PORT TOWNSEND — Real reindeer that can be petted and an 85-foot living Christmas tree will be among the attractions celebrating Thursday’s start of the Magic of Christmas at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
The “100 percent free, grassroots event” at the fairgrounds, at 4907 Landes St., will offer activities from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. each evening from Thursday through the following Tuesday and a special evening on Christmas Eve.
The exterior lighting of the fairgrounds buildings will be on display nightly, including a section of large lit sculptures to be driven through for those who prefer the warmth of their cars.
Light food, such as cookies and cocoa, will be available for purchase at the event that is otherwise free to the public.
“It’s done for good will to create community,” said Danny McEnerney, fair and fairgrounds manager.
The Jefferson County Fair Association and TLK Productions — owned by Ted and Linda Krysinski — are presenting the festival.
Thursday will kick off the celebration with a 4 p.m. opening ceremony and a car parade bringing in Santa, who will meet with children in Santa’s Grotto (usually the 4H Cat Club building) beginning at 4:20 p.m.
Visits with Santa will be offered from 4:20 p.m. to 8 p.m. through Monday and from 4:20 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday.
Reservations with Santa also can be made by going to https:// jeffcofairgrounds.com/events/visitsanta.
On opening night will also be the lighting of an 85-foot-tall living cedar tree, which organizers believe to be the second-largest in the state, McEnerney said.
Beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, two reindeer from Rainier Reindeer Ranch near Seattle will be available for petting in the Old Commercial Building. The reindeer will be on site on opening night only.
For each of the days of the Magic of Christmas, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., will be Christmas Crafts for Kids in the Arts Building. Ornaments, felted Santas and a community drawing project will be offered in a holiday environment complete with cocoa by donation and treats.
Mistletoe Market will showcase vendors with special holiday wares from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in the 4H Building.
Children can write letters to Santa and visit Mrs. Claus’s kitchen while adults peruse the marketplace for one-of-a-kind gifts.
At the same time Saturday and Sunday will be the Santa’s Helpers Youth Market in the Erickson Building Dining Room. School-aged students will sell their homemade crafts.
On Christmas Eve, activities will include a sing-a-long version of the movie “Elf” co-produced with Port Townsend Film Festival with full-on audience participation and much syrup, a community pajama reading of “The Night Before Christmas” by county community leaders with each child receiving a free book gifted by Kiwanis.
About 1,000 hours of volunteer time have gone into preparations, McEnerney said.
Among the many sponsors are Jefferson Healthcare, Windermere Real Estate, Heman Bros., Food Co-op, Kiwanis, 4-H, Corvus Crafts, Highway Specialties, Gatheringplace and the McEnerney family, which has contributed to the celebration in memory of Kevin McEnereney of Kitsap County who died a little over a year ago and who loved Christmas, McEnerney said.
For more information, see https://jeffcofairgrounds.com/magic.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.