After a year hiatus from normal Winterfest traditions due to COVID-19, islanders gathered in town on Saturday, Dec. 4, for the return of the Santa parade followed by the lighting of Vashon’s Christmas tree at Vashon Village.
Santa and Mrs. Claus, seated in the back of a festively decorated red pickup truck, were escorted down the parade path by a Vashon Island Fire & Rescue truck. The Clauses waved to those who had lined the candy-cane-filled streets, even in the midst of the steadily falling rain. Familiar Christmas tunes were pumped into the streets as the parade passed by.
Upon the parade’s arrival at Vashon Village, Santa and Mrs. Claus took photos with children and families, before the event’s emcee, Vashon Chamber of Commerce board president Cheryl Lubbert, welcomed everyone in attendance to Winterfest.
Community members Bettie Edwards and Lynann Politte also made special holiday announcements to the community.
Edwards, along with the Clauses, reminded children that they can write Santa directly and receive a response back. Letters to Santa can be dropped off at the Vashon Bookshop, and letters must have a return address.
“All I see is the rooftops, so I need the address,” said Santa.
Politte, the gallery director at Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA), reminded the community that all entries in VCA’s Gingerbread Contest are currently on display in the lobby of VCA. Community members can vote on their favorite entries, and the three winners will be awarded a $100 Thriftway gift card.
After these announcements, the Christmas tree remained unlit. However, this would not be the case for long.
“The final, important thing to do is to ask Mr. and Mrs. Claus to light that tree,” said Lubbert.
Santa, encouraging the crowd to cheer louder before lighting the tree, lit the Christmas tree up in shining, white lights.
The crowd at Winterfest was then led by Kevin Joyce and Rebekah Kuzma in a sing-a-long of“Deck the Halls,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “Jingle Bells.”
“The louder you sing, the more likely it is to snow,” said Joyce.