Santa visits tree lighting Saturday

December 1, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Deck the halls in historic downtown

Jason Bond and Mark Taylor (from left), of the Parks Maintenance Department, install wreaths Nov. 25 along Front Street for the holidays. There are 36 wreaths for the lamp posts downtown, according to the maintenance department’s Steve Lindsley. By Greg Farrar

Jason Bond and Mark Taylor (from left), of the Parks Maintenance Department, install wreaths Nov. 25 along Front Street for the holidays. There are 36 wreaths for the lamp posts downtown, according to the maintenance department’s Steve Lindsley. By Greg Farrar

Start your holidays off by helping Issaquah deck the halls. Join the DownTown Issaquah Association for the city’s annual tree lighting at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 5.

Association volunteers, like Ryan Hughes, were already helping last week set the scene for a winter wonderland at Pedestrian Park, where the lighting will take place, by stringing white-and-blue low-voltage lights around the area.

“My wife and I just moved here, so I thought I’d get involved,” he said.

It is the first year in many that the tree will be lighted at Pedestrian Park, located at the corner of Front Street North and East Sunset Way.

The city’s usual town tree at Front and Dogwood had gotten too big and became too expensive to light. The city cut the tree lights from its budget, said Michael Johnson, a coordinator for DIA.

This year’s tree is one that was purchased by a community member for the community years ago, Johnson said, adding that much more meaning to it.

The nearly 15-foot tree was purchased years ago when it only stood about 6 feet tall. It was bought by Johann Sasynuik, who owns the Kung Fu Club of Issaquah, now located in Fall City.

Prior to the lighting, families are encouraged to bring their children to a variety of fun-filled events, like the holiday open house from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Train Depot, 50 Rainier Blvd. N., sponsored by the Issaquah History Museums.

Santa Claus will also make an appearance there from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Photos are free; just bring your own camera, Johnson said.

Shopping, tooDIA members are hoping families will make a day of it. Many local merchants will offer discounts at their shops while the festivities are going on in hopes residents will do some holiday shopping.

After the tree lighting, residents are invited to carol down the streets of Issaquah to Hailstone Feed Store, where refreshments will be provided.

“This is what makes us a family, makes us close,” said Greg Spranger, executive director of the association. “When you’re part of this community, you are family.”

From the time of the tree lighting ceremony Saturday until Dec. 13, residents can vote for the downtown business with the best window display. DIA has been sponsoring the event for several years to attract residents to come to the downtown area to shop, eat and spend time.

“This is an event that we want people to come to and experience all the downtown area has to offer,” Johnson said.

Residents who vote are entered into a raffle. Winners will receive gifts from downtown and Gilman Village merchants.

Sing along

You can also join in with the choir at St. Michael and all Angels Episcopal Church for their Messiah singalong at 4 p.m. Dec. 6.

The event is free and open to everyone, but donations are encouraged; they go to the Merry Christmas Issaquah Fund.

“It deals with two things at once,” said the Rev. Ann Lukens. “We just want to get anyone in the community to come together and sing, and the other is to encourage people in our community to donate to the Merry Christmas Issaquah Fund, which benefits Issaquah Church and Community Services. It’s a big gift from us, the community, to our neighbors.

“People whose hours have been cut short, or are between jobs, are really in financial trouble and need our help, with rent, with prescriptions or care on their car,” she said. “It can really be any of us. No one really knows three to six months from now, when they might need to be on the receiving end.”

Residents who play instruments are welcome to bring them, and encouraged even, Lukens said. Those who choose to bring an instrument will need to bring their own score and a music stand.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com. ?

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