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Christmas Festival of Lights in 18th year


It’s The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights, a tradition in Mid-Multnomah County.

In its 18th year, the festival 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 Jesus Christ. Entertainment highlights include holiday music concerts and a dramatic living history theater program.

The festival, already open, continues nightly, except Christmas, through Dec. 30.

The Grotto Gift Shop displays a wide variety of inspirational gifts for your holiday shopping.
Photo courtesy of The Grotto
The Grotto is located at Northeast 85th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard in Portland.

This year The Grotto expects to welcome over 65,000 visitors to enjoy the ecumenical event. Hours are from 5 to 9:30 p.m.; admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children age 3 to 12, and children age 2 and under admitted free.

During the 35 days of the festival, approximately 150 performances are slated in The Grotto’s acoustically wondrous chapel, given by individuals or groups from around the area.

Parkrose High School returns as one of only three groups that have performed all 18 years.

Parkrose High School alumni Michael Allen Harrison continued his tradition of performing on both opening and closing nights.

In addition, Portland Christian High School has participated for 15 years; Parkrose United Church of Christ choir has performed for 14 years; Prescott Elementary School has performed for 10 years; and the Russell Academy choir will have performed seven years.

This is the first time participating for Parkrose United Methodist Church’s choir.

Festival admission includes entry to all performances; however, visitors are encouraged to arrive early for seating, as space is limited.

Visitors are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to support the work of SnowCap, the Mid-county community charities organization. Baby food, especially fruit, vegetables, proteins and dried formula, are a critical need this year, according to officials from SnowCap.

Lively puppet shows and the ever-popular petting zoo will also be featured.

In addition, visitors are also invited to enter the Christmas gift drawing, with this year’s grand prize of two round-trip tickets from Southwest Airlines. The children’s grand prize will be one year of free video rentals and other goodies from Hollywood Video. Other prizes will be awarded from gifts donated from local organizations.

Seasonal food and beverages will also be available.

The festival is a walk-through event. While all entertainment areas are tented and concerts are performed indoors, visitors should dress for the weather, which should include warm, rubber-soled shoes.

The Christmas Festival of Lights meets all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. 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 can be found at www.thegrotto.org or by calling 503-261-2400.

According to officials at The Grotto, the success of the festival depends on volunteer support, with over 50 volunteers on hand each night. Those interested in volunteering can call 503-261-2408.
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