Small Town Holiday

Posted at 3:28 PM, Dec 04, 2018

Many would comment, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Downtown Portland MI would certainly agree and extends a warm, friendly invitation to join in for Holiday Fest on Saturday, December 8th.  Gather with your family and friends in downtown Portland to delight in sharing community together, and for many opportunities to make magical memories.

“Holiday Fest is a family-friendly event that is true to a traditional Christmas Season and this year will prove to be the best yet. MiPortland Downtown Director, Tina ConnerWellman has joined with volunteers, businesses and organizations to coordinate a full day and evening offering something special for everyone,” stated Tutt Gorman, Portland City Manager.

There are many wonderful window displays in downtown Portland, sporting this years theme, Put an Ugly Sweater Party in Your Window.  There were 11 entries into the judging contest this year, and the winners were as follows; 3rd Place –Salon 176, Runner Up – Escape Rooms Portland MI, Grand Prize – The Blue Mason Jar.  You are invited to make a visit to Portland anytime over the holiday season to enjoy more than a dozen artistic and well-crafted displays created for your viewing pleasure.

Holiday Fest begins with a morning event: “Breakfast with Santa, followed by Portland Civic Players presenting a Disney Song Concert.  Full festivities in Downtown Portland kick off at 4 p.m. and feature the Snowball Drop, Amish Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides, Open Houses, Music, Children’s Activities, Community Caroling, Light Parade with Santa & Mrs. Claus, community tree lighting, all wrapped up by a Christmas Gala Concert.  For the second year in a row, there will be a surprise presentation of something new, spectacular and bright.

“Breakfast with Santa” is sponsored by the Portland Area Chamber of Commerce.  This year it will be held at the Portland VFW  located at 1324 E. Bridge Street, from 9-11 a.m. serving until 10:30 a.m.  The breakfast is free with donations being accepted and includes visits and pictures with Santa, as well as fun kids activities.

The Disney Concert Fundraiser, ‘A marquee Day for Disney’ presented by the Portland Civic Players and the Portland Playhouse, 231 Maple St.  Enjoy some of your favorite Disney songs and Christmas tunes beginning at 2pm.  This is a free will offering to help raise funds for a new marquis. 

Downtown Portland events begin at 4 p.m. with the Snowball Drop to ring in the festivities at the intersection of Bridge & Kent Streets. Approximately 1,000 Snowballs (numbered ping-pong balls) are released from 15 feet.  This event is fun for all ages, as the numbers correspond to a participating business or restaurant and can be redeemed for prizes and discounts throughout Portland through December 12.   

Sleigh bells are jingling!  A crowd favorite are the horse-drawn wagon rides in downtown Portland.  Enjoy a beautifully decorated wagon that seats 10-12 people and is pulled by a team of Percheron horses.  Rides are available from 4-5:30 p.m. Donations are appreciated.  The staging point is at 205 Kent St, just north of City Hall Parking lot before Bridge St.

Open Houses are held throughout the downtown from 4-7 p.m.  and will include refreshments, music, activities, discounts and more.  Friends of the Red Mill will again host cookie decorating! Children’s crafts and games will be hosted by area organizations and held at various open locations.  Join the scouts at Scout Park to make and enjoy holiday s’mores!

Don’t forget to take your photo on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge which is lighted red and green for Christmas.  Lights come on shortly after 5pm and the bridge will be closed to traffic until 6:45pm. 

Community Caroling will be at Bridge and Kent Streets from 5:35 – 5:50pm this year lead by singers of Mt. Hope Church.  We hope you’ll join us in raising our voices in celebration of the season.

Guests will be asked to gather along Kent St on the 100 block (between Grand River Ave & Bridge St) to share the newest lighting display which will be revealed at 5:55.  This presentation was completely funded and organized by property owners and volunteers as a gift to the Portland community.  

The “Light Parade” event starts at 6 p.m. and includes members of Portland High School’s Marching Band, Santa & Mrs. Claus in the Amish horse-drawn wagon, and lighted floats and entries by  many businesses and organizations.    The parade starts at Riverside Drive and continues down Kent St, traveling north to turn left onto Grand River Avenue and cross the bridge towards Water St.

Lighting of Portland’s Christmas Tree in Scout Park will occur immediately after the parade, including visits & pictures with Santa & Mrs Claus. 

Guests are encouraged to round out their evening at 7pm at the Portland Playhouse taking in the Christmas Gala Concert presented by the Portland Community Orchestra who are joined by the Ionia Community Band.

“It’s about taking a step back from the hustle and bustle, getting together with a few of your favorite people for some holiday cheer.  It’s about sharing a hot chocolate, smiles and greeting your neighbors.  It’s about gathering together and enjoying a friendly small town during a magically bright, shiny seasonal event”, said Tina ConnerWellman, Executive Director for MiPortland Downtown. 

For a complete schedule of these and many other holiday events, please visit the Portland Downtown website at [], where you can find major events and great local businesses year-round. 

Source: Press Release