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Chimes and Lights attract thousands despite freezing temps
Several thousand people packed around City Hall for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony and the arrival of Santa on Saturday during the 15th annual Festival of Chimes and Lights.
Cindy Lucarelli, event chair, estimated more than 5,000 people attended the festival, despite below freezing temperatures.
“Another wonderful Festival of Chimes and Lights has come and gone with 5,000 hardy souls joining in the festivities,” Lucarelli said. “It was not as many as last year, but it was because of the freezing weather.”
Councilman John Clauson, the honorary tree-lighter, signaled for the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of City Hall. Afterwards, people took turns posing in front of the tree for photos with digital cameras and cell phones.
The lone glitch in the festival — due to traffic concerns — was the late arrival of Santa who was escorted by the 135-member South Kitsap High School Marching Band under the direction on Gary Grams. But Santa made it safely to downtown as he made his way to Marina Park for photos with the children who awaited his appearance.
Lucarelli said more than 1,700 people made their way to the Port Orchard Library for crafts and storytime.
There was plenty of hot coffee and hot cocoa served throughout the day as people wandered around downtown for the special event and the Jingle Bell Boutique in the Port Orchard Pavilion.
A host of pets — dogs and cats — marched down Bay Street for the annual Pooch and Purrs Parade, sponsored by the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce.
Revelers enjoyed hay rides amidst the many sights and sounds provided by youth choirs and the South Kitsap High School marching band.
There was free food and snacks throughout most of the day provided by the Knights of Pythias, Heritage Foursquare Church, Calvary Church, Kitsap Bank, Port of Bremerton-Port Orchard Marina and the Saints Car Club, who served hot roasted chestnuts
The Gallery School of Music and Dance entertained crowds with a pair of performances, while the Kitsap Community Chorale and choirs from Marcus Whitman Junior High, East Port Orchard Elementary and John Sedgewick Junior High Generals performed later in the afternoon.