By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News
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Peninsula Daily News
SEQUIM –– Ol’ Saint Nick makes his first Sequim stop of the season Saturday afternoon, though he’s forgone reindeer this year for chariots more befitting the fertile Dungeness Valley.
A pair of antique tractors pulled Santa Claus’ sleigh
into Centennial Plaza at the corner of Sequim Avenue and Washington Street, center of Sequim’s Hometown Holiday celebration.
“We decided to go with the tractors this year as a nod to our history of farming,” said Emily Westcott, who led a crew that put up holiday decorations Saturday.
They strung lights on trees and bushes at the city’s main intersection, as well as around Dana Davis’ antique orange Case tractor and the Sequim High School Future Farmers of America’s John Deere as the centerpiece of the city’s celebration, which runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Santa appears at 2 p.m., while across Washington Street, the city’s community Christmas tree will be lighted at 5 p.m. in Bank of America Park.
Shelli Robb-Kahler, director of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce, said organizers of this year’s festivities decided to hold the tree lighting and Santa’s visit on the same afternoon to provide activities for shoppers looking to get a start on the holiday season.
Santa has arrived on Friday in past years, while the tree has been lit on Saturday.
“Our concept was to keep the activities on the same day so people can stay downtown and keep shopping during those four hours after Santa comes,” Robb-Kahler said.
Merchants downtown will have specials up and down Sequim Avenue throughout Saturday for holiday shoppers.
“Black Friday is not real great for the small businesses,” Robb-Kahler said.
“This gives them a chance to show shoppers all the really great things they have to offer.”
Saturday’s events will begin at 1 p.m. with the Sequim City Band blasting out holiday hits in Centennial Plaza.
Other events include a performance by the Sequim High choir at 2:30 p.m., a coloring contest sponsored by the Wolves’ cheer squad and face painting by the Sequim unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula.
Parents can have their children’s picture taken with Santa for free, courtesy of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce.
At the tree lighting, hot apple cider and cookies will be served.
Toys and food bank donations will be accepted at the event.
A $100 gift certificate to downtown merchants will be awarded to the person who comes closest to guessing the number of lights strung on the tree after its lighting.
Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.