Santa will arrive in Dallas early in 2019, heading to the Polk County Courthouse lawn at 3 p.m. Saturday to listen to all the Christmas wishes of all the good little boys and girls. Santa’s early arrival is just one of the changes Dallas residents can enjoy as what was known as Winterfest transitions to a week-long celebration that is Miracle on Main Street.

This is the first year that Shelia Peirce, Dallas’ event coordinator, has been at the reins for the Christmas kickoff, and she decided to change the tree lighting from Friday to Saturday.

“I’m hoping by doing this, I can extend the hours a little bit beforehand so that there’s not a huge line to see Santa, and people don’t have to rush after work,” she said.“I’m hoping that more people will be able to come watch our lights being lit.”

She didn’t stop there. The Christmas spirit will continue in downtown the entire week.

The week is packed with activities for kids and families, from coloring contests to Christmas sing-alongs. Multiple businesses in Dallas will hold different activities, Peirce said.

The event begins on Saturday with a holiday fair at the Dallas Event Center, 939 Main St., and a storefront decoration contest beginning in downtown Dallas at 11 a.m. That afternoon, at about 3, Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive to visit with children. The tree lighting will highlight the evening, with the lights flickering on the sequoia at the courthouse at about 6.

Dec. 14 will cap Miracle on Main Street with an occasion for adults, the Winter Wonderland Prom at 8 p.m. at the Nesmith Readiness Center, 12830 Westview Drive, Dallas. The grownup prom will have a full bar, a taco vendor and dessert bar, and plenty of dancing. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Dallas City Hall, 187 SE Court St.

Peirce said it’s her love of Christmas that made her want to plan, with the help of the Dallas Downtown Association, a multi-day event to celebrate the season.

“I love Christmas,” she said. “I really wanted to get the businesses involved.”

Schedule of Dallas events

Dec. 7

9 a.m. - 11 a.m. — Holiday Carolers, Karma Coffee Bar & Bakery, 1062 Main St.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Holiday cookies and hot chocolate, Dallas Antique Mall, 811 Main St. Open through Dec. 13.

11 a.m. — Storefront Decoration Contest Begins. Judging will continue until Dec. 13 at 5 p.m. Turn in ballots at City Hall, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Holiday Craft Fair, Dallas Event Center, 939 Main St.

1:30 p.m. — Free Movie at Dallas Cinema, Arthur Christmas. One can of food or $1 entry All proceeds go to the Dallas Food Bank.

3 p.m. — Courthouse Lawn Santa & Mrs. Claus arrive. Cookies and hot cocoa will be served.

6 p.m. — Christmas Tree Lighting with Dallas High School Choir performing.

Dec. 9

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Holiday cookies all week at Four Season Salon, 861 Main St.

10:30 a.m. — Santa storytime, Dallas Library, 950 Main St.

4 to 6 p.m. — Teen Bake Sale Fundraiser, Dallas Library

6:30 p.m. — Christmas Sing Along with Angel Ocasio, Dallas Library

Dec. 10

10:30 — Santa Storytime, Dallas Library, 950 Main St.

3 to 6 p.m. — Meet the Reindeer’s Cousins. Some Things, 745 Main St.

4 to 6 p.m. — Cookie Decorating Class, Karma Coffee Bar & Bakery, 1062 Main St.

Dec. 11

3 to 4 p.m. — How to make fabric gift tags and holiday bows, Heartstrings Florist & Artisans, 137 SW Court St.

4 to 7 p.m. — Pictures with Santa, HomeSmart Realty Group, 662 Main St.

Dec. 12

10:30 p.m. — Santa Storytime, Dallas Library, 950 Main Street

3 to 6 p.m. — Pictures with Santa, Willamette Valley Fiber & Dallas Area Visitors Center

988 SE Jefferson St.

Dec. 13

6 to 7:30 p.m. — Painting Class with Young Art for kids — Snow Globes, Dallas Library, 950 Main St.

Dec. 14

8 to 11 p.m. — Winter Wonderland Prom, Nesmith Readiness Center - 12830 Westview Dr.

For more information: Shelia Peirce, 503-831-3562

Falls City

FALLS CITY — A tradition that started in 2012 as an effort to bring a tree lighting celebration to Falls City continues this Friday at 6 p.m.

The festive celebration takes place at the parking lot next to the Gospel Fellowship Church, 257 N. Main St.

Holiday treats and Christmas carols will make the season kickoff bright.


Santa Train Stations

Where: Independence Cinema parking lot

When: Dec. 7, 1 to 3 p.m.

His reindeer will be resting up for Christmas Eve, but Santa is catching a train to Independence on Dec. 7 from 1 to 3 p.m.

“Every year we’re going to strive to put something new at Santa Train,” said Traci Cathcart, who helps organize the event with Kim Landis and Kim Hanson.

This year, Landis made aprons for Santa’s helpers.

While many of the treats on the day are for children, Cathcart got something special for furry visitors.

“I was at the Independence Downtown Association meeting and one of the gentlemen there asked if (the event) was dog friendly,” Cathcart said. “It is, so much so that I’m getting dog treats to keep in our aprons so that the puppies can have a dog treat, too.”

Santa told Cathcart that dogs are welcome to take pictures with him, too.

The first stop for photos with Santa is the ticket booth.

While kids wait their turn to chat with Santa, families can visit different stations, which will include a toy depot and a cookie decorating stations.

The whole event is free, including a lunch provided by the Elks Lodge.

While the emphasis is on Christmas fun, kids will get to learn some safety tips from Polk Fire District No. 1.

“The fire department will be bringing a fire engine or an ambulance, and their activity is going to by stop, drop and roll,” Cathcart said. “This time of year so many people have house fires.”

Hanson said the whole event is made possible by community sponsors and fundraising.

The group wants people to know that everyone is welcome; it’s not just an Independence event. “This is just where the train has the ability to stop,” Cathcart said.

Portland & Western donates the train and even decorates it.

Each family gets a free photo with Santa, Cathcart said.

Wilbur-Ellis pays for the photo development, and photos will be available within a week at the Independence Public Library.

The library still has photos from past Santa Train events available for pickup.

Every kid gets a toy.

Cathcart said she is excited the Santa Train is part of the downtown experience.

“We’re excited to kick it off,” she said.

She’s hoping after their event, people head downtown to enjoy the Winter Family Fest and IDA parade of lights.

Winter Family Fest and parade of lights

Where: Riverview Park plaza

When: 3 p.m. live music with snow experience

3 - 5:30 p.m.; 6 to 8 p.m. - photos with Elsa and Olaf

3:30 p.m. - live ice sculpting begins

5:30 p.m. - parade of lights

Snow and ice will hit Independence on Saturday, but just enough to add to the holiday festivities.

“There will be snow machines in the plaza pumping out snow,” said Courtney Williams, downtown manager. “It dissipates before it hits the ground.”

It’s part of the city’s inaugural Winter Family Fest on Dec. 7.

The free event is in downtown Independence from 3 to 8 p.m. and will feature music, activities and live ice sculpting – of Olaf from “Frozen.”

There will be a “Frozen” backdrop where costumed Elsa and Olaf characters will gladly pose with people free of charge.

“We just want to start transforming Independence into more of a welcoming destination around the holidays,” Williams said. “We hear a lot that families are looking for more, not just family-friendly locations, but places that are indoors, especially in the winter, or that aren’t charging an arm and a leg.”

She said the city got a positive response from its spring Touch-a-Truck event, which gave children the opportunity to explore different types of construction and law enforcement vehicles.

“Why not make this winter event focused on families as well,” she said.

As for the theme, Williams said she was inspired by a trip to Disneyland when “Frozen” first came out.

“They transformed one of their areas into a ‘Frozen’ area, they had dancing snowflakes on the ground with lights,” she said. “I just was taking that all in and thinking, ‘Gosh what a great vibe.’”

That’s the feeling she’s hoping people will have at Winter Family Fest.

“Our downtown business are awesome,” Williams said. “We pitched this to them and they really ran with it.”

Every business has something, she said, from crafts to cupcakes and even some music lessons.

The Independence Downtown Association’s Parade of Lights starts at 5:30 p.m. at Riverview Park.

This year, the route is focused on downtown, rather than coming down Monmouth Avenue, said Kate Schwarzler, IDA president.

“Participants and shop owners both really appreciated having a more concentrated footprint for the parade,” she said. “The parade happens rain or shine, and if the weather is really bad there are some awnings along Main Street, and you can also watch from inside of some businesses.”

For anyone who wants to do more than watch the parade, there’s still time to sign up.

The main requirement, of course, is that all entries must be lighted.

People can be on foot, bikes, in vehicles or on floats. The cost is $15.

“Technically they can join the parade the day of, but that makes it very difficult for the organizers,” Schwarzler said. “We encourage people to sign up by the end of the day Dec. 4 so we can make sure we have things planned accordingly.”

Awards will be given for best use of lights, best commercial entry, best group/organization entry and IDA’s choice award.

For more information or to register for the parade, stop by Indy Commons, 278 Main St., or visit: downtownindependence.com.


Christmas festivities in Monmouth start Dec. 6 with the annual parade and holiday tree lighting at Western Oregon University.

The parade starts at 6 p.m. at Partnerships in Community Living, across from Little Caesars on Main Street. After the parade and tree lighting, head over to the Werner University Center for arts and crafts, holiday photos and local school choir concert.

The next day, Making Spirits Bright kicks off at with a 1- and 5-kilometer Reindeer Fun Run.

“It’s all level, no hills,” said Susan Fuller, who organizes the event.

The run starts and ends at the Main Street Park amphitheater, circling through the neighborhood and WOU campus on hard, level surfaces.

People of all ages and abilities are invited to participate.

Groups in the 1K fun run can combine their competitive spirit with their Christmas spirit to vie for the “Most Spirited” award.

All proceeds from the runs benefit the WOU Community Food Pantry and Toys for Tots.

Registration is $5 for the 1K and $10 for the 5K. Participants are encouraged to bring nonperishable food or new, unwrapped toys.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there will be plenty to do in downtown Monmouth. There will be seasonal entertainment and games. A heated holiday bazaar tent will be set up on Warren between Main and Jackson streets.

Ash Creek’s Arts Center will host a snowflake-themed kid’s craft corner from noon to 1 p.m. at MaMere’s Carriage House.

Polk County Fire District No. 1 will have a chili cook-off fundraiser in the firehouse tent, which will be behind the WOU tent.

Win prizes by getting your passports stamped by a dozen downtown businesses. This year, there is a category for people younger than 18.

At dusk, Santa’s workshop and gingerbread village will circle Main Street Park.

Which downtown business will receive the coveted Griswold Award this year? That’s up to you. Voting is now through noon on Dec. 7.

Friday, Dec. 6

6 p.m. – Holiday Parade and tree lighting

7 p.m. – Local School Choir Concert, the Werner University Center

7 p.m. – Wine, Warmth, & Music at the Historic Gentle House

The Cannon Art Gallery will be open showcasing WOU Faculty art.

Saturday, Dec. 7

Making Spirits Bright Events In Downtown Monmouth 10a.m. - 2 P.M.

8 a.m. packet pick up & 9 a.m. 1k/5k Reindeer Fun Run starting at the amphitheater in Main St. Park. Costumes encouraged! Most Spirited and 5K winners announced on CSD Stage at 10 a.m.

Making Spirits Bright Events Welcome Tent

Polar Express Passport to Prizes visit local businesses who will stamp your passport so you can win a valuable prize!

Holiday Bazaar with locally made items in WOU Tent Main St. Park

Seasonal Entertainment and Games on the CSD J13 Stage in Main St. Park

Food & Chili Cook-Off

12-1 p.m. Kids Crafts at MaMere’s Carriage House thanks to Ash Creek Arts Council

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