A Christmas Adventure

This weekend I did something that I’ve never done before. And given the chance, I’d definitely do it again. And again. Again. And…you get the picture.

8 friends and I packed into a couple of cars for a whimsical holiday-themed weekend in what can only be described as a winter wonderland. I had never seen Leavenworth at Christmastime, and being the Christmas fanatic that I am, was stupidly excited to head to central Washington.

As Justin Beiber serenaded the car with carols about prepubescent crushes and snowball fights, I  dreamily gazed out the window into the snowy abyss and dreamt of what would be. I’m happy to tell you that the Christmas Lighting Ceremony and winter festivities held in the heart of Leavenworth’s town square were all I hoped they could be. Unfortunately, however, I will let you know that the same could not be said for the Beibster’s Christmas album.

When you approach the town center it’s almost as if you’re walking into a scene from a movie you never want to end. There’s little kids overjoyed at the sight of Santa. There’s also little kids scared out of their minds at the sight of a fat, bearded man asking them to sit on his lap (and those fearful faces just never get old). There’s large nutcrackers meandering about. There’s carolers, sledders, lovers holding hands, peppermint hot chocolates, snow glittering underfoot, cheers echoing out of saloons, presents being bought, and more odd looking hats than one could begin to imagine.

And until 4:30, there’s no lights.

You know when the lighting festival is about to begin because everyone in town, and I sincerely mean everyone, packs into town square to listen to the the words of the cheerful town mayor and the ‘ho ho ho’ from jolly old Saint Nick. The mayor announces that the town should count down from 10 to see the giant tree be magically lit. The town does. And the tree really is beautiful. The mayor then announces that the town should count down from 10 to see the whole town be magically lit. The town does. And as two north stars march from opposite ends of the town, the shops and restaurants light up as they pass.

The carolers begin to sing again as the people begin to cheer. For those of us who’s inner child still thrives inside of them, seeing all of the lights and smiles and hearing all the joy truly makes for an unforgettable evening. And someone told me that the New York Times rated Leavenworth’s Christmas Lighting ceremony in the top 5 Christmas celebrations to see in the country. No clue if that’s valid or not, but suppose it is. If the New York Times says it’s amazing then you know you’ll think it’s awesome too.

Tonight the TWIF staff meets to discuss all of the amazing upcoming events we have in store for our communities and wonderful volunteers. Be sure to check back ASAP to see what’s coming your way! And of course, feel free to check the website for tons of fun volunteer opportunities to get involved in!

-Amber Carrigan