It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Event Center as the Winter Fair returns for its third year — with a twist.
The jaw-dropping display of more than 200,000 lights will return, transforming the fairgrounds’ idyllic Fir Grove into a magical wonderland of festive sights and sounds, but this year’s rendition will also feature an indoor Holiday Market with more than 25 local vendors set up in the Main Pavilion.
“Canby is a place where people still really like to shop locally for the holidays,” Fairgrounds Vendor Coordinator Trina Smith said. “I see that everywhere. Canby is one of the towns that really sticks to that.”
“We support our own here,” Fairgrounds Executive Director Brian Crow agreed.
As an additional treat, the Fairgrounds is working with local schools to supply children’s choirs, bands, orchestras and ensembles to serenade the market throughout the holiday season.
This year’s redesigned experience will return all the standout favorites from last year’s walk-thru, including a 166-foot-long tunnel of cascading, multi-colored twinkles; a 200-foot-long LED light curtain on the east side of Ely Arena; and a delightful, 30-minute dancing Christmas tree light show that forms the centerpiece of the Fir Grove.
Other scenes will capture images and memories the Fairgrounds are most associated with, like the Cowboy Corral and festively decked-out horse trailer.
The Winter Fair will also bring back a staple of the event since it first debuted in a drive-thru experience in 2020: Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The Festive First Couple of the winter holiday season will be back at a new North Pole/Santa’s Workshop-themed corner of the Fairgrounds brought to life by Canby resident and designer Stephanie Anderson, whose home in Northwood Estates is known for its elaborate Halloween and Christmas displays.
The jolly old elf himself, Santa, will visit the village to talk and take photos with children until 8 p.m. every night the fair is open.
“It’s a lot of work, and it’s not cheap, but we do this for the community,” Crow said. “Our goal is to continue to develop events like the Winter Fair, the Canby Haunt, and our County Fair so we’re really maximizing the use of the facility. This is a great facility with tons of potential.”
The third annual Clackamas County Winter Fair kicks off December 2 and runs every Friday and Saturday through December 17, as well as December 22 and 23. Hours are 5 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and teenagers and $5 for children age 4 to 12. Children 3 and younger are free.
Of course, in Oregon, one can often expect the weather forecast to look more like a wet Christmas than a white Christmas. In that likely event, the fairgrounds will be prepared.
“We all know that December weather can be a little unpredictable,” Smith said. “With that in mind, there will be umbrellas available to check out for the days that might have rain.”
The Clackamas County Fairgrounds and Events Center is located at 694 Northeast 4th Avenue in Canby. For more information or tickets, visit ccwinterfair.com.
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