Marysville celebrates the holidays

MARYSVILLE — The return of the Electric Lights Parade in this year’s “Merrysville for the Holidays” winter festival brought with it what city officials estimate to be a record turnout.

According to city of Marysville Recreation Coordinator Andrea Kingsford, both the parade and the afternoon of holiday activities in Comeford Park that preceded it drew close to 5,000 attendees, up from last year’s turnout of roughly 2,000 for the winter festival without a lights parade. Kingsford added that even previous years’ festivals averaged only 3,000-3,500 with the parade.

While the Marysville Lions Club stoked the community bonfire, the Ken Baxter Community Center offered holiday shoppers a chance to come in from the cold and browse through aisles of area crafts-makers’ wares. Jessie Weigand of JAM Enterprises and Frankie Morales of Wink Fun Funky Fashions modeled each others’ distinctive headgear to drum up business for each other, while 10-year-old Zoe Chandel showed off the fused glass Christmas ornaments she’d made for Mission Heights, her mother’s arts-and-crafts company.

“The hats are really cute and I liked the clam chowder,” said Cassie Santos of Tulalip, after polishing off some samples from the local Ivar’s. “This is my first time at this festival. My mom told me I had to come see the lights of the parade.”

“I like it a lot,” said fellow Tulalip native Keith Pablo, also a first-time attendee. “You get to see everybody in town and have your pictures taken with your family.”

Outdoors, the Marysville Community Food Bank and Toy Store continued collecting for the holiday season, while the Marysville Kiwanis Club served up piping-hot chili-dogs. Michael Aspen, owner of “Sweet Sheri Baby's,” treated curious customers such as Nancy and Jonathan Pena to his cupcake and marzipan confections, while Marysville Relay for Life volunteers Leslie Jackson, Michelle Clayton and Lynette Hjort braved the cold to get a head start on fundraising for 2011.

Dan and Katrina Tonseth have attended “Merrysville for the Holidays” for two of the three years that they’ve lived in Marysville, and even as they shuffle-stepped around in circles to keep their bodies evenly warmed by the bonfire, they expressed enthusiasm for the event.

“We both come from small towns so this reminds us of home,” Katrina Tonseth said. “We want our daughter to know the same sort of experience that we knew growing up. It’s not like a city here. You can have good, clean, homey fun and people will talk to you like you’re all one big family.”

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