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Merrysville For The Holidays
Annual festival draws crowds for parade, tower lighting and festivities
MARYSVILLE — Comeford Park hosted the 20th anniversary of the “Merrysville for the Holidays” winter festival and electric lights parade Dec. 6, which drew just enough snow to make attendees’ hair wet, but not enough to turn the ground white.
The festivities started at the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center at 5:30 p.m., with an arts and crafts exhibition made up largely of the Senior Community Center’s own talent.
Maryke Burgess, of the Ken Baxter Senior Community Center, explained that the exhibition’s 17 tables displayed entirely handcrafted goods for sale, ranging from tote bags and children’s tutus to candy art and painted and carved gourds.
“I love that we can kick-start the holidays for Marysville here,” Burgess said.
The children’s tutus were produced by sisters-in-law Kerry Young and Katie Cook, of Hushabye Boutique, who started out making them for girls to wear during school spirit days before games, and then branched out into a variety of custom-order sizes and colors for everyone from babies to teenagers. They estimated that it takes them about an hour to make each tutu.
Senior Community Center volunteers Sandra Moody and Lyn Hedgecoth enabled kids to make edible artwork of their own with tubes of “candy sand.” Moody explained that the multicolored sugar’s flavors included grape, root beer, cherry, banana and blueberry, many of them tart.
“Kids love it because it’s like sand-painting,” said Moody, as Ruby Tuesday Kraft poured a variety of different colors of flavored sugar into her own clear plastic tube. “We supervise them, but we let them do it on their own. It’s the second year we’ve done it, and it’s pretty popular. It’s the only art here that kids can put together themselves.”
Frances Howland has been attending gourd art classes at the Senior Community Center every Tuesday for the past three years. She and her classmates were proud to sell their wares Dec. 6, many of which were designed to be suitable as holiday gifts and ornaments.
“Every gourd is different,” Howland said. “I like the people I’ve met through the class. We’re a good-time group.”
By 6:30 p.m., attendees had already lined State Avenue to take in the electric lights parade, in which a procession of vehicles and floats drove past decked out in bright holiday lights. Marysville police and fire vehicles put in appearances, as did several local Boy Scout, Girl Scout and Cub Scout groups, many of them on foot. Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall scooted forward in a eco-friendly car, while a strawberry-themed float for Marysville boasted huge and elaborate Arabian Knights-style decorations, complete with a cartoonish-looking strawberry riding a flying carpet.
After the Marysville-Pilchuck High School marching band, Community Transit hero OxyGene and the Salvation Army truck had all gone past, the parade concluded with Santa and Mrs. Claus riding high on a local fire engine. Marysville HomeStreet Bank Manager Marilyn Boe, who served as the parade’s grand marshal, was then called upon to help Kendall light up the city’s water tower, shortly after 7 p.m. Both Kendall and city of Marysville Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew cited the support that Boe and HomeStreet Bank have lent to city parks projects and furnishings as reasons why Boe was named parade grand marshal this year.
“Since HomeStreet Bank opened in Marysville, Marilyn stepped in immediately to offer support for parks projects as part of the bank’s service to the community, and her involvement has been non-stop ever since,” Ballew said.
Boe invited her staff to join her in lighting the water tower, after which Stuart Hunt conducted the Northern Sound Advanced Girls Choir in performing nearly an hour of holiday songs. In spite of a few quickly-dissolving snowflakes in the air, many attendees stayed outside to enjoy the music, warm themselves by the bonfire, play on the playground and have their photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Food and drinks were sold both outside and indoors, by the Senior Community Center and the Marysville Kiwanis and Lions clubs.
Barbara Gray was one of many mothers who lined up to snap shots of their kids with Santa. As her son Donovan climbed up into Santa’s lap, Barbara recalled that she’s attended “Merrysville for the Holidays” three of the four years that her family has lived in Marysville.
“I love everything about it,” Barbara Gray said. “We enjoy visiting Santa and I buy crafts at the Senior [Community] Center. This year, I bought earrings for myself and a handcrafted pen for my husband. It’s a real family thing.”
Darion Pockrandt has lived in Marysville three years, but this year marked his family’s first attendance of “Merrysville for the Holidays.”
“It’s pretty cool,” Pockrandt said. “It’s nice to see the community getting around the holidays, and all the kids and families coming out. The parade was really neat. We’re definitely coming back next year.”