Music, activities fill annual Festival of Chimes and Lights

This year’s Festival of Chimes and Lights should be bigger and better — thanks to more live music and activities.

Saturday marks the 15th year for the annual event in downtown Port Orchard, which includes the third annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk, the lighting of the Christmas tree, playing of the chimes and, of course, the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“It’s going to be a real fun event with lots of activities,” said Cindy Lucarelli, event chair. “We’ve added more music and more activities for this year’s event; plus, we have extended the event down to the waterfront.”

Lucarelli said activities at Marina Park will include choirs singing and churches selling food and refreshments.

Lucarelli feels there are more groups participating in this year’s event.

“We have more organizations and volunteers involved this year more than ever before,” she said. “With more people downtown and more store owners keeping their stores open later. Even though we have some closed store fronts, most of the business owners who are staying open longer are doing something to make it fun.”

From 5:45 to 6 p.m. at City Hall, the chimes will play along with the lighting of the Christmas tree. This year’s honorary tree lighters are Councilwoman Carolyn Powers and Councilman John Clauson.

“They are our honorees because both have been on the council for so many years,” Lucarelli said.

After the tree lighting, Santa and Mrs. Claus are slated to arrive by a vintage fire truck at City Hall and will be escorted by the South Kitsap High School marching band. The band will perform at City Hall from 6:10-6:45 p.m.

Children can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus and take photographs on their sleigh from 6:35-8:15 p.m at Marina Park.

Since the festival fell on Pearl Harbor Day, Lucarelli said there will be songs to honor the memory of the military personnel who sacrificed their lives in 1941.

Before the 11 a.m. kickoff, the Port Orchard Library will start by hosting crafts for children (making scarfs) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., along with cookies and live music from 10 a.m. to 8:15 p.m.

“With the new-look library, they have a lot for children to do with crafts and story time,” Lucarelli said.

At 11 a.m., festivities and registration for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk is at the main stage in front of City Hall. Registration is from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by a costume contest at 12:30 p.m. The 1-kilometer run with the elves starts at 1 p.m. and the 5K run/walk will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Lucarelli said the Jingle Bell event could attract more than 1,300 people, not including their family members and friends.

“That would be an extra 2,000 people downtown,” Lucarelli said. “Our goal is to get them to stay and not just to run. To stay and not to run out.”

Plenty of entertainment is planned for this year’s event.

The Dance Studio will host a holiday dance and holiday cheer from 3:30-4:15 and 5-5:45 p.m.

“This is the first time they are doing dance performances,” Lucarelli said. “They will have treats available and it’s close being in downtown.”

The Kitsap Community Chorale will perform at the main stage from 5-5:20 p.m., followed by the Marcus Whitman Junior High School choir singing from 5:20-5:45 p.m. Chorals from East Port Orchard Elementary will perform from 6:40-7 p.m. at Marina Park and the John Sedgwick Junior High Generals will perform at 7 p.m.

Mary Shaver’s Marionettes will perform “The Shoemaker and the Elves” at 7:15 p.m. at the library.

“Last year, the Marionettes performed earlier in the day,” Lucarelli said. “This year they are the final event. When everyone is done with Santa at the park, they can go to the library and watch the Marionettes. The puppet show is a big hit.”

From noon until 8 p.m., Dragonfly Cinema will host the movie “Elf” with showings on both screens on the hour.

There also will be plenty of free refreshments and snacks.

“There will be a lot of food,” Lucarelli said. “Someone who comes here hungry will not go away without finding something to eat.”

Kitsap Bank will serve popcorn and hot cider from 4-6 p.m. and the Knights of Pythias will serve hot chocolate from 4-7 p.m. at City Hall. At Marina Park, the Calvary Church will serve refreshments from 4:30-8 p.m. and the Heritage Foursquare Church will serve chili at Marina Park from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The Port Orchard Marina Office will host an open house from 5-8 p.m. with cookies, coffee and cider.

From 4-8 p.m., people of all ages can enjoy hayrides starting at City Hall and Peninsula Feed.

The Jingle Bell Boutique and Gift Fair will be open from noon to 8 p.m. in the Port Orchard Pavilion, and the Bay Street Art Walk is from 2-5 p.m.

The Sinclair Inlet Yacht Club’s “Christmas Lane” Lighted Boat Contest is from 5-8 p.m. People can vote for their favorite boat from 6-8 p.m.

Registration for the Holiday Pooch and Purr Pet Parade and Costume Contest is 4:45-5:10 p.m. and the event is 5:15-5:30 p.m. on Bay Street to City Hall. Winners will be announced at 5:45 p.m.

“The pet parade may or may not have a route change,” Lucarelli said. “The organizers are trying to decide at the last minute if they are going to be backtracking from where they started at Kitsap Bank or to end it at the park.”

Restrooms will be available for the public at the library, Marina Park, Boat Launch Park and Marina Observation Area.


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