Holiday Light Displays on the Olympic Peninsula

Holiday Light Displays on the Olympic Peninsula

Ever wonder who puts up all the gorgeous holiday lights we see across the Olympic Peninsula? Are they all volunteers, lighting experts or a combination of both? Curious minds want to know, so let’s go behind the scenes to look for answers.

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and 7 Cedars Spectacular Light Display

7 Cedars Casino light displays
7 Cedars Lights and Totems | Photo by Dominic Crowley

Every November, 3.25 million breathtaking lights get installed by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and 7 Cedars in Blyn (just east of Sequim)—illuminating the night in the largest holiday light display in Washington. They are, in a word, spectacular, and certainly a festive way to celebrate the holiday season. For more than 15 years, P. Walker Inc. has installed them with a crew of 25 working since early October, spending roughly 7,500 hours.

This year, it’s taken five weeks, seven days a week and often working 10-11 hours a day. The result is well worth it and a magnificent gift from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to the entire Olympic Peninsula. Jerry Allen, CEO of 7 Cedars is “very proud to partner with Patrick Walker to share the spirit and warmth of the holidays. Without his passion and expertise, the tribe would not be able to offer this experience to our community. The holiday lights have become a nice way to say Thank You, and Happy Holidays to All!”

It Takes a Village of Volunteers to Decorate Sequim for the Holidays

Pioneer Park Sequim Holiday light display volunteers
Volunteers decorate Sequim’s Pioneer Park

The people in Sequim like to say it takes a village to get things done in their small town and that is definitely true when it comes to decorating for the holiday season. Each year a team of volunteers lead by Emily Westcott and Captain Crystal Stout work with the City of Sequim to locate, transport, and install the official holiday tree that resides at the city’s main intersection. Once installed, the elves (volunteers and city staff) take over decorating the tree and lighting up the town. Light displays are prominent throughout the downtown core and at city parks. Take some time to wander and enjoy the many displays. The City of Sequim appreciates everyone who donned scarves and mittens and got on bucket trucks and ladders to spread holiday cheer around Sequim!

How Shelton morphs into Christmastown USA

Shelton Christmas Town Light Trees
The 3rd Annual Christmas Tree Maze lights up Christmastown USA in Shelton, WA

The tradition of turning the small town of Shelton into Christmastown USA every year gets many people engaged in the spirit of celebrating the community and is fueled by volunteers and community supporters. Even Mayor Kevin Dorcy helps to stand the trees. This year, he worked all day for two days and much to everyone’s delight, brought coffee to the rest of the volunteers from his company, Urraco.

In case you didn’t know, Shelton is historically known as the “Christmas Tree Capitol of the World.” The area celebrated this distinction and won the Guinness World Record for Most Lit Christmas Trees two years ago with 797(!)—knocking out Hallmark who won in 2015 when they lit 559 trees in New York. This year the trees will be up again in Shelton and turned into an illuminated maze. They’re sustainably harvested by thinning local forestry lots and areas that needed to cleared, like the railroad tracks. Young and old volunteers help, the youngest being Joey, who is 5 and helped haul trees with his dad. Santa, at 32 feet tall, stands on the hill and finishes the maze, welcoming everyone to “Christmastown USA!”

Port Townsend’s Holiday Lights

Port Townsend Fountain Holiday Light displays
Haller Fountain in Port Townsend gets the holiday treatment

The winter lights in the trees in Port Townsend are coordinated by the Port Townsend Main Street Program. Working with Dark Star Productions, they install lights in over 100 trees in both Downtown and Uptown. They also hang snowflakes in Uptown and decorate with wreaths and lights Downtown. Main Street’s elves decorate the holiday tree for the tree lighting with Santa in early December. Fyerlite Lighting & Grip lights the Haller Fountain area and the Bell Tower, setting Port Townsend a-twinkle!

Work begins in October and the trees are lit by the first week in November. They follow with the holiday tree and Haller Fountain decorations in time for the official tree lighting Dec. 4. All the businesses are encouraged to add lights and decorate their windows to make it welcoming in town. Everyone is invited to tour the lights throughout town—it’s a festive way to get in the holiday spirit!

Wintertide Lighting in Port Angeles

Wintertide Lights Festival
One of the illuminated exhibits at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center

One of the magical places to experience festive winter lighting is at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center (PAFAC). Each year PAFAC celebrates with a lighted outdoor art exhibition along the winding paths through Webster’s Woods, illuminating the darkest months of the year. From late November through early January, experience the Light Art sculptures that are lit up nightly, from 4 – 8 pm. The artists each come and install their own work—this year there are 10. Gallery and Program Director Sarah Jane curates the exhibition and does the extra behind the scenes work of figuring out the electrical needs to light things up.

The Wintertide Festival of Lights runs December 10 and 11 and requires 15 volunteers to help string additional lights throughout the woods. Add in the staff and their families and that’s the crew that makes the magic happen! Their secret to success? Coffee, pots and pots of coffee! All kidding aside, the crew at PAFAC is excited and very grateful to have so many volunteers from the community help to make this an event for all to enjoy.

Although the short winter days of November and December may seem a bit dark and dreary in the Pacific Northwest, our Olympic Peninsula communities are illuminating the nights with sparkling lights and good cheer, welcoming one and all. Come join in the festivities and the light displays on the Olympic Peninsula.

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