NORTH OLYMPIC PENINSULA residents are in the spirit of the season — from glittering holiday lights at individual homes to the massive Jamestown S’Klallam display along both sides of U.S. Highway 101 in Blyn.
The Jamestown extravaganza is possibly the largest commercial light show in the state.
Sunset will be at 4:22 p.m. today and Saturday and at 4:23 p.m. Sunday — shortly after winter solstice at 3:03 p.m. — allowing residents to get an early start in viewing the cheerful, elegant and often playful mid-winter decor.
[NOTE: “Today” and “tonight” refer to Friday, Dec. 19.]
The biggest light show on the Peninsula — and possibly in the state — is put on by the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe.
There are more than 1.9 million lights distributed on the quarter-mile-long display along Highway 101 east of Sequim.
Also lit up: the Jamestown Medical Center in Sequim and the Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course at 1965 Woodcock Road.
The lights were installed by Patrick Walker Inc. of Port Orchard.
“We’ve added more lights every year,” Walker said.
In 2012, there were 1.4 million lights, and in 2013, there were 1.6 million.
Walker said this year, 7 Cedars Casino is decorated mostly in Seahawks blue and green.
The lights take weeks to put up, and there are two employees on site daily to replace or repair light strings as needed.
The lights will stay up until around New Year’s.
Walker said he doesn’t know of any commercial displays larger than the one in Blyn.
The Woodland Park Zoo’s “WildLights” advertises 600,000 lights.
The Wild Waves Theme Park “Holiday with Lights” in Tacoma has 1 million lights.
Bellevue Botanical Park’s “Garden d’Lights” has an estimated 1.5 million.
“The tribe has really gone all-out on this,” Walker said.
A rest stop parking area on the north (westbound) side of the road allows light-seekers to get off the road, stop and enjoy the lights from the safety of a sidewalk.
South Jefferson County
Another huge light display this year is in Quilcene on Highway 101 south of the turnoff to Port Townsend.
About 65,000 lights and about 50 figures can be seen in this drive-through display by the Hoffman family and Chuck Thrasher at the Josephine Campbell Building.
The display is open to the public from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. every night through Jan. 1.
Entry is onto a driveway marked by a sign alongside candy canes. The driveway is between Logger’s Landing restaurant and the Habitat for Humanity of East Jefferson County store in the Campbell building.
This year, the Whitney Gardens and Nursery in Brinnon, also on Highway 101, is dark.
Once known as perhaps the brightest holiday light show on the Peninsula, the family is keeping it very low-key this year to recognize the death of Anne Sather, the owner, who died Dec. 9, 2013, at the age of 100.
Bright displays at individual homes also can be seen throughout South County, including in the Irondale/Port Hadlock area.
Port Townsend has some new displays that are especially worth a trip around town this year, said Laura Mann, Port Townsend Visitor Center manager.
Her particular favorite is Vintage Hardware & Lighting, 2000 West Sims Way.
“They have something different lit up every day,” Mann said.
Another light show light-seekers need to be sure not to miss is a display on Water Street that includes the old bell tower on the bluff above the street.
“It is a fantastic display,” she said.
An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that raised $6,080 this fall helped the Port Townsend Main Street program buy about 4,000 feet of lights, according to Mari Mullen, executive director.
Among the stars of the seasonal show are two banners over Water Street, snowflakes on buildings, candlelights in the windows of Port Townsend City Hall and the Pope Marine Building, and lights in the Cotton Building windows.
And Union Wharf is lit up, thanks to a grant from the Port of Port Townsend.
The community tree at Haller Fountain is ablaze, and many stores have decorated their windows for the season.
Downtown Sequim also is merrily decorated.
The community Christmas tree lights up Centennial Plaza at the corner of Sequim Avenue and Washington Street, and stores have decorated for the holidays as well.
Among highlights are the winners of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce Merchant Association’s window decorating contest on Washington Street.
The first-place winner in the contest was Wind Rose Cellars, 143 W. Washington St., said Shelli Robb-Kahler, chamber executive director.
Second place was A-1 Auto Parts, 144 W. Washington St., and third was Co-op Farm and Garden, 216 E. Washington St.
In Port Angeles, trees lining the downtown streets are iced with white lights that will remain on through the end of winter, and the Port Angeles community tree is lit bright with rainbow lights at the Conrad Dyar Memorial Fountain at First and Laurel streets.
This year, the trees along the Port Angeles waterfront’s esplanade on Railroad Avenue reflect against the water of the Port Angeles Harbor and provide a pleasant winter walk along the water.
Individual homes and groupings of neighboring homes with holiday spirit are spread throughout Port Angeles.
For those who want to let someone else drive — and to have a guide who knows where all the best lights in Port Angeles are located — All Points Charters & Tours is offering tours.
The two-hour tours of neighborhood lights throughout Port Angeles, which began Tuesday, are offered every night through the day after Christmas.
“There are still openings for Dec. 23 and Dec. 24, Christmas Eve,” said Willie Nelson, owner of the tour company.
The cost is $7.50 for adults, $3.75 for children ages 6-12 and free for children younger than 5.
There are fewer overall lights this year than in years past, Nelson said, but that shouldn’t discourage tour-goers.
“There are still a lot of lights,” he said.
Nelson talked of some gems on the tour.
One of them is “in a hole” at the end of Rolling Hills Drive in west Port Angeles, just off 14th Street between South O and South Butler streets.
The lights are completely hidden until the driver is nearly in front of the house, Nelson said.
“[The homeowner] deserves some attention,” he said.
Nelson said the Rolling Hills lights completely disappeared by the morning of Dec. 26 last year, “as if nothing had ever been there.”
All Points recently added a new 19-passenger bus along with the 12-passenger bus, so there are more openings for riders this year than last year.
The Christmas Eve tour is very popular and usually sells out because the tour includes the Christmas Eve luminara on Second Street, Nelson said.
Reservations are required. There is no space for those without reservations.
Nelson did not provide the starting point and time, saying non-paying light-seekers have shown up to follow the tour.
For reservations and the location of the tour starting point, phone 360-460-7131.
In the West End, brightly lit Christmas scenes can be seen at the Hungry Bear Cafe in Bear Creek, and lights dot homes and barns along U.S. Highway 101 all the way into Forks.
The best place for lights this year is in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood, said Marcia Bingham, a longtime Forks resident and light-lover.
“They always have good lights,” Bingham said.
From Highway 101, turn onto Sol Duc Way, then west on Klahndike Boulevard into the looped-street neighborhood.
Other areas in Forks known for the best lights are on Bogachiel Way and Evergreen Loop.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at [email protected]