Islanders get in a merry holiday mood at Winterfest

Hundreds of islanders, both young and old, lined the street to cheer on a parade led by the shiny ladder truck from Vashon Fire Rescue.

The holiday season got off to a joyful start with Vashon’s annual Winterfest celebration, which took place last Saturday on a cold but blessedly dry night.

As organized by the Vashon Chamber of Commerce, Vashon Highway was closed to traffic in the town’s center, and transformed into a bustling pedestrian mall for the occasion. Holiday open houses were held by local merchants, vendors occupied the plaza of Vashon Theatre, and local eateries filled up fast with islanders who wanted to warm up and grab a bite.

Starting at 6 p.m., hundreds of islanders, both young and old, lined the street to cheer on a parade, led by the shiny ladder truck from Vashon Island Fire & Rescue (VIFR) and Vashon’s Fire Chief and a crew of firefighters passing out candy canes. Then came a long line of lit-up, evergreen-draped vintage tractors and pick-up trucks — one of them towing along a towering inflatable Rudolph.

Other Winterfest celebs appearing in the parade included Old Saint Nick himself, of course, but there were also costumed characters from Vashon Center for the Arts’ production of “The Nutcracker,” and even the Grinch, behind the wheel of a beat-up Volkswagon bug. Cheering the whole thing on, and seemingly pulled from Central Casting, was a horde of bundled-up, brightly smiling island children.

The parade ended at Vashon Village, where two luminous hostesses, Sugar and Plum (otherwise known as Tami Brockway Joyce and Jennifer Potter) welcomed Santa and other special guests to a stage. Spirited renditions of carols were sung, kids continued to jump up and down with excitement and clap their hands with glee, and at last, a switch was thrown and the multicolored lights on Vashon’s small but official holiday tree blinked on.

Rockefeller Center, it wasn’t. But it was our tree, in our town, so it was even better than that.

See page 5, “Scene and Heard,” for more photos from last weekend on Vashon.