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Vol. 19, No. 8 • Mailed monthly to over 12, 400 homes in the Gateway & Parkrose Communities Free • DECEMBER 2003
FEATURE ARTICLES Memo Calendar Memo Pad Business Memo's Loaves & Fishes Letters Home
Season of Hope: The Grotto’s 16th Annual Christmas Festival of Lights
Chronic nuisances lead to Woodland Park eviction
KISS your realtor
East Portland Chamber of Commerce organized
McKnight, Rossi win Spirit of Portland awards

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Season of Hope: The Grotto’s 16th Annual Christmas Festival of Lights

Delights thousands – new life-sized nativity scene is this year’s festival centerpiece


This tree in the center of the plaza at The Grotto will once again be adorned with over 10,000 red and green lights.
The Grotto Photo
If you have driven by or stopped at The Grotto recently, you are well aware that the 16th annual presentation of the Christmas Festival of Lights is underway. This year the festival opened the day after Thanksgiving, on Friday, November 28, and continues nightly, through Tuesday, December 30 (excluding Christmas Day). The Grotto expects to welcome over 60,000 visitors through the gates of this ecumenical event, easily making it the largest spectator event in Mid-Multnomah County. The Grotto is located at Northeast 85th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard.

The theme for this year’s festival is “Season of Hope,” reflecting the hope, peace and love brought into the world by the birth of a child 2,000 years ago. This year The Grotto will unveil the start of a new life-size nativity as the centerpiece of the Christmas Festival of Lights. The nativity is crafted at Demetz Art Studio located in Ortisei, Italy. This family business was founded in 1872, and after four generations now leads the industry in creating outstanding works of ecclesiastical art. The collection on display at The Grotto was crafted after a hand-carved set that is displayed each year at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. With the donations that have been received this year, The Grotto is displaying a basic set of figures from this collection. The hope is to bring in additional figures over the next few years.

The gates are open nightly from 5 until 9:30 p.m. Admission is the same as it has been for the past few years, $6.00 for adults and $3.00 for children (3-12 years of age). Children ages 2 and under are admitted free. Visitors are asked to bring a donation of canned or dry food to benefit SnowCAP Community Charities, Mid-Multnomah county’s emergency food ministry.

One of the “census takers” that roamed the grounds during last year’s Christmas Festival of Lights visits the petting zoo. Four-year-old Alexander Toscano pitches his first horseshoes.
One of the animated lighting displays at the Christmas Festival of Lights, featuring a small shepherd boy chasing after his herd.
The Grotto Photos
One of the features introduced two years ago, has become a treasured tradition at The Grotto, the Christmas Trees of Hope. Everyone is invited to write down their hopes during this holiday season and decorate one of the Trees of Hope with their words, creating a collage of the hopes and dreams of our community. These trees are located in the Visitors Complex just off the plaza, the same place where visitors can enter a drawing for two round-trip tickets to anywhere Southwest Airlines flies by filling out the survey in the Festival of Lights program.

The festival now features over a half million lights including animated lighting displays, narrated fiber-optic displays, and other dramatic displays focusing on the story of the birth of Christ. Entertainment highlights include holiday music concerts, a dramatic living history theater program sponsored by MBank, and a puppet show and petting zoo. Seasonal food and beverages are also available.

Several performers and groups from the Mid-county area will be participating once again this year. The choirs from Parkrose High School have never missed a year and are scheduled for Sunday, December 14 at 7 p.m. David Douglas High School and Floyd Light Middle School both perform on Thursday, December 4. Prescott Elementary Choir will perform on Wednesday, December 10 at 5:15 p.m. Parkroses’ own Michael Allen Harrison will once again perform on closing night, Tuesday, December 30, at 8 p.m. These are only a few of the performances in a schedule that includes 144 concerts.

The success of this Christmas celebration is heavily dependent on volunteer support. Last year, over 560 individuals volunteered to help staff the festival, contributing over 5,500 hours of volunteer service. This year, Mid-county’s own Harry’s Fresh Foods has agreed to donate enough of their delicious soup to feed all the volunteers each evening, Boyd’s is donating coffee for them to drink and the Danna Brothers’ Elmer’s is donating bread to go with the soup.

The festival is a walk-through event. While all entertainment areas are full tented and concerts are performed indoors, visitors should dress for the weather including warm rubber-soled shoes. The festival meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and is completely accessible. Ample free parking is available.

Tickets are available at The Grotto Gift Shop, all Ticketmaster outlets, and at the gate. General information, nightly performance schedules, and other festival details may be obtained by calling 503-261-2400. The Grotto’s website is: www.thegrotto.org/
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