Issaquah decks the halls with holiday happenings

November 29, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

All around Issaquah, it’s beginning to look a lot like the holidays.

From downtown Issaquah to Gilman Village to the historic train depot, signs of the coming holidays are starting to sprout.

Gilman Village Merchants and the Cascade Team Real Estate are the primary sponsors for a holiday happening from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 10 at St. George’s Square in Gilman Village, 355 N.W. Gilman Blvd.

Co-sponsored by the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, chamber CEO Matt Bott said the event would feature free horse-drawn carriage rides and the chance to visit Santa’s Gilman Workshop.

While at the workshop, visitors can have a free picture taken with Santa himself. Free coffee and hot chocolate also will be available.

Visitors are asked to bring an unwrapped toy to support Santa’s efforts with the Childhood Cancer Care Line. Cash donations to the Merry Christmas Issaquah fund also will be accepted.

Besides those sponsors already mentioned, other involved include Extraordinary Mama and the Issaquah Coffee Co.

Although it supports the Gilman event, the DownTown Issaquah Association, is holding a celebration of its own with a tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Hailstone Feed Store, 232 Front St.

The association invites residents to sing carols with their neighbors and enjoy some cookies and cocoa. Santa also is expected to drop by.

DIA President Lynn Rehn said nothing was planned for downtown Issaquah until an anonymous donor stepped up to finance an unspecified event. That donor dropped out and Rehn said she began looking for donations herself.

As it stands, Krispy Kreme and the Hilton Garden Inn will provide hot drinks, cookies and doughnuts. Donated by the Keith and Scott Tree Farm in North Bend, Rehn said a 12-foot Christmas tree will sit either on the roof or in front of the feed store.

Learn more about the event by calling 891-7561.

The association also has put out the call for volunteers for a light hanging party prior to the tree lighting. The work party is set from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 3. Meeting at the feed store, volunteers will spread out and string lights on buildings along Front Street from Sunset Way to Northeast Dogwood Street. Lunch will be provided compliments of Extreme Pizza.

Finally, the Issaquah History Museums hosts the eighth annual holiday open house at the Issaquah Train Depot, 150 First Ave. N.E.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Santa will visit from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., said the museums’ Karen Klein. Bring your camera to get a photo. Live musical entertainment will be provided by the Essie Blue Band from noon to 4 p.m.

One highlight of the annual open house always is the holiday craft fair, added museums’ collections manager Julie Hunter. Local crafters will be at the depot to sell handmade holiday items. And while the kids wait in line to see Santa, they can make some crafts of their own, including old-fashioned holiday ornaments. The ornament making is free.

Hunter said the event usually attracts a few hundred visitors.

“It’s become a popular event,” Klein added.

Not incidentally, the Issaquah History Museums is collecting homemade cookies for open house visitors. Drop your confectionary donations at Gilman Town Hall, 165 S.E. Andrews St., or at the train depot before 10 a.m. the day of the open house.

Learn more at or call 392-3500.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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