santa; childrens crafts; street food vendors; and extended shopping and dining hours at downtown Camas shops and restaurants.

Hosted by the city of Camas’ Parks and Recreation Department, Hometown Holidays coincides with the DCA’s First Friday celebration. The DCA will have “elves” handing out holiday goodies during the event. The group also will help establish pedestrian corridors on both sides of Fourth Avenue between Birch and Cedar streets to help people move through the crowded area.

This year marks the return of the tree-lighting ceremony after a three-year hiatus, and Camas Police Chief Tina Jones, said she is implementing an incident command system model to Camas to help ensure public safety during crowded events like Hometown Holidays.

“It’s a leading practice across the nation,” Jones recently told The Post-Record. “As our events have gotten bigger, it makes sense to incorporate (an incident command system).”

Jones described the system as a “behind the scenes coordination of resources” and said she plans to have police, fire, parks, communications and public works representatives ready to respond to a variety of situations that can arise during crowded public events.

“There’s always something that comes up,” Jones said. “This gives us the ability to coordinate quickly.”

Jones said the pedestrian walkways on Fourth Avenue near the tree lighting should help “keep traffic moving and allow for ADA access.”

Following the tree lighting from 5 to 5:30 p.m., there will be a host of activities throughout Camas’ historic downtown, including roaming carolers and characters from “The Nutcracker,” photos inside Santa’s tent at the corner of Birch Street and Fourth Avenue from 5:30 to 8 p.m.; and various choirs, bands and dancers inside four tents located on Northeast Fourth and Fifth avenues.

To alleviate parking concerns, the city of Camas and the Camas School District have partnered to provide free parking shuttles. The shuttles make continuous pickups/drop-offs to Camas City Hall/Camas library from four shuttle lots between 4 and 8:30 p.m. The shuttle sites will be located at Doc Harris Stadium, 1125 N.E. 22nd Ave., Hayes Freedom High School, 1919 N.E. Ione St., Church of the Nazarene, 2204 N.E. Birch St., and the Crown Park Metal Shelter, 120 N.E. 17th Ave.

For more information, visit rec/page/hometown-holi days-0