Saturday, Dec. 7, is when all the holiday fun happens in Arlington and Marysville.
Arlington’s “Hometown Holidays” will kick off with the Santa Parade at noon on Olympic Avenue, and follow it immediately with the tree-lighting ceremony at Legion Park.
“It’ll be a big reveal,” said Sarah Lopez, recreation manager for the city of Arlington. “Because of the timing, we’ll be able to get everyone together for it, much easier than we did when it took place later in the afternoon.”
Kids can stop by to see Santa in the depot at Legion Park from 1-3 p.m., while musicians and other entertainers perform in the Legion Park gazebo, and the Lifeway Foursquare Church of Arlington serves up cocoa and crafts for children, as well as the Festive Sweater Contest hosted by Pastor Chad Blood.
“Last year, one of the Old Bags of Arlington won it,” Lopez said. “She was totally decked out, and she’ll probably be back this year, so the competition is sure to be fierce.”
Free covered wagon rides will be available from 12:30-4:30 p.m. to take Hometown Holidays attendees up and down the length of Olympic Avenue, while the Co-Op Supply store hosts the Handmade Holiday market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the City Hall plaza serves as the site for the Old-Fashioned Bake Sale.
The Stillaguamish Athletic Club will likewise kick off its Toys For Tots Fun Run at 11 a.m., while the Local Scoop restaurant conducts its annual gingerbread house competition that same Saturday.
“It takes a lot of different organizations to make this happen,” said Lopez, who expressed her appreciation to Arlington’s churches for chipping in for prizes for the best entries in this year’s Santa Parade. “Nola Smith of Pacific Learning Solutions helped coordinate so much of this, and we’ll be treated to the musical talents of Arlington High School, through John Grabowski’s band and Jeff Swanson’s choir. And if any kids are wondering whether Santa is real this year, all they have to do is see his real beard.”
The 25th annual “Merrysville for the Holidays” will get off to a slightly later start that day, with its holiday crafts show showcasing more than 25 vendors of handmade gifts from 2-8 p.m. in the Ken Baxter Community Center, but it also lasts much later into the night, since its Electric Lights Parade doesn’t start proceeding south along State Avenue until 6:30 p.m., roughly around the same time that the community bonfire is lit in Comeford Park.
The outdoor grounds of Comeford Park will serve as the site for the majority of “Merrysville” activities in Marysville, from the lighting of the water tower by Grand Marshal Carol Kapua and the fireworks show at 7 p.m., to the musical performance by the Marysville City Band in the Rotary pavilion and family photo opportunities with Santa and Mrs. Claus immediately following.
Among this year’s featured activities and sponsors are the Marysville Lions and Kiwanis clubs, Ivar’s Seafood Restaurant, Vinaccio Coffee, the Marysville Dog Owners Group, Marysville Kids Matter, the Marysville-Pilchuck High School Band Boosters, BECU, the Marysville Co-Op and the Girl Scouts. The Marysville Community Food Bank will also be collecting food for its Christmas meal basket distribution on Dec. 16, 17 and 20, and toys for its Toy Store on Dec. 18-19.
The Downtown Marysville Merchants Association will be tying into this year’s activities by offering “Late ‘til 8” shopping, keeping stores on historic Third Street open from their regular business hours until 8 p.m. that Saturday, as part of their annual “Passport to Christmas.”
“Bert and Herb, our strolling minstrels, will be going from store to store from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” Hilton Pharmacy owner Mary Kirkland said. “We’re not sure yet if Santa will be able to put in an appearance near the Outer Court, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”