Hundreds turn out in Port Townsend for a ‘warm’ welcome for Santa Claus

PORT TOWNSEND — A light drizzle wasn’t going to stop Santa Claus from showing up in Port Townsend on Saturday night.

In fact, the absence of snow and the 50-degree temperature probably acted as an incentive for Mr. Claus to take time out of his busy schedule to make the visit.

More than 500 people crammed into the intersection of Washington and Taylor streets to get a glimpse of Old Saint Nick, and watch as the Port Townsend Christmas tree lit up the sky near the Haller Fountain.

As Santa rolled up Taylor street toward the fountain in a horse-drawn carriage, the mass of people parted to allow the makeshift sleigh a route to the stage.

Once Santa stepped foot on the street, dozens of children gathered — all seeking a quick word with the man who would soon be making a transcontinental voyage to deliver presents to their homes.

There was no red carpet, but the flash of the cameras and the shouts of “Santa, Santa!” throughout the crowd proved one thing — Santa Claus is still a star.

But on Saturday night, his star might not have shone brightest.

The community Christmas tree — 20 feet tall and decked in lights and ornaments ¬­– was lit just before 5 p.m., as Mayor Michelle Sandoval cried out to the crowd, “Let there be light!”

The hundreds of people breathed “oohs” and “ahhs” and snapped photographs of the bright green giant over the fountain.

No snow needed — Christmas had come to Port Townsend.

Sandoval thanked the crowd for coming and asked them to remember what this season was truly about.

“This is a wonderful tradition in our town,” Sandoval said. “It’s a time for us to take stock in how truly blessed we are.”

Santa thanked the audience for the turnout.

“It’s always great to be back in Port Townsend,” he said.

“This is a great community, and many things to be thankful for here.”

After the lighting, carols were sung and photographs were taken.

Neighbors visited, and children sat with Santa, telling him exactly what they wanted for the holidays.

The tree will remain lit though Christmas day.

But, it will not be the last item to be illuminated this holiday season.

Boat Haven and Point Hudson will show the holiday spirit on Dec. 14 as residents “Deck The Hulls” between 2 and 6 p.m. at the Yacht Club at the Boat Haven.

All are invited to check out the marinas during the celebration.

________

Reporter Erik Hidle can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at erik.hidle@peninsuladailynews.com.

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