Whether you're looking for gifts, holiday foods, some Christmas music, cheer or worship, the choices are growing in Hood River and the surrounding area. Here is the latest compilation of events to celebrate the season:
* Singing Tree, at Hood River Armory, 13th and Belmont streets, 7 p.m., sponsored by Heights Business Association and Oregon Army National Guard. Join merchants and Heights neighbors around a large, lighted Christmas tree for an evening of singing. Program repeats on Dec. 19.
* Book talk at Hood River County Library, 6:30 p.m., on new and interesting adult and children’s titles. Find some interesting suggestions for gift buying in this presentation by Rose Kelly of Waucoma Bookstore. Books will be available for purchase and 10 percent of sales will go towards the Library Foundation and the library renovation project. The library is temporarily located at 601 State St.
* A Santa Party will be hosted by the Cascade Locks Business Association from 6-8 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Best Western Columbia River Inn. All children will receive a candy cane and refreshments for visiting Santa and may have their first picture taken for free and pay only 50 cents for two additional photos. The festivities also include caroling and the opportunity for each participating child to decorate a paper picture frame.
* The Mid-Columbia Arc invites members, friends and families to a Holiday Social and meeting at the Civic Auditorium in the Dalles at 6:30 p.m. The agenda includes reports about funding for supports for people with developmental disabilities. The Arc advocates to enhance the dignity, expand the opportunities, and protect the rights of persons with developmental disabilities and their families.
For more information, contact Linda Carroll at 541-478-2133, Allene Molesworth at 541-478-3442, Jennifer Lewellyn at 541-980-6358 or Diane Bungum at 541-296-3107.
* Hood River Valley Art Club will hold its annual Christmas potluck luncheon starting at 11 a.m. at the home of Dorothea Young, 1002 Oak St., Hood River. Bring a dish to serve four, a homemade gift for the door prize, and a hand-made ornament for an exchange gift. Call Pat Toy at 352-6631 for more information.
* A Lewis and Clark Christmas Story, 2 p.m., free with regular admission. The presentation will be by curator Ken Karsmizki.
* Hood River Valley Adult Center Christmas dinner, noon. Volunteers dine free and others will be charged $5.
* Hood River Saturday Market’s annual Holiday Market will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s holiday event will be held at the Hood River Middle School, on May Street across from the swimming pool. It will feature handmade and hand-crafted works from local artisans. There will also be local fruit, food and beverages. According to Market Manager Lisa Conway, “this is an excellent time to visit with local artists and finish your holiday shopping in a relaxing atmosphere. We will have pottery, furniture, clothes, blown-glass, jewelry, sculpture, paintings and fresh fruit, to name just a few. This will be a celebration of local talent and the quality of our local arts and crafts.” Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be on hand all day, to visit with kids and adults. There is still plenty of room for more vendors this year. If you are interested in being a vendor at the Hood River Saturday Market’s Holiday Market, please call 541-387-8349. Hood River Saturday Market is a not-for-profit organization.
* Madrigal Dinner, Columbia High School of White Salmon, 4-6 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Henkle Middle School. Dinner, music and other revels by members of the CHS jazz program, $10 for adults, $6 for seniors over 65 and children under 12.
* Wassail Party, White Salmon Public Library, 1:30 -4:30 p.m. The event features music, art, and refreshments to help celebrate the holiday season. Local artists will be on hand to informally share their crafts. Spinners Shelley Duniphin and Jane McLean, jeweler Michelle Hoffman, musicians Judy Skelton and homeschool carolers, and the Asbury Hand Bell Choir will be on hand. Friends of the Library will serve a delicious array of sweet and savory refreshments along with traditional hot Wassail punch.
* Lights and Sounds of Christmas, Hood River Assembly of God, 6 p.m. The program brings together live Christmas music, drama, Christmas carols and readings, and a special children’s feature. The church is located at 11th and May streets, across from the hospital.
* The Gorge Winds concert band Christmas concert, featuring an arrangement of “Silent Night” by the ever popular Mannheim Steamroller, “White Christmas,” and a rousing, foot-stomping “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” They’ll play in the beautiful old Civic Auditorium in The Dalles at 7 p.m. The concert is free.
Cascade Singers present their 2002 Christmas concert at Zion Lutheran Church, corner of 10th and Union Streets, The Dalles. The Friday and Saturday concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday afternoon’s at 3 p.m. The concert title is “Holiday Voices with Strings and Things,” indicating that voices will be joined by instrumental accompaniment, from guitar and marimba to full chamber orchestra and Zion’s pipe organ. Admission is $5 at the door. Major pieces in which the choir will be joined by full orchestra are “A Musicological Journey through the Twelve Days of Christmas,” in which the text of the traditional song are set to 12 very different musical styles — Gregorian chant to Italian opera to Viennese waltz to Sousa march. Also “I Saw Three Ships” in which Singers and orchestra will be joined by Zion Church’s bell choir.
Last Chance Holiday Bazaar, expanded this year to two days, at Hood River County Fairgrounds. More than 40 vendors will be selling one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts, decorating ideas, baked items and other treasures. A wine-tasting is offered, and food and beverages will be for sale at the fairgrounds kitchen. Parking is free.
* The Cascade Locks Business Association has also contacted Santa to set up direct mailing to the North Pole for children up to the age of third grade. St. Nick has promised to answer all letters deposited in the special box at River City Hardware by Dec. 20. Although he has issued a disclaimer making no promises about gifts, Santa said he would love to take a break from busy holiday preparations to correspond with all Cascade Locks youngsters.
* The Cascade Locks Tourism Committee will hold its annual lighting contest, with $250 awarded to the first place winner, $150 for the second choice and $100 for the third finalist. The contest is open to all residents and those interested must turn in entry forms to city hall by 5 p.m. on Dec. 18 for judging that same evening on originality, use of lighting, effort and overall effect.
* Through Dec. 15 — Enter a raffle to win a gift basket worth more than $300, at Hood River’s downtown Visitor Information Center, 104 Oak St. Tickets are $1, need not be present to win. The Gift House donated the basket.
Does your non-profit group have a holiday bazaar or event you’d like the community to know about? Please submit a brief item to Hood River News by mail, at P.O. Box 390, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Notices must include a daytime telephone number, and are subject to editing for length.