Expect sugary smiles and sweet tooth-filled grins during this weekend’s Festival of Lights in Montesano, with the appropriate theme, “A Candyland Christmas.”
The annual event starts Friday and ends Sunday, but most of t he festivities take place Saturday, including the grand parade at 6 p.m. downtown.
Organizer Moraya Wilson says the theme was chosen by this year’s committee to reflect the time families spend together.
“It brings back the memories of playing board games and family time,” Wilson said. “It’s little kids laughing and trying to beat your older siblings or getting together as siblings to beat the parents. It’s just about having fun.”
Here’s what the kids probably want to know first: Santa will be making an appearance Saturday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Marni’s Petal Pushers, at Monte Square, 100 Brumfield Ave. No. 5. Right after, the big parade starts at 6 p.m. with the annual lighting of the yule log at Fleet Park at 7 p.m.
And there’s one significant change from previous year’s festivals — there will be no Cantata this year at the United Methodist Church. It has usually been on the Sunday of the same weekend of the festival. The timing just didn’t work out this year, despite what’s in the festival programs, church organizers told The Vidette.
And although there are sure to be lots of smiles all over, some explanation is likely in order to tell the kids that there’s no special bus ride for folks to take this year to visit all of the houses decorated in great style.
The Festival of Lights will have to do without that favorite tradition — and this is one you really can blame on the federal government. The days of Grays Harbor Transit picking up thousands of enthusiasts and taking them throughout the city on a look at some of the best-decorated homes across the Harbor are over. Instead, because of new federal regulations governing the way Transit allows the buses to operate, thousands of cars will have to take a self-guided tour.
Maps of the route will be handed out at the parade.
Wilson said organizers looked into the possibility of shuttles or chartering buses, but it has proven too expensive in the past. Transit provided their buses for free as a community service.
“It’s sad but we’ll make do with the self-guided tours,” she said.
Extra police will be on hand the night of the Festival of Lights for traffic control, she said.
This year’s festival starts Friday at 10 a.m. with an art show by local artist Ken Hurley in the Whitney’s Chevrolet showroom. It continues Saturday and Sunday.
The big Friday event is at 6:30 p.m. at the Montesano High School commons with a music review featuring some of the best singers on the Harbor.
The event continues Saturday at 8 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at Montesano City Hall. Cost is $5 per person and breakfast goes until 10:30 a.m. Rumor has it Santa may make an appearance here, too.
The Craft Fair and Bazaar with many local wares and artist displays goes from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Montesano Junior High gym.
The county courthouse will be open for special tours from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday and will stay open for a special concert Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with the Simpson Elementary Choir at 1 p.m., the Montesano High School flutists at 2 p.m. (replacing the Sylvan quartet because half the singers are sick); and the Montesano High School choir and brass at 3:30 p.m.
From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the Montesano Fire Department is taking donations for its chowder feed at 310 E. Pioneer Ave. and the Moose Lodge will be open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for a homemade chili and cornbread at a cost of $3 per person.
The library will also be open for an open house from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.