The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights is a Christmas light and music festival at The Grotto on NE 82nd and Sandy in Portland. The festival starts on the Friday after Thanksgiving and runs through December 30th. The Grotto’s light festival has been on my to do list for many years and this weekend, I finally had an opportunity to take the family and check it out.
The history of the Grotto, or by its formal name The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, is interesting. The Grotto is a Catholic shrine and sanctuary in Portland. You can read a good overview of the Grotto’s history here. The cliff notes version is that a friar from Canada came to Portland and in the 1920s, raised money from around the country to build the sanctuary and carve a chapel out of a basalt cliff face. A replica of Michelangelo’s Pieta was placed in the shrine and the shrine even received a blessing from Pope Pius XI.
During Christmas time the paths around the Grotto’s chapel are transformed into a light display. There is also caroling, a petting zoo, and a food court area.
In addition to the Christmas light festival there are also 5 nightly concerts at 5:15, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00, and 9:00. Volunteer choirs come from all over the state to participate in the concerts. The concerts take place in the Grotto’s chapel. The choir that was performing the night that we were there was pretty good. We were only able to stay for one song since the baby was starting to get restless. Perhaps next year we will actually stay and enjoy the whole concert.
General admission to the Grotto Christmas Festival of Lights is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $4 for children (3 and up), and free for kids under 2.by