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Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868

Area gearing up for holiday celebrations

Enjoy the kickoff to Christmas with neighbors and friends this weekend throughout Polk County.

Santa Claus is the featured guest at many of Polk County’s holiday kickoff celebrations. He’s scheduled to make an appearance at Friday’s WOU Holiday Tree Lighting.

Photo by Craig Coleman

Santa Claus is the featured guest at many of Polk County’s holiday kickoff celebrations. He’s scheduled to make an appearance at Friday’s WOU Holiday Tree Lighting.

December 03, 2013

Enjoy the kickoff to Christmas with neighbors and friends this weekend throughout Polk County.

Santa Claus will be busy tripping around Polk County to take pictures with all the good boys and girls, and to hear their Christmas wishes.

All over the county, he will appear in various parades. Communities will participate in sing-alongs, eat holiday treats and drink warm holiday beverages while enjoying the lighting of trees. Many local businesses will be open during these events for holiday shopping.

Here is a rundown of holiday events scheduled this week:


Winterfest, the annual celebration of all things Christmas in Dallas, will bring plenty of holiday spirit to the downtown core Friday.

In conjunction with the downtown activities, Fox Theatre, 166 SE Mill St., will be showing "Arthur Christmas" starting at 4:15 p.m. Admission is a canned food donation.

Winterfest officially kicks off at 5 p.m., when vendors set up on the Polk County Courthouse Lawn, 850 Main St., open for business. Enjoy free cookies and hot cocoa while you shop.

Dallas High School's band will perform at 5:30 p.m., followed by Christmas caroling.

Santa will make his appearance with his entourage, the Dallas Fire Department and DOGGS (Dallas Old Guys and Gals Motorcycle Club), at about 6:30 p.m. to light the tree.

Afterward, Santa will stay to listen to all the good boys' and girls' Christmas lists.

Falls City

A hit last year when Falls City decided to add its own beginning of the holiday season event, the town's tree lighting ceremony and caroling is back Saturday for a second year.

This year the lighting will take place in the gravel lot adjacent to Hometown Grocery on North Main Street. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. downtown, with Christmas carols, desserts, coffee, cider and hot cocoa, plus a reading of the Christmas story.

The tree will light up at 7 p.m.

For more information: 503-991-2167.

Grand Ronde

A tree lighting ceremony will be held at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday (today) at the oak tree on the old powwow grounds across from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Governance Center, 9615 Grand Ronde Road. The gathering will include caroling and refreshments.


Holiday inspired events will take place throughout the day in Independence on Saturday. Many of the events are free.

Christmas ornaments

Santa will arrive by train at the library parking lot, 175 Monmouth St., Saturday at 1 p.m. He will be available for pictures between 1 and 3 p.m. Children younger than 12 will receive a small gift from Santa. Local merchants will provide refreshments.

Stop by Lion's Share Coffeehouse from 2 to 4 p.m. or Andy's Café at Ragin River from 1 to 3 p.m. to decorate cookies. Both Andy's and Lion's Share are located on Main Street.

Join the Independence Downtown Association and the city of Independence for "A Sweet and Snowy Holiday" parade of lights Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. The parade will run down Monmouth and Main streets. Many local businesses will be open for holiday shopping. For those interested in entering a float, parade applications are available at the Independence Public Library or online at Applications will be taken up to the day of the parade.

Immediately following the parade, there will be an open house at Independence Civic Center, 555 Main St., featuring treats for all, a chance to visit with friends and neighbors, and meet the parade participants. Parade winners will be announced.


Cookies entered into the cookie baking contest will be judged Friday afternoon, with a sampling to take place beginning at 6 p.m. on the second floor of Werner University Center on the Western Oregon University campus. Prizes will be awarded for most creative, the top three best tasting, and most holiday spirit. To participate, sign up at the information desk on campus, register online at, or contact Ed E-Nunu at 503-838-8514 or via email to

The Monmouth holiday parade will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday. The Sequoia tree will be lit after the parade, at about 6:30. Children's concerts will be at 7 p.m. Western Hemisphere Voices will perform a gospel concert at 7:30 p.m.

Santa will be available for pictures Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Summit Room of the Werner University Center, and free holiday arts and crafts also will be taking place in the WUC.

The Friends of Gentle House will decorate for the holidays Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. The group will host a holiday open house Friday from 7 to 9 p.m., complete with warm drinks and holiday cookies. The event is free and open to the public.


Christmas Pageant

If you like Christmas traditions, then it doesn't get better than the Rickreall Christmas Pageant.

The play has had the same script since it was first staged in 1938 — and that script is nearly word-for-word faithful to the telling of the Christmas story in the Bible.

The 73rd annual Rickreall Christmas Pageant will be staged Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Rickreall Event Hall, 300 Main St. (Highway 99W). The doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. each night.

While there has never been an admission charge, tickets are required to attend and donations are gratefully accepted.

For tickets and more information: online at