The annual tree lighting in Portland's Monument Square is back, and will be bigger than ever. Black Friday is looking mighty fine.

This year's locally sourced large pine should be in place soon. Then the true fun begins, with some poor saps who have to string the thing with thousands of LED lights. According to WMTW, 5,000 lights were used for the Monument Square tree in 2019.

The yearly tree lighting has been one of Portland's most popular traditions for decades. In fact, it's so popular that the city did a live feed of the lighting during the pandemic. It was a great way to keep the spirit of the event alive.

It's not just the lighting that's back. New activities are being added as well. There will be live music, ice carving, face painting, giveaways, food and drink samples, and more, plus one major addition that isn't necessarily holiday-related (well, unless you count the World Cup as a holiday).

For the first time ever, Portland will host an outside watch party for the United States Men's Soccer match against former oppressors England. The game is one of the three group stage matches the US will play in the opening round. The game kicks off at 2pm, and might roll right into the evening festivities.

Talk about a way to make a comeback from the pandemic. This year's tree lighting is shaping up to be the best one yet. I'm sure the crowds will be larger than ever, especially with the soccer game happening before. I imagine the bars and restaurants around the square will also be hopping all day long.

As always, if planning to go, make sure to dress warmly. After all, it's entirely outside, and in late November. Happy Holidays, folks. And 'tis the season for America.

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