There might be a chill in the air, but the bright feeling of the holidays is just warming up. The city of Aberdeen is hosting their second annual Winterfest, sponsored by Aberdeen Revitalization Movement, on December 1 and 2. They are kicking off December right by spreading the holiday cheer throughout downtown Aberdeen and at the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport.
There will be plenty of activities spread over Friday and Saturday that is sure to bring out the holiday joy in the community. From door drawings to crafts to perusing vendors at the Holiday Market, there is something fun to do for all ages.
“Our whole goal is to keep people here on the harbor for the entire weekend and provide activities and old fashioned family fun for everyone,” says Bette Worth, co-chairperson in the committee for Winterfest 2017. “And also to draw people from out of the area to see what we have.”
In true holiday spirit, downtown Aberdeen has been dubbed the “North Pole” for the fest with the Historical Seaport being called the “South Pole.” On Friday, the activities will all be hosted in downtown Aberdeen with the seaport events beginning at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday to coincide with downtown events.
“It’s a total holiday atmosphere and kind of kicks off the holiday season,” says Worth. Lots of elves have helped make this merry setting, including forty volunteers from many organizations, such as Aberdeen’s Beautification Committee, World Class Scholars and the Aberdeen Lions Club are coming together to make the festivities all they can be.
Last year, there were expected to be about 75 people participating at Winterfest, but they ended up with 250 people coming out to enjoy the wintery event. And this year is expected to be even bigger with 42 participating vendors of all varieties at the holiday market as well as 30 merchants and restaurants joining in on the fun. The committee carefully selected vendors that they believed would be popular to attendees.
“With the holiday market, we did not want to have vendors that may compete with our downtown businesses,” says Worth. “So we’ve been very sensitive to that.” The holiday market is located at 117 W Wishkah Street and the space has been generously donated for use by Larry and Jane Goldberg.
To kick things off on Friday, there is a gathering at Zelasko Park from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. for a tree lighting. Then caroling hosted by Robert Gray Glee Club and Aberdeen High School American Sign Language Group and hot chocolate and cookies provided by the parks and recreation department. Santa will be arriving in style on an Aberdeen fire truck. From there, the party will get started throughout downtown. There are free trolley rides available from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday from Zelasko Park and by City Drug that go in a loop through downtown.
“Our goal is to increase foot traffic in downtown Aberdeen all year round,” says Worth. “But we decided on doing a holiday event to promote the holiday spirit [and] get families to come down.”
On Saturday morning, children up to 12-years-old (or sixth grade) are invited to have a free pancake breakfast at 9:00 a.m. with Santa sponsored by the Windermere Foundation at the D&R Theatre Event Center located at 112 E Heron Street. There will be crafts and an opportunity to write letters to Santa. Pictures with Santa at the center will also be happening from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. for $10 as a fundraiser for the Grays Harbor Community Hospital Foundation.
The historical seaport will have an abundance of things to do on Saturday. There will be a grand opening of the new gift shop, as well as a preview of the new spar shop. Captain Kringle will also be making an appearance. Winterfest goers can also expect a tree lighting, hot beverages, and even holiday pet photos as a fundraiser for PAWS of Grays Harbor. There will also be music and other family activities at the port.
For a complete rundown of activities, participating vendors and local businesses and a printable map of locations, visit Aberdeen Winterfest’s website put together by Graphically Deb, a committee member.