Kent readies for Winterfest fun: Read the story, see the schedule

Bill Westcott hears from many adults how much they’ve enjoyed the Kent Winterfest light show the last two years downtown at Town Square Plaza. But the Winterfest organizer remembers even more the reaction of the children, when thousands of lights brighten up the 30-foot Christmas tree and the entire park at Second Avenue and West Harrison Street. “It’s fun to hear the kids scream and to see them jump up and down,” said Westcott, who organizes the event under the auspices of the Kent Lions Club. Children and adults will get a chance to see even more lights in the park at the 28th annual Winterfest celebration Saturday. The event is free. The tree lighting is at 5:30 p.m

Phoebe Falzone

Phoebe Falzone

(Editor’s Note: Winterfest Schedule runs below this story)

Bill Westcott hears from many adults how much they’ve enjoyed the Kent Winterfest light show the last two years downtown at Town Square Plaza.

But the Winterfest organizer remembers even more the reaction of the children, when thousands of lights brighten up the 30-foot Christmas tree and the entire park at Second Avenue and West Harrison Street.

“It’s fun to hear the kids scream and to see them jump up and down,” said Westcott, who organizes the event under the auspices of the Kent Lions Club.

Children and adults will get a chance to see even more lights in the park at the 28th annual Winterfest celebration Saturday. The event is free. The tree lighting is at 5:30 p.m.

“The tree will have approximately 9,000 lights and we’ll have 40,000 lights total in the park,” Westcott said. “We’ll keep adding lights every year as the budget allows.”

Festival organizers displayed 7,000 lights on last year’s tree and more than 20,000 lights throughout the park on buildings as well as permanent and temporary trees.

The lighting of the tree and park synchronized to computer-generated music makes the event even more entertaining. The light show lasts for about 5 minutes.

“It’s just fun for everybody who comes to it,” Westcott said. “People are used to seeing trees lit up. But they are not used to orchestrated lighting with all of the lights in synch to music. Everybody loves that.”

Trees ‘n Bees, Inc., of Auburn, will provide the Christmas tree.

The festival also features a Santa parade at 4:30 p.m. that starts at Fourth Avenue and Ramsay Way, stops near the theaters at the Santa house and then continues to Town Square Plaza.

The parade this year includes the Kent-Meridian drum and bugle corps, Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke, the Kent Lions Club, the Kent Cornucopia Days float, Girl Scouts, llamas, the Kentwood High School band and a Kent Fire Department truck carrying Santa.

“The llamas will wear covers with battery-operated lights,” Westcott said.

The llamas are from Linda Bushaw’s farm on the East Hill of Kent.

Kent resident Paul Morford is honorary grand marshal of the parade, although he will not participate in the parade because of health reasons. The Morford family, longtime promoters of Kent activities, have provided the vintage carousel that operates through the holiday season at the park. The carousel runs noon to 8 p.m. during Winterfest.

Other activities include the Mayor’s Winter Walk at 1 p.m. followed by the Mayor’s Polar Pet Walk at 1:30 p.m. Both are led by Mayor Suzette Cooke. The Winter Walk is a mile in length, while the Polar Pet Walk, where owners bring their pets for a walk around downtown, is — in length.

Children will get a chance from 2-4 p.m. to take part in various activities at the former Bittersweet restaurant, 211 First Ave. S., sponsored by Project U (th), a Kent teen program. The activities include a holiday costume contest, cookie decorating, a candy cane lane and a snowman-building contest.

Children and their parents can attend a holiday story time at 4 p.m. at the Kent Library.

Winterfest also features an All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 4 at Maggie’s on Meeker. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and children ages 5-12. Children ages 5 and younger eat for free. The meal includes pancakes, sausage (single serving), coffee, tea, juice or milk. For more information or to buy tickets to guarantee a seat, call Maggie’s at 253-852-4116.

Many who attend Winterfest also like to check out the more than 100 vendors who will display their goods at the 27th annual Kent Winter Craft Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 4 at Kent Commons, 525 Fourth Ave. N.

For more information about Winterfest, call the Kent Lions at 253-852-5466.

Kent Winterfest 2010

(at Town Square Plaza Park, Second Avenue and West Harrison Street)

• 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. – All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast, $10 adults, $5 seniors, children ages 5-12, Maggie’s on Meeker

• 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Kent Winter Craft Bazaar, Kent Commons, 525 Fourth Ave. N.

• Noon to 8 p.m. – Morford Family Holiday Carousel

• 1 p.m. – Mayor’s Winter Walk

• 1:30 p.m. – Mayor’s Polar Pet Walk

• 2-4 p.m. – Kids activities at the North Pole, 211 First Ave. S.

• 4 p.m. – Holiday reading at Kent Library, 212 Second Ave. N.

• 4:30 p.m. – Santa Parade between Town Square Plaza and Kent Station

• 5:30 p.m. – Annual Tree Lighting


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