GRANTS PASS – Downtown Grants Pass is well-known throughout Southern Oregon for its traditional holiday décor and festivities. The central focus of the festive holiday season has always been a 40-foot tall Christmas Tree that is erected each year in the middle of Fifth Street, between G and H streets. Additional decorations throughout the Central Business District include giant nutcrackers, light-up Christmas card panels, illuminated snowflakes, and store front designs from local businesses.
Though this holiday season is different from those past due to state-mandated restrictions resulting from COVID-19, the city’s traditional Christmas Tree and holiday decorations will still go up to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
Unfortunately, large gatherings are still not allowed in Oregon, so specific traditional events such as the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, visits with Santa Claus, and annual Christmas Parade will not be a part of this year’s planned events. Event organizers hope to see those events return to the city next year.
“It is unfortunate that certain aspects of our holiday season cannot be celebrated this year, but the city is doing all it can to maintain every element we can of our traditional Holiday Plaza,” said City Manager Aaron Cubic.
City staff began preparing for the season back in August when they first secured the reservation for a 40-foot tall Douglas fir with a 19-foot diameter lower bough. The massive tree will arrive the week of Nov. 23, when it will be put in place and then lavishly decorated.
The city has contracted with On 3 Construction to supervise the decoration efforts in coordination with volunteers from Barnstormers Theatre.
“Our volunteer artists and scenic designers are thrilled to lend their talents to this exciting project that brings so much joy to our community every year,” said Barnstormers Executive Director Annie Sabel.
The Barnstormers members will assist with stringing the lights, preparing ornaments, directing placement of the bulbs, and decorating the surrounding plaza. Once the tree is completed, they will work in coordination with Evergreen Federal Bank to further decorate the surrounding plaza. Evergreen supplies the giant nutcrackers and illuminated Christmas card signs to the Central Business District each year.
“The city wishes to thank the community partners who work with us each year to make our downtown holiday plaza a special attraction for our residents and visitors,” said Cubic.
Though there will be no official lighting ceremony, the Christmas Tree will be decorated and lighted on a similar timeline to previous years with completion expected before Friday, Dec. 4. The tree will remain in the Holiday Plaza until the week of Jan. 6.