The spirit of the season washed over Vashon Island on Dec. 2 during the annual WinterFest celebration.
Hundreds braved the cold and the dark Saturday to see the colorful lights from the parade, to hear the 27-member Vashon High School Band perform holiday favorites, and to taste the hot cocoa served at multiple locations up and down Vashon Highway.
Kids danced, sang and cartwheeled as the Vashon Fire & Rescue-led parade rolled down the highway, scrambling to grab candy tossed or handed out to them. Trucks and tractors hauled kids, lights and even a giant homemade gingerbread house.
Businesses donned lights, garlands and other decorations, and Vashon’s giant candy canes lit up the street. Elves, snowmen and the Grinch made appearances. Even Vashon’s own Edgar the Forest King — a troll-inspired costume creation of islander Matt Beurseken based on Thomas Dambo’s Oscar the Bird King — rolled down Vashon Highway clad in Christmas garb during the parade.
The parade culminated with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus leading the tree-lighting ceremony, after which they were followed by a gaggle of kids eager to speak to the legendary yuletide gift-givers.
A third-grade choir — students in Erin Kealy’s third-grade classroom at Chautauqua Elementary School — sang “Jingle Bells” beneath the tree, and the Vashon Island Chorale performed “Deck the Halls” in the Backlot of the Vashon Theatre, washed under red holiday lights.
Winterfest is organized annually by the Vashon Chamber of Commerce.
While the event is over, it’s not too late for little ones to commune with St. Nick.
Santa will return to his cottage behind U.S. Bank from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10. Santa will not have a professional photographer, but families can take their own pictures and bring their pets.
Kids can drop their letters for Santa in a mailbox at the Vashon Bookshop as late as Dec. 21 to receive answers; just remember to include a return address. Postage is not necessary. (Letters dropped off at the post office won’t arrive to St. Nick.)