Polk County itemizer observer. (Dallas, Or) 1992-current, November 29, 2017, Page 8A, Image 8

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    Polk County
Polk County Itemizer-Observer • November 29, 2017 8A
He’s making
a list and
checking it twice
Santa is ready to visit Polk County
By Emily Mentzer and
Jolene Guzman
The Itemizer-Observer
the Thanksgiving weekend
behind us, communities in
Polk County turn their
thoughts to Christmas. Fri-
day and Saturday brings tree
lightings, light parades,
crafts for families – and, of
course, chances for kids of
all ages to meet the big man
himself, Santa Claus.
Santa has a new posse for
Winterfest this year.
He’s still going to ride in
on Dallas Fire & EMS’ re-
stored classic fire engine,
but he will be escorted this
year by a pack of DOGGs —
that is, the Dallas Old Guys
& Gals Motorcycle Club.
Santa will roar into down-
town at about 6:15 p.m. on
Friday to light the tree on
the Polk County Courthouse
lawn and take his honored
place under a tent in front of
the courthouse to listen to
the wishes of good boys and
Though Santa is the guest
of honor and highlight of the
evening, there’s a lot to enjoy
leading up to his arrival.
The Dallas Vitality Con-
nection will host a “cash
mob” at 5 p.m., with partici-
pants meeting at the corner
of Main and Mill streets. The
mob will then walk to a
business — the identity is
kept secret, even from the
owners — with cash on
JOLENE GUZMAN/Itemizer-Observer file
Kids sit in Santa’s lap at Winterfest, which will start just after 6 p.m. on Friday.
hand to spend with the local
Food trucks and vendors,
which will offer wine tast-
ings and wine for sale, kettle
corn, stockings, candles,
and even face painting, will
be planted around the
courthouse square.
The Dallas High School
jazz band will play holiday
tunes from 5 to 6 p.m. and
hand the entertainment off
EMILY MENTZER/Itemizer-Observer file
Santa Claus will get an escort via Portland & Western for
the seventh annual Santa Train at Independence Cinema.
to the LaCreole and Dallas
High School choirs for carol-
ing from 6 to 6:30 p.m., be-
fore and after Santa rolls
into town.
Bonnie Dreier, the events
and programs coordinator
at the visitors center, said
this year features partner-
ships between businesses
and organizations to sched-
ule their holiday kickoff
events on the same week-
In addition to the cash
mob, Downtown antiques
store Some Things will keep
the evening festive with a
group of carolers.
What would a Christmas
season kickoff be without
hot chocolate, cider and
cookies? Rest assured there
will be plenty of all three at
Winterfest. Dreier said Dal-
las Church provides the hot
coco, Dutch Bros the cider,
Papa Murphy’s the cookie
dough and Dallas Retire-
ment Village the baking.
There’s one major change
to the Winterfest 2017
Dallas Cinema will once
again play a holiday movie,
but not on Friday before the
start of Winterfest. The
movie began too early for
families to arrive after
school ends, so the opening
Christmas celebration will
carry over to Saturday
“It’s a Wonderful Life” will
show at 11 a.m., and don’t
forget, the movie is a benefit
for Dallas Food Bank.
“It’s a free movie,” Dreier
said. “Just bring a donation
for the Dallas Food Bank.”
Monmouth and Western
Oregon University will cele-
brate 50 years of lighting the
giant sequoia on Western’s
campus on Friday.
“We’re trying to connect
with as many alumni, as
many community members
past and present,” said John
Wilkins, organizer of the
event. “We know it’s a big
event for our community,
and we’re looking to get as
many folks involved with
this as we can to come cele-
brate and share their experi-
ences with the tree lighting.”
The evening kicks off with
a light parade at 6. Lighted
floats and walking entries
make their way from the
Monmouth Public Library to
This year, efforts are un-
derway to encourage people
to participate in both Mon-
mouth’s Friday parade and
Independence’s annual Pa-
rade of Lights on Saturday.
After the parade passes by
the Werner University Cen-
ter, President Rex Fuller will
welcome everyone to the
annual tree lighting.
The winner of the annual
elementary school essay
contest will read his or her
“Then we’ll light the tree,”
Wilkins said.
Nowadays, lights are put
on the tree using a crane
rented by the university, but
Marc Powell remembers
when the volunteer firefight-
ers strung the lights.
“It was fun back in my
younger days when I was
clamoring around in trees,”
Powell said. “One time I
helped put them up, and an-
other time I helped take
them down.”
A pulley was installed at
the base of the tree and one
at the top, Powell recalled.
“We made a big triangle,”
he said. “We’d pull up six
strings at a time.”
Someone had to climb
the tree and take up the
rope, Powell said.
“That was my job once,”
he said. “You have to climb a
ladder to get to the first
branch. At first, the branch-
es are about a foot around.
When you first start, you’re
reaching for branches, and
at the top, you’re snaking
around them. It was a little
more difficult at the top.”
Powell, unafraid of
heights, said he didn’t mind
taking his turn to climb the
122-foot-tall tree.
“One time I went up
there and it was one of the
most beautiful, crisp winter
days I’d ever seen in my
life,” Powell said. “I could
see for miles and miles. It
was just gorgeous up there.
You could see five moun-
tains — all the mountains
around — I’ll never forget
that sight.”
After the tree lighting on
Friday, the Werner Universi-
ty Center will be open to the
community with crafts host-
ed by the Athletics Depart-
ment, elementary school
choirs, and, of course, a
chance to sit in Santa’s lap
and tell him all you want for
The annual holiday cookie
bake-off — open to the com-
munity — and tree decorat-
ing contest also is inside.
If you hurry, you may be
able to help judge the cookie
All trees and ornaments in
the tree decorating contest
are donated to Toys for Tots,
Wilkins said.
See SANTA, Page 10A
JOLENE GUZMAN/Itemizer-Observer file
Students from Morrison help recreate Santa’s village on
the lawn of the Polk County Courthouse.