Holiday Open House brings Santa, music and good tidings

Islanders are invited to celebrate the winter holidays at the annual Holiday Open House in downtown Vashon this Friday. Several additions to the evening are planned, making for a festive time for all.

Stores will be open for visitors to drop off coupons — found in The Beachcomber this week and last week — for prizes; Santa will come to town with Mrs. Claus, an interfaith menorah will be lit and the Church of Great Rain will do a short show in the heart of town.

“It’s a night to hug your neighbors, greet your friends and have a good time,” said Bettie Edwards, owner of the The Little House and a Christmas enthusiast.

Festivities will kick off with the Santa Parade. Families can line up at Movie Magic at 5:30 p.m. for the parade to Ober Park. Children will lead the way, carrying the bells from Doc Eastly’s shires, who were a fixture of Vashon’s Christmases for years. Keeping the horse tradition going, Cheerio the horse will step in this year, also at the head of the parade. The high school marching band will play songs of the season as Santa and Mrs. Claus ride a holiday tractor to Ober Park, where the tree will be lit about 6 p.m.

The marching band will then lead the entourage back to Ober Park, where a living menorah will be lit, with members of various faith communities on the Island holding each of the eight candles of the menorah. The band has learned a medley of Jewish songs and will accompany the lighting. Shortly after the lighting, around 7 p.m. near the Village Green, the Church of Great Rain will perform a short piece on keeping Vashon weird.

Bethel Children’s Choir, roasting chestnuts and “real” snow can be enjoyed throughout the evening in front of Café Luna, Frame of Mind and Books by the Way. Watch for surprises and events as they unfold throughout the evening.

After the planned events, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be spotted around town and in Santa’s cottage. His cottage will be easy to find on dark nights this year because of the new star — made up of 1,000 twinkling lights — marking his spot.

The open house will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3. It is presented by the Vashon Merchants and sponsored by the Vashon Maury Island Chamber of Commerce.

For the safety of the holiday revelers, the main highway will be closed from 4:30 to 8 p.m.

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