We’ve been truly blessed with may Holiday Fests throughout the years. There have been many celebrations and many memories made. We invite you to join us for a very special Portland 2017 HolidayFest on Saturday, December 9th. Gather with your family and friends in Portland Downtown to delight in sharing community together.
“Holiday Fest is a family-friendly event that is true to the Christmas Season and this year will prove to be the best yet. Our community will not be disappointed. The DDA Director, Tina ConnerWellman has worked tirelessly to make things happen and I am very pleased with her dedication and level of performance,” stated Tutt Gorman, Portland City Manager.
There are many wonderful window displays in our downtown, we’d like to highlight just a few for you. There were 9 entries into the judging contest this year, and the winners were as follows; 3rd Place – The Chocolate Moose, Runner Up – Duff Chadwick & Assoc. Law Office, Grand Prize – Blue Mason Jar. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention a location that did not enter for judging, but has put on a fabulous display – Glass Box Guy. We hope you’ll make a visit to Portland anytime over the holiday season to enjoy more than a dozen artistic and well-crafted displays created for your viewing pleasure.
It all begins with a morning event: “Breakfast with Santa. The afternoon events in Downtown Portland kick off at 4 p.m. and feature the Snowball Drop, Amish Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides, Open Houses, Music, Children’s Activities, Community Caroling, Light Parade with Santa & Mrs. Claus, and a presentation of It’s a Wonderful Life at Portland Playhouse. This year also promises something special, spectacular and bright.
“Breakfast with Santa” is sponsored by the Portland Area Chamber of Commerce. This year it will be held at the First Congregational Church on Bridge Street, from 9-11 a.m. with serving until 10:30 a.m. The breakfast is free with donations being accepted and includes visits and pictures with Santa, as well as fun kids activities.
Downtown Portland events begin at 4 p.m. with the Snowball Drop to ring in the festivities at the intersection of Bridge & Kent Streets. Approximately 1,000 Snowballs (numbered ping-pong balls) are released from 15 feet. This event is fun for all ages, as the numbers correspond to a participating business or restaurant and can be redeemed for prizes and discounts throughout Portland through December 13.
Sleigh bells are jingling! A crowd favorite are the horse-drawn wagon rides in downtown Portland. This is a beautifully decorated wagon that seats 10-12 people and is pulled by a team of Percheron horses. Rides are available from 4-5:30 p.m. and weather permitting, again after the Parade. Donations are appreciated. The staging point is at 205 Kent St, just north of City Hall Parking lot before Bridge St.
Open Houses are held throughout the downtown from 4-7:30 p.m. and will include refreshments, music, activities, discounts and more. Friends of the Red Mill will again host cookie decorating! Children’s crafts and games will be hosted by area organizations and held at various open locations – check in at Scout Park when you arrive for more detailed information.
Community Caroling will be on Veteran’s Memorial Bridge from 5:30 – 5:50pm this year lead by singers of Mt. Hope Church. We hope you’ll join us in raising our voices in celebration of the season.
The key to the Caroling location & time will come to light at 5:55 as we ask guests to gather along the Boardwalk for a spectacular surprise gift from the DDA to the community of Portland. This is a one-time only, not to be missed reveal!
The “Light Parade” event starts at 6 p.m. and includes members of Portland High School’s Marching Band, Santa & Mrs. Claus in the Amish horse-drawn wagon, and lighted floats and entries by many businesses and organizations. The parade starts at Canal/Water & Bridge Streets, proceeds across the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge to Kent Street, travels north turning left onto Grand River Avenue-and turning left again onto Water Street.
Lighting of Portland’s Christmas Tree in Scout Park will occur immediately after the parade, including visits & pictures with Santa & Mrs Claus.
Guests are encouraged to round out their evening at Portland Playhouse taking in the live musical presentation of It’s A Wonderful Life at 7:30pm.
Save the date Dec 16 in your calendar for Portland Community Orchestra’s presentation of Christmas Concert Gala at Portland Playhouse 7pm.
“The holidays are such a special time of year, there is energy and magic created by gathering as a community. I know deep down in my heart that many favorite Christmas memories come from the sharing of these traditions with family, friends and community gathered together”, said Tina ConnerWellman, Managing Director for Portland Downtown.
For a complete schedule of these and many other holiday events, please visit the Portland Downtown website at miportland.org, where you can find major events and great local businesses year-round.