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Hundreds gather for annual Christmas events in Troutdale, Wood Village and Fairview.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Mrs. Santa Claus receives a warm welcome from Multnomah County Sheriff's deputies at Mayors Square in downtown Troutdale on Friday, Dec. 1. As he approached the Grinch, Isaiah Farrouge tried to be brave.

Even in the safety of his mother's arms, the 17-month-old in a grey knit cap let loose a few cries when he was finally eyeball to eyeball with the famed grump of the Columbia River Gorge.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Isaiah Farrouge, 17 months, puts on a brave face while meeting with the Grinch on Friday, Dec. 1. Mom Shannon Farrouge said it was their first time attending the annual tree lighting ceremony. But the deal was done, and moments later Isaiah was contently sucking on a lollipop. Hardly a bad haul for mother or child, who were both attending their first Christmas tree lighting at Mayors Square in Troutdale.

"It took having a kid to come this," explained mom Shannon Farrouge.

Hundreds congregated at the plaza off the Historic Columbia River Highway on Friday, Dec. 1, from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Attendees sipped on coffee, cider and hot cocoa donated by Black Rock Coffee Bar and The Chapel — and donated cash and canned goods to SnowCap Community Charities.

There were free toys for kids, courtesy of the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce, and the Fireside Carolers and Expressions choir of Reynolds High School sang holiday favorites. Just like last year, Councilor Dave Ripma issued a short exhortation to the crowd of hundreds before giving the signal to set the towering evergreen atwinkle.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - West Columbia Gorge Executive Director Karen Young thanked the Gresham Fire Department 'for ensuring Santa arrives on time' before the annual tree lighting off the Historic Columbia River Highway. "Let's get this over with before it starts to rain!" Ripma exclaimed.

With the tree illuminated, the throng turned toward the street, where a jolly ol' St. Nick was arriving in a Gresham Fire truck with lights blazing. Mrs. Claus hopped out of the front passenger seat of a Multnomah County Sheriff's squad car. Standing nearby was Tory Eaton, an Oregon native and a member of Open Door Baptist Church. The 17-year-old said he was excited to celebrate the birth of Christ and all that accompanies the holiday.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - A woman takes a cellphone picture of Troutdale's Christmas tree before the annual tree lighting. "It's a very important time," he remarked. "It brings a lot of hope."

Councilor Glenn White said he wasn't pining for anything special under the tree this year.

"I'm trying to sell all the stuff I've bought myself over the years," he said with a laugh. "My cup runneth over."

Wood Village

CONTRIBUTED: GREG DIRKS - Santa approaches Wood Village City Hall on Saturday, Dec. 2 during the city's annual tree lighting event. In a speech, Mayor Tim Clark concluded by saying, 'I personally want to thank you for coming. This time of year can be stressful. I hope when you leave tonight, you will have a little bit more jingle in your step and Christmas joy in your heart.' CONTRIBUTED: GREG DIRKS - Members of the Sam Barlow High Dance Team distributed free books provided by Kohl's on Saturday, Dec. 2. CONTRIBUTED: GREG DIRKS - Santa poses with children inside Wood Village City on Saturday.

Fairview

CONTRIBUTED: TED TOSTERUD - Fairview's community park was adorned with festive holiday lights ahead of the tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 2.CONTRIBUTED: TED TOSTERUD - Fairview City Councilor Brian Cooper passes out hot beverages during a Christmas celebration at Fairview City Hall on Saturday, Dec. 2. CONTRIBUTED: TED TOSTERUD - Fairview's christmas tree was a sight to behold after Mayor Ted Tosterud flicked the switched and illuminated the tree on Saturday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: BRIAN COOPER - Mayor Ted Tosterud addresses the crowd during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 2.

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