I’ve wanted to visit the Portland Grotto’s Festival of Lights for years now. This year when I was doing a little planning for our family advent time, I decided to make that wish a reality. This afternoon I packed a picnic and a bunch of warm clothes, and we headed out the door as soon as Nathan was home from work…..into a lot of traffic.
The boys enjoyed eating a picnic dinner in the car and listening to seasonal music. Simon and Caleb both fell asleep too…it was the classic late afternoon/early evening drive that is just too hard to stay awake for.
When we arrived it was freezing and everyone was tired. There were a lot of tears from the youngest two. However, we managed to get everyone bundled and were ready to go in a mere 15 minutes.
I have to say, while the grotto is a relatively small display of lights compared to others in Portland, their festival is just perfect. It is exactly what a Christmas lights display should be like. They had some family fun with puppet shows and a small petting zoo. The lights are beautiful. There are choirs performing. And the focus of the whole thing was the advent of Jesus. I just loved it. I’d love to bring the boys back when they’ll have the attention span to actually listen to a whole choir concert.
Here are some images from our time there:
At the very end we passed a man playing the hammered dulcimer. All three of the boys were transfixed. He was a really nice guy and played a game with the boys where he played a song and they had to name it. They did pretty well. At the end Simon was clapping and both of the older two were singing along. When we decided to leave, Elias said he didn’t want to because the music was too beautiful.
All in all it was a wonderful time and I’m really glad we went. We clambered into the van to get warm and listened to the Bob Dylan Christmas album all the way home. It made for a later night than usual, but it was worth it!