Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in PortlandOn the day after Thanksgiving (November 23), a Portland holiday tradition will continue with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Long known as “Portland’s Living Room”, the square occupies an entire city block, or more than 40,000 square feet serves as the centerpiece of downtown. The area takes its name from the historic courthouse. Built in 1875, this building sits on the eastern end of the square. Several buildings have occupied the space since then, including a school, a hotel, and a parking garage. In 1984, the newly renovated Pioneer Courthouse Square opened with 10,000 celebrants in attendance. This year, the square was named the fourth-best public square in the world by the Project for Public Spaces. The 2012 Christmas tree will be lit at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, but there will be plenty of activities leading up to the big event, with a number of guest speakers and an eclectic mix of live music.
Plan to arrive no later than 4 o’clock; over 25,000 attendees will be competing for a few prime views. Traditionally, the tree is paraded down SW Sixth Avenue one week prior to the event. With an escort named Santa Claus and a live marching band, the 75 foot tall Douglas-fir then undergoes several days of preparation. When the switch is thrown, the tree will light up with 14,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights. A mixture of amber, red, green, blue, and white bulbs will stay lit through the New Year. Be sure to finish off your Black Friday shopping with this beloved holiday event, and don't forget to bring the whole family.