Rose Garcia, 4, of Port Angeles holds a string of Christmas lights while assisting Jeff Perry, a crew chief for Sequim-based Morning Star Balloon Co., as he decorates the city Christmas tree at Washington Street and Sequim Avenue in Sequim on Saturday. The tree will be the centerpiece when Santa Claus arrives at the location next Saturday for a community holiday celebration. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Rose Garcia, 4, of Port Angeles holds a string of Christmas lights while assisting Jeff Perry, a crew chief for Sequim-based Morning Star Balloon Co., as he decorates the city Christmas tree at Washington Street and Sequim Avenue in Sequim on Saturday. The tree will be the centerpiece when Santa Claus arrives at the location next Saturday for a community holiday celebration. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Holidays kick off with events across Peninsula

Freeze the turkey and untangle the string lights.

If weekend happenings across the North Olympic Peninsula are any indication, it’s that time of year.

Olympic Medical Center Foundation’s Festival of Trees takes place today through Sunday, Santa will make appearances at sundry events, community members will light towering trees and carolers will usher in small-business holiday shopping.

Port Angeles tree lighting

PORT ANGELES — Whether it sprinkles or pours, Port Angeles will be covered.

For the first time, the audience at the annual Port Angeles Downtown Association holiday tree lighting Saturday can sit beneath a large tent to enjoy the festivities, organizer Richard Stephens said.

“It’s worth every penny,” he said, recalling last year’s drizzle.

The celebration, featuring a “surprise” visit from Santa, downtown deals and the light-switch tree lighting, will take place on Laurel Street. The road will close to traffic between First and Front streets.

It begins at 3:30 p.m. Saturday with live entertainment.

Attendees will be treated to free cookies, hot chocolate and coffee while listening to a reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Performances also include singers and dancers from the Lower Elwha Tribe and the Hamilton Elementary School choir under the direction of Trent Pomeroy.

Santa will roll down Laurel Street around 4:45 p.m. by a yet-to-be-revealed mode of transportation.

Then, children can take photos with Port Angeles’ veteran Santa, whom Stephens describes glowingly.

“He’s adorable, and we love him,” he said. “We hope he does it forever.”

The festivities culminate with St. Nicholas pressing the light switch just before 5 p.m., setting the 35-foot-tall community tree aglow for the first time in 2017.

Sequim Hometown Holidays, ‘Shop Small’ Saturday

SEQUIM — The man in red, glowing lights and tractors are coming to town.

The Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce invites Sequim residents to take part in Hometown Holidays and “Shop Small” Saturday.

The festivities gather at Sequim Centennial Place, on the corner of Sequim Avenue and Washington Street, beginning at 1:15 p.m. Saturday as the Sequim City Band kicks off the musical entertainment.

Then, Santa Claus will arrive in a horse-drawn carriage around 2 p.m. for photo opportunities aplenty.

The lineup of performers continues with the Sequim High School Jazz Band at 2:15 p.m., Grand Olympics Chorus at 2:45 p.m., Jazz Judy Clark at 3:15 p.m., Jonathan Simonson at 3:45 p.m., Olympic Peninsula Men’s Chorus at 4:15 p.m. and GhostLight Productions’ “White Christmas” at 4:30 p.m.

The tree lighting takes place at 4:45 p.m. after a few words marking the occasion. The guess that comes closest to the number of lights will win a gift certificate to a Sequim business.

Antique tractors send off the celebration with a procession from QFC to Mariner Cafe, organized by the Sequim Museum.

Festival of Trees

PORT ANGELES — All 500 tickets to today’s Festival of Trees Gala — plus the Teddy Bear Tea — have sold, but Saturday and Sunday offer more opportunities to participate in the festival.

All events take place in the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St.

A senior breakfast takes place at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Limited tickets, $12 each, will be available at the door.

The breakfast consists of quiche, a muffin and fruit. Music will be performed by the Port Angeles High School Strings.

Then, Saturday and Sunday allow the public to view the custom-decorated trees and wreaths and participate in family-oriented activities.

Family Days takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Both days include an opportunity to snap pictures with Santa from noon to 2 p.m., participate in various crafts and activities, and enjoy live entertainment.

Tickets cost $6 each, and children younger than 12 enter free.

To participate in activities, two wristband options will be offered. For $5, one can participate in all activities, except for gingerbread house making. A $15 wristband also includes a gingerbread house.

Other activities include a basketball toss, bean bag toss, Christmas face painting, Christmas nail art, Christmas tree scavenger hunt, holiday card making, letter to Santa, reindeer candy canes, snow fairy wands and thank-you notes to soldiers.

The 27th annual three-day fundraiser for the OMC Foundation is budgeted to collect $110,000 this year, foundation Executive Director Bruce Skinner said.

“We’re always happy when we can raise six figures,” Skinner said.

Lighting of Lake Crescent

PORT ANGELES — Today at sunset, approximately 4:30 p.m., the exterior of Lake Crescent Lodge will radiate with hundreds of bulbs.

The public can come to 416 Lake Crescent Road to enjoy the lighting, sip hot chocolate, munch on Christmas cookies and listen to carolers as the lodge kicks off the “official start” of the holiday season.

Santa will also appear, allowing for photo opportunities.

Guests are encouraged to bring umbrellas in case of inclement weather, as well as toys and food donations. Bins will be set up to support Toys for Tots and the Port Angeles Food Bank.

Port Townsend ‘Flurry of Winter Fun’

PORT TOWNSEND — The “Flurry of Winter Fun” campaign kicks off today — Black Friday — in Port Townsend.

Then, Saturday yields the national “Small Business Saturday.” Port Townsend shoppers will be joined by roving carolers of the Wild Rose Chorale from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Many downtown establishments will close later than usual, according to a press release.

Winners of the Port Townsend Main Street Holiday Window Contest will be announced Saturday as well.

Old Alcohol Plant Tree Lighting

PORT HADLOCK — Old Alcohol Plant Hotel, 310 Hadlock Bay Road in Port Hadlock, will host a tree lighting of its own Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The ceremony, free to attend, will feature a performance by the “Poinsettias” Chorale group from Rainshadow Chorale at 7 p.m. Harpist John Tang will also perform in the dining area.

A buffet, opening at 5 p.m., includes game meats, turkey, ham, oyster stuffing, corn timbale, vegetable medley, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, salad, homemade breads, cornbread, plum pudding, assorted pies and full bar service.

Dinner tickets cost $60 per adult and $25 for children between 6 and 12 years old, though listening to the performance does not cost anything. Children 5 or younger eat free.

To reserve dinner tickets, call 360-390-4017 or email


Reporter Sarah Sharp can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at

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