Holiday events getting under way around Northwest

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerNovember 22, 2012 

Lively concerts, eye-catching tree-lighting ceremonies, parades and festivals are just some of the magical events happening around the Northwest this holiday season.

Forte, the Tri-Cities' newest youth show choir, performs a mix of old favorites for the holidays, as well as some popular contemporary music, in the auditorium at Chiawana High School in Pasco. Showtime is 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 with a 2 p.m. matinee Dec. 1. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.

"This show will be a wonderful festive evening of song and dance," said Becky Kreutz, president of the choir's board. "The program is a throwback to the spirit of Norman Rockwell and has a touch and feel of the '40s and '50s, along with some very modern numbers."

There also will be a benefit concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 in the auditorium at Southridge High School featuring a wide range of noted Tri-City vocalists, as well as the Mid-Columbia Brass Quintet, Horse Heaven Hills Middle School Orchestra and the Melodic Mustangs. Admission is $10.

Proceeds from the event will be used to buy instruments for student musicians at Horse Heaven Hills Middle School.

"I have 94 students, and they do not all have an instrument to play," said Carisa Simpson, music teacher at the school. "So, I pulled some amazing people together and my orchestra and school choir, The Melodic Mustangs, to perform. The concert is titled 'Believe' because I want the students to gain some belief in themselves that if they need something, they can find a way to get it (such as instruments to play)."

Simpson recruited the talents of Katrina Carlson, Bryan Foley, Michelle Cameron, Mary K. French, John Tuttle, Kelsey Wehner, Emily Carlson, Karen Zizzi, Megan Johnson and Allen Madsen to perform.

"If we can sell out the house, then we will make $6,000 for instruments," Simpson added.

Here's a list of other holiday happenings:

-- A tree-lighting ceremony is from 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 23 at John Dam Plaza in Richland. There will be entertainment, a warming fire and a visit from Santa. Also featured will be a holiday music show at The Players Theatre. Admission is free. Call 942-7583.

-- Dayton's annual holiday kick-off celebration starts at 9 a.m. Nov. 23-25 on Main Street. Festivities include storytime for kids, holiday music and a Christmas Market, all at the historic Dayton Depot.

-- The Festival of Lights is Nov. 23-Dec. 23 at the Umatilla County Fairgrounds in Hermiston. The light show starts each night at dusk. Admission is free.

-- The Oregon Zoo will be decked out in holiday magic when its annual ZooLights festival begins Nov. 23 and continues through Dec. 31 at the Portland-area zoo. Hours are from 5 to 8 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, and from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The zoo is closed Dec. 24-25. ZooLights tickets, which include admission and a train ride, cost $12.50 for ages 12-64, $11 for 65 and older, $9.50 for ages 3 to 11 and free for kids 2 and younger. Without the train ride, admission is $10, $8.50 and $7.

-- The Toppenish lighted parade is at 6 p.m. Nov. 24 in downtown. For more information, go to

-- Toy Train Christmas is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 in the Northern Pacific Railway Museum, 10 Asotin Ave., Toppenish. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for kids 12 and under. Call 509-865-1911.

-- Prosser's Family Christmas Festival starts at 4 p.m. Nov. 27 at Depot Square, 1230 Bennett Ave. Call 509-786-3177.

-- The Sunnyside Farm Implement Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 in downtown. For more information, go to

-- The Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival is Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 in the Bavarian village west of Wenatchee. The tree-lighting ceremony starts each night at dusk. Other events include visits from St. Nicholas, chestnut roasting and live music.

-- The Tri-Cities Lighted Boat parade starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 7-8 on the Columbia River from Clover Island to Howard Amon Park.

-- The Pasco Luminaria starts at 6 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Desert Plateau neighborhood between Burden Boulevard and Argent Road in West Pasco. Featured are hundreds of homes spruced up with festive lights, caroling and a visit from Santa.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;

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