By Steve Guntli
One of Blaine’s oldest and best-loved annual celebrations will be lighting up the town this December.
The Holiday Harbor Lights Festival has been a community tradition for more than 30 years, marking the beginning of the holiday season for locals and visitors alike. The festival runs from Friday, December 5 to Sunday, December 7, and the schedule is jam-packed with activities.
“We’re going to be having a Christmas display contest, similar to the scarecrow contest we had last month,” said Carroll Solomon with the chamber. “We’re hoping everyone can get their decorations up by December 6, in time for the tree lighting.”
Residents will choose the winners of best display by businesses and private residences by voting on the chamber’s website. The winning business will receive a gift basket, and the best residential display will earn a gift card to a local business. Contact the Blaine Chamber of Commerce at 332-6484 to register.
Members of the Blaine chamber will be out in force decorating Peace Portal Drive and H Street from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 29, and would appreciate any volunteer help they can get.
“We’ll have a ton of lights ready to wrap around all the trees, so if anyone is willing to help, just come on by,” Solomon said.
Also on November 29, Angie Dixon and members of the Marine Park Playground Committee will be decorating G Street Plaza with a unique maritime theme. Fishing nets, crab pots, nautical gear and holiday lights will adorn the plaza. Dixon said the display will help raise awareness for the new playground, which the city hopes to build by early next summer. Anyone interested in donating materials for decorating can contact Dixon at email@example.com, or stop by G Street Plaza to lend a hand.
The festival will allow people an early start on Christmas shopping – the Arts and Crafts Bazaar is being held at the Blaine Community Center at 763 G Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. all three days of the festival. The bazaar features a wide selection of gifts for everyone in the family. Blaine Harbor Art Gallery at 674 Peace Portal Drive will host the Holiday Art and Gift Market, featuring a wide selection of handcrafted gifts and artworks from the local art community.
Blaine Public Library has the reader in the family covered. On Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the library’s annual Winter Book Sale will help shoppers find used books for people of all ages.
The sales will be taking place all weekend, but the bulk of the activities for the festival will take place on Saturday, December 6.
The Holiday Lights Obstacle Dash is only in its third year, but has already become a local favorite. Organized by the Blaine Chamber of Commerce, Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District 2 and Let’s Move! Blaine, the race is a 1.5-mile run/walk obstacle course. Runners will navigate a series of obstacles in their race to the finish, where they will be treated to a bowl of chili and a beverage from Hot Spot. The course starts and ends at H Street Plaza, but cuts a path through Marine Park.
Volunteers are still looking for donors who would like to add their own obstacles to the course. The Obstacle Dash will cost $15 for adults, $7 for kids age 5–18, and $35 for families of five. Call 656-6416 or visit blaineholidayharborlights.com to register for the race or sponsor an obstacle. The race will begin at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 6.
The tree lighting will take place in H Street Plaza at 4:30 p.m. The Blaine High School band and chorus will perform a selection of seasonal favorites, and Santa Claus himself will appear on a decked-out fire truck.
After his arrival, Santa will meet with his fans at the Pizza Factory on Peace Portal Drive, where parents can get pictures and kids can get free candy canes.
The evening festivities will close out with a parade of decorated boats, slated to sail through Drayton Harbor from 6 to 7 p.m. The boats will dock in the Blaine Harbor Visitor’s Dock after the parade so people can visit them and admire the decorations.
For more information on the Holiday Harbor Lights Festival, or to learn how to participate, visit blainechamber.com or call 332-6484.