PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland kicked off the holiday season at the 34th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
The towering Douglas fir is shining bright, illuminating the square after thousands gathered to sing and celebrate.
Not even the chilly rain could dampen peoples’ spirits as they packed into Pioneer Courthouse Square.
“We don’t do anything Christmas-y until this day and then we feel like were kicking off the season with all of Portland,” Kelley Becker said before the tree lighting.
The crowd waited and enjoyed some holiday tunes from the band on stage before the countdown to the big moment.
“Oh it was wonderful as always,” Catherine Tomlinson said. “Everyone gathers and for a moment puts aside everything else that separates them the rest of the year. It’s just wonderful.”
Families came from all over — from Hood River to Boise, Idaho — to see the moment some 14,000 lights illuminated the 75-foot Douglas fir.
From @DeparturePDX, a look at Pioneer Courthouse Square. People are starting to fill in for the holiday tree lighting and roads around here are closed. That 75-foot tall Douglas Fir looks a little small from this high up #KOIN6News pic.twitter.com/Q4QGoZqbNz— Cole Miller (@ColeKOIN) November 23, 2018
The tree — which was grown near Gaston in a sustainably managed forest on land owned by Stimson Lumber — has been in the square since Nov. 16. It arrived in pieces: most of the limbs were removed before it was transported, then put back into place.
Dark skies continue to bring in the occassional shower, festivities set to get underway in just about an hour. Bring the rain jacket if you’re headed downtown #KOIN6News pic.twitter.com/QAkblUNXwP— Cole Miller (@ColeKOIN) November 24, 2018
Watch: The annual Pioneer Courthouse Square tree lighting