Portland HolidayFest set for December 11th
Portland MI is delightfully into the spirit of Christmas with new and exciting holiday decorations throughout the city. Beautifully lit storefronts and Veteran’s Memorial Bridge shining in red and green complete the classic Christmas scene as folks anticipate the return of HolidayFest on December 11, 2021.
“With all of the activity leading up to the day, and the excitement of the festival itself, Portland hosts one of the best small town Christmas’ in mid Michigan”, stated Tina ConnerWellman, director of Portland’s DDA.
Ahead of December 11, take a stroll through a forest of decorated and themed trees - Christmas Tree Lane is situated along the river trail on Water Street near the Red Mill through January 2, 2022. Portland Party Store welcomes you for visits with Santa & Mrs Claus several nights a week. The Portland Civic Players will host a ‘Retro Christmas Movie Night’ featuring ‘White Christmas’ at the Sun Theatre on Maple St. Friday December 10.
The morning of HolidayFest, the Old Red Mill hosts it's Christmas Market with specialty vendors, and Santa will be welcoming guests in the Red Mill. You can enjoy a delicious lunch at a local establishment, and take in ‘Country Christmas’ window displays while you’re shopping local.
HolidayFest kicks off with it’s signature event at 4pm, the Snowball Drop. This year in a new location, the recently renovated Toan Park & Splash Pad. Participants in three age groups get their chance to collect numbered ‘snowballs’ shot from atop a Portland Board of Power & Light bucket truck. These numbers correspond with a dozen or more walkable businesses who offer prizes, discounts, or treats for turning in your snowball with their number through 6pm!
While enjoying the park and collecting snowballs, the new fireplace will be warming the scene. This is the first place you’ll see and can interact with our Holiday Characters as they move on to roam Kent & Bridge Streets until 5:30pm.
Several local businesses will be holding open houses, offering guests yummy food, drinks, candied treats and specials, cookie decorating, costumed performers play music, and more! Best yet? Most activities are totally free.
“Actually, my favorite part of HolidayFest is the Sleighbell Horse Drawn Wagon Rides”, said Cory Grimminck, DDA Chairperson and Library Director. This activity returns from 4-5:30pm @ 205 Kent Street, donations are always appreciated.
What festival is complete without dancing in the streets? Opera Block Performing Arts Center will be entertaining you with Holiday themed dancing from 5-5:25pm on the 100 Block of Kent St.
The Choir from Portland Public Schools will be caroling at the corner of Bridge & Kent Streets from 5:30-5:55pm, and invites everyone to join in, making joyous voices heard far and wide.
Promptly at 6pm, the Holiday Parade lights the way along Kent Street bringing with it excitement and cheer, ending with the Grand Marshalls, Santa and Mrs. Claus.
A traditional gathering follows the parade at Scout Park for photo ops with Santa and Characters wrapping it all up with the ceremonial lighting of Portland’s Christmas Tree.
Finally, everyone can settle in and warm up with enchanting holiday music performed at the Portland Orchestra’s Christmas Gala, 7pm at the Sun Theatre.
“You don’t have to live in Portland to love being a part of it. We hope everyone will make plans to join us throughout the holidays, enjoying shopping and dining ‘small’ as much as we do”! said Tina ConnerWellman