ARLINGTON — Arlington’s annual “Hometown Holidays” will once again be commemorated on Olympic Avenue with the Santa Parade starting at noon on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The city of Arlington Recreation Department is seeking participants for the parade, which includes floats, sports teams, drill teams, businesses, youth organizations, canine clubs, a holiday train, fire trucks and more, followed by Santa himself on a draft horse-drawn wagon. It’s free to enter this holiday-themed parade, but organizers will be accepting food donations for the Arlington Community Food Bank. Entrants may pre-register by calling 360-403-3448 or logging onto www.arlingtonwa.gov/recreation, or may register at 11:30 a.m. at the intersection of Division Street and Olympic Avenue. The best viewing area for the parade is from Third Street south to Legion Park. Awards will include ribbons for all and a cash prize for the best entry.
Santa Claus will be available for visits at Legion Park, located at 114 Olympic Ave., following the parade until 2:30 p.m. Parents should bring their cameras for photos. Lifeway Foursquare Church volunteers will be serving up free hot chocolate and children’s crafts at the park.
“Sugar and Spice,” Mark Winterhalter’s draft horses, will be giving wagon rides that same Saturday from 12:30-4:30 p.m., and also on the following Saturdays, Dec. 8 and 15, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The rides are free, sponsored by the Downtown Arlington Business Association, and the pick-up point is at Arlington City Hall, located at 238 Olympic Ave.
Strolling Victorian singers will be entertaining with traditional Christmas music on Dec. 1, and are set to be joined by a number of other musical groups scheduled to play that day.
Visitors to downtown Arlington can take advantage of “Super Saturday” shopping deals on Dec. 1, as many stores will offer a 20 percent discount. Purchasing local gifts and eating at local restaurants also helps the local economy, which in turn supports these events.
The Arlington Farmers Market will host a “Handmade Holiday” gift sale at the Co-Op Supply building at 101 S. Olympic Ave. on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Local crafters will be selling handmade gifts and goodies. The Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a bake sale in the Arlington City Hall plaza.
The evening of Dec. 1 will again mark the lighting of the Christmas Tree at Legion Park, as Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert joins Santa in lighting the tree at 4 p.m. During this time, onlookers can visit with Santa, beware of the Grinch, wear their holiday sweaters for the holiday sweater contest, with prizes sponsored by Action Sports, and take in live music and caroling with Lifeway Foursquare Church, as well as s’mores over fire pits with the Arlington Kiwanis Club, as they celebrate the season with the community.
The following Saturdays, Dec. 8 and 15, Santa will make return visits to Arlington at New Beginnings and the Co-op Supply, while the wagon rides and musical entertainment will continue around town.
Prior to the “Hometown Holidays,” the second annual Gingerbread House contest is set to kick off on Saturday, Nov. 24. The gingerbread houses will be displayed at the Local Scoop Café, where the public will be able to vote on their favorites. Entries can be delivered from Nov. 24 through Dec. 1. The earlier the delivery, the greater chance to win the People’s Choice Award. Other categories will include adults 18 years and older, young adults from 13-17 years old, children from 8-12 years old, and young children 7 years and younger. The adult completion prize will be $100 cash, while other gifts will be awarded for all categories. This contest is sponsored by DABA, and you can obtain entry forms and more information on their website at www.arlingtonwa.org.
Dec. 1 will also mark the return of the blood drive sponsored by the Carbajal family, this year from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Arlington City Council Chambers, while Friday, Dec. 7, and Dec. 8 will see the Linda M. Byrnes Performing Arts Center host the Nutcracker ballet. Dec. 8 will also serve as the date for this year’s Toys For Tots Airport Run, sponsored by the Arlington Runners Club and kicking off at 11 a.m. Log onto www.arlingtonrunnersclub.org for more details.
For more information about these events, please visit www.arlingtonwa.gov/recreation or call 360-403-3448.