Winter Wonderland a slow, festive ride on the raceway that pays forward

Featured image: Winter Wonderland’s wreath arch flanked by poinsettias at the Portland International Raceway. (photo by Cheryl Landes)

It’s that time of year again when speeding cars take a break at the Portland International Raceway and the track transforms into the Winter Wonderland, one of the largest drive-through Christmas light shows west of the Mississippi River. More than 250 displays, from traditional to whimsical, delight visitors of all ages.

And all proceeds go to the Sunshine Division, which has provided food and clothing to the needy in the Portland-Vancouver metro area since 1923.

entranceEntrance to Winter Wonderland at the Portland International Raceway (photo by Cheryl Landes)

Drive through a field of twinkling Christmas stockings, candy canes, and snowmen while reindeer jump across the road. Watch children slide down a hill on their sled and a Christmas train filled with toys chug along its own lighted track.

christmas-train
The Christmas toy train (photo by Cheryl Landes)

Enjoy whimsical displays of the characters from the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Here are some of my favorites.

partridge-in-pear-tree
A partridge in a pear tree (photo by Cheryl Landes)

laying-goose
One of the six geese-a-laying (photo by Cheryl Landes)

milking-maids
Eights maids-a-milking (photo by Cheryl Landes)

pipers
Seven of the 11 pipers piping (photo by Cheryl Landes)

Admire cute penguins.

igloo-and-penguins
Penguins outside their igloo with the 12 drummers in the background (photo by Cheryl Landes)

Cheer a dragon dancing near dinosaurs, the Loch Ness Monster, and an erupting tropical volcano.

dragon-dancing
The dragon’s happy feet energizes a puddle in the foreground. (photo by Cheryl Landes)

Reflect on the meaning of the holidays.

nativity-scene
Nativity scene (photo by Cheryl Landes)

Winter Wonderland is open from the day after Thanksgiving until December 26, 5:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5:30-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, except Monday, November 28, when it’s closed.

The display is closed to vehicles during these two special events:

  • Bike the Lights Night on Tuesday, November 29, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
  • Lights and Leashes Dog Walk Night on Tuesday, December 6, 5:30-9:30 p.m.

View general information and the special event details.

The Portland International Raceway is located on the west side of I-5 north of downtown Portland. From I-5 North or South, take Exit 306B and follow the signs to the raceway.

Buy tickets online or at the raceway. Food and money donations are also accepted at the entrance to the light display.

peace-on-earth
This globe wears a “Peace on Earth” banner near the end of the Winter Wonderland route (photo by Cheryl Landes)

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