Silverdale prepares for Santa’s arrival

Santa Claus is greeted by the community upon his arrival at last year’s Silverdale Christmas tree lighting ceremony. - Aaron Managhan/file photo
Santa Claus is greeted by the community upon his arrival at last year’s Silverdale Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
— image credit: Aaron Managhan/file photo

Annual Christmas tree lighting set for Nov. 29.

As they have for several decades, numerous Silverdale community organizations and philanthropists will circle around the community’s Christmas tree and kick off the holiday season Nov. 29.

The festivities are slated to begin at 5 p.m. at the Silverdale Antiques Store on Silverdale Way as Brownsville Elementary School choir teacher Shirley Jenkins will lead her students in singing songs of the season.

As the songs are sung, many long-time volunteers like Bill Seelow will watch as recollections of celebrations past meld with those present and future.

“We’re hoping for good weather,” Seelow said. “We’ve had it when it’s snowing and when it’s raining, but people still come out.”

For most people who make the annual pilgrimage to see one of the first Christmas trees of the season, the unpredictable weather conditions are simply part of living in Washington state, he added.

If there happens to be a crisp winter chill in the air, cookies, coffee and hot cocoa will be in ample supply, he said.

The event dates back to more than 45 years ago when a volunteer fire department, of which Seelow was a member, began hosting the community celebration. When the fire department discontinued the celebration, several community service clubs stepped in to keep the tradition alive, he recalled.

“We were all doing different things and this brings us together,” Seelow said, adding that although he’s considered retiring from the event several times, he hasn’t quite been able to do so.

“The phone starts ringing and then it takes off,” he said.

The Silverdale Rotary and Silverdale Lions hang and maintain the lights, while the Central Kitsap Kiwanis helps out by sponsoring St. Nick’s annual visit.

“There are a lot of people who remember their parents bringing them,” Seelow said, adding that many volunteers like himself have supported the event for many years.

While the event is great for the community, it comes at a cost, which fortunately has been met by donations from local merchants and individuals alike, he said.

Last year the star on the tree had to be replaced and this year a string of lights was replaced as through the years the community has always found a way to rally around the event to make it happen, he added.

“It takes money to do it and effort to do it by people who like to do things for other people,” Seelow said.

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