The annual tree lighting in Portland's Monument Square is back, and will be bigger than ever. Portland's Black Friday is ramping up to be the most festive yet.

This year's locally sourced pine came from Westbrook, and is officially in place. Now the real fun begins for the 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. Why not keep that tradition alive? Well, that's exactly what the city has done.

The tree cam is back, and already on-air. You can check out the tree at all hours of the day throughout the holiday.

It's not just the lighting that's back. New activities have been 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. However, if you want to avoid the cold, just simply fire up the livestream, and you're as good as gold. Happy Holidays, folks.

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