Christmas Ships and Santa Claus December 12th.


Please note there will be no Christmas Tree Lighting this year as we continue to encourage social distancing. However; we will be decorating the plaza with lights and have the following on our current schedule.
Christmas Ship owners are getting ready to set sail for their 66th year as residents make plans to watch the colorful flotillas during the parade’s 2020 holiday season. The boats, 14 to 65 feet long, are brightly decorated for the holiday season. Up to 60 holiday boats are expected to make up the two fleets.
This Annual Christmas Ships Celebration will light up the river in front of the City of St. Helens Docks on December 12th at 5:50 pm. This year guests are encouraged to drive their cars onto the riverfront down 1st Street by Dockside Restaurant and enjoy the view from their vehicles. Greeters from the boating community that normally distribute life vests for youngsters and answer questions will not be available at the dock entrance and venturing onto the docks is discouraged.  
The privately owned vessels come from Portland, Vancouver, McMinnville, Salem and Hood River areas.  Some of the ships owners have been part of Christmas tradition for more than 30 years with many being part of the Christmas Ship fleet for over 20 years.  Each skipper is responsible for their own expenses, including fuel and insurance for their vessels over the two weeks. This can run into the hundreds of dollars, which in itself is a testament to the dedication and enthusiasm the Christmas Ship skippers bring to the organization, and the community. The organization accepts donations to help cover the cost of maintaining, managing and promoting the organization, but none of these donations go to the skippers, their crews, or their boats. Christmas Ships, Inc. is an all-volunteer organization, with no paid staff or officers, just a large group of friendly individual volunteers/skippers who give back to the community they love.
A full schedule for the Columbia and Willamette fleets, as well as a link for donations can be found at
On the same evening The City of St. Helens will be welcoming Santa to the Courthouse Steps to oversee the cars as they drive into the plaza. This year cars will be waved into the plaza area and can briefly stop to receive a “treat package including a candy cane” directly from Santa’s “Candy Cane Slide.” Those wishing to participate in the Santa Claus activity will be directed down 1st Street to the Plaza and exit at 1st Street as well. There will be no parking allowed in the plaza on this evening to aid with congestion and safety.