Over the weekend, none other than Santa and Mrs. Claus rode down Vashon Highway to the delight of islanders for a very special occasion.
No, Jolly Old Saint Nick wasn’t there to deliver presents — Christmas is still a few weeks away, after all. Rather, he came to light the community holiday tree, enjoying its new location in between Vashon Village and a suite of offices, including The Beachcomber and the Chamber of Commerce.
Onlookers, young and old, counted down from three with the Chamber’s Jennifer Potter and Jim Marsh before the tree, covered in white lights and a large star on top, lit up. And then, a local band jammed to a holiday classic, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
What was apparent on Saturday, Dec. 7, during the annual Winterfest, was that islanders really love their community tree, regardless of whether they celebrate Christmas or not.
The tree serves as a focal point and gathering spot for the community during the holiday season. It’s also a symbol of harmony and hope at the end of yet another newsworthy year for the island.
We love the community tree — not just because it is now visible to us at our office — and we hope that islanders continue to support installing it every year.
But more than the tree itself is the celebration of lighting it. For Vashon, Winterfest is the way to do it. Other communities, nationwide and throughout the state of Washington, have their own ways of ringing in the holidays.
Some of the most elaborate examples are not-so-close-to-home, such as the lighting of the tree at New York’s Rockefeller Plaza and the National Tree in Washington, D.C. with the sitting president and his family.
But closer to Vashon, other islands, like Lopez and Mercer, put their own stamp on holiday festivities. On Lopez, the islanders don’t light a tree — just the community plaza. On Mercer, island officials have revived the annual Holiday lights at Mercerdale Park and the Firehouse Munch after the community stepped up to support it despite past financial challenges.
The Beachcomber is supportive of the annual Winterfest. It’s an event for everyone to come together, whether they celebrate Christmas or not, and support each other and the positive spirit that typically comes with the holidays.
But Winterfest is just one example of how Vashon-Maury Island celebrates this time of year. The Vashon Friends of the Library will provide supplies for crafts at the library from 6:45 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12; island dogs can get their pictures taken with Santa during a fundraiser for Trumper’s Fund at VIPP from 12 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15; and the Seattle-based Celtic band, The Holly and the Haggis, will perform Christmas music from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21.
Vashon-Maury Island knows how to stay festive during the holiday season, so be sure to attend these events in the lead up to Christmas. And while you’re at it, you might as well check out the community holiday tree!