Once December begins, it is easy for students to become swept up in studying for finals or trying to complete pesky research papers. What is commonly overlooked during this hectic time of the year are all the holiday events this area has to offer. To help narrow down the long list of festivities, faculty, staff and students who are residents of the area shared their favorite holiday events.

One of the most popular local events for Pacific students is Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo. Students at Pacific receive a special Zoolights night offer courtesy of Student Life. Tickets are available at the Pacific Information Center in the University Center for $2 which covers transportation and zoo admission for the Dec. 2 event.

“The Zoolights are beautiful and are easier for Pacific students to get to since they are located right on the Max line between Hillsboro and Portland,” said Director of the Advising Center Gretchen Potter.

Potter also said the majority of the lights at the event have been switched to Light Emitting Diode’s making them more environmentally sustainable. The LED lit event takes place from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31.

Freshman Lauren Sullivan said her favorite local holiday event is the Portland Revels seasonal theater production.

“Every year it is based on a different culture’s holiday traditions and their origins,” said Sullivan. “It’s really interesting and at the same time can be very entertaining. It is a tradition for my family to go every year.”

This year’s performance is based on the early American and Appalachian music, dance and cultural traditions. The event takes place at the Scottish Rite Center Theater on southwest 15th Avenue in Portland.

Many agreed the Festival of Lights at the Grotto in Northeast Portland is a local festivity worth seeing.

“It’s really peaceful and festive,” said freshman Stephanie Landtiser. “They have all sorts of choirs singing there, and there’s a petting zoo, and of course it’s fun to just walk around looking at the lights with hot cider.”

The festival was deemed the largest Christmas choral festival in the world with 170 holiday concerts performing in 2011. This event takes place from Nov. 23 to Dec. 30 on northeast Skidmore Streeet.

Philosophy professor Dave DeMoss said his favorite holiday event is the Portland Baroque Orchestra’s performance of “Messiah” on southwest Taylor Street.

“I love the music. It reminds me of the many times I sang in it, mostly in high school and college,” said DeMoss.

For some holiday fun without an admission price, English professor Pauline Beard recommended the Christmas Ship Parade in Portland that can be viewed from many of the parks. This year marks the 58 year anniversary of the parade on the Columbia and Willamette rivers. The boat fleets average around 60 ships and can be viewed on the rivers from Dec. 7 to 21.

“Students might like the difference of seeing ships lit up, especially if they are not used to living in a river city,” said Beard.

Another free holiday event in Portland are the lights on southeast Peacock Lane in Portland.

“It’s fun to get some hot chocolate or coffee and go walk down the street and see all the lights,” said Spanish professor Marcus Welsh.

The event takes place from Dec. 15 through 31.

Prices, locations, dates and times for the events mentioned above are searchable online.

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