It’s official! The holiday season is here, bringing with it traditional treats from delicious food to delightful decorations. The Festival of Lights weekend in Montesano is a traditional event that really brings people together. This year, it’s Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9. An exciting new addition will be the lights show, Jingle Lights, which will be set up for the first time in Montesano.
“The city of Montesano purchased the equipment and they’re running that show at Fleet Park,” says Leslie Goings, Festival of Lights parade chair. “Each weekend, there’s a different nonprofit. They’re asking for donations, then that nonprofit for that weekend will get the proceeds.”
Though the festival typically has a specific theme, this year it has been simplified to just “lights,” ringing in the new Jingle Lights set up and annual parade. “We decided not to do a sub-theme; we’re sticking with the Festival of Lights,” Goings says. “It has been so specific over the last couple of years that we wanted to let some of the participants reuse some of their decorations. Also with Jingle Lights coming this year, we really wanted to focus on lights.”
Montesano becomes a magical place during the holidays. Everyone comes even closer together to bring out the spirit of the season. A committee works together to put on a carefree weekend, and countless people help with decor and events.
“It’s pretty much a city-wide effort,” Goings says. “The city and public works department put up the garland around town, and each business is responsible for doing their own decorating. We have a lot of support, whether it’s monetary sponsorships or donations. Everyone works together.”
Last year, there was a turnout of about 13,000 people at the parade and this year it’s looking to be even larger with some entirely new entries. “We have quite a few new participants this year that I’m excited about,” Goings says. Places like the Extreme Fun Center and Home Depot will be in the parade along with traditional participants that always have great displays.
There’s something for everyone during the festival weekend in addition to the parade:
Friday, December 7
- 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. An art show featuring Ken Hurley at the showroom at Whitney’s Chevrolet.
- 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Jingle Lights at Fleet Park.
- 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Live music at the Montesano High School Commons featuring Ken Albert, Gladys Whitney and Christine Hill. Free admission.
- 9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. For those 21 and older, check out the Ugly Sweater Dance Party with prizes at Charlie’s Sports Bar.
Saturday, December 8
- 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Pancake breakfast with Santa and an auction at the Montesano Community Center.
- 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Check out Santa’s Sweet Shoppe with treats for all at the Montesano Community Center.
- 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. An art show featuring Ken Hurley at the showroom at Whitney’s Chevrolet.
- 9:00 a.m. Participate in the Jingle Bell Jog, a two-mile fun walk or 12k race. Pre-register at Montesano High School, $20 adult/$15 child. Contact: April Pocklington 360-249-4041.
- 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. See over 60 vendors at the craft fair hosted at the Montesano Junior High gym.
- 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Tour the Grays Harbor Historical Courthouse with tours from local commissioners.
- 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Tours of the Chehalis Valley Historical Museum.
- 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Live performances at the courthouse by Olympic Flute Choir (1:00 p.m.) and Montesano School Choir (2:00 p.m.).
- 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. See the children’s program at H. Abel Memorial Timberland Library.
- 3:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Enjoy hot beverages, cookie decorating and photos with Santa (kids and pets) with The Odd Fellows at Friendship Hall (formerly Marcy Center).
- 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Meet at the Umpqua Bank for a scavenger hunt.
- 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Chowder feed by the Montesano Fire Department Volunteer Association, donations appreciated.
- 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. For $3 per person, enjoy homemade chili and cornbread at the Montesano Moose Lodge.
- 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Head to the Montesano Fitness Center studio for a cocoa factory activity with all donations going to Connections.
- 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Free Sweet Treats and Crafts for Kids at Our Community Credit Union inside PickRite with a raffle.
- 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Open House at the W.H. Abel Memorial Library with music and snacks.
- 6:00 p.m. Grand Parade with Grand Marshal, Sue Bucy.
- 7:00 p.m. Yule Log lighting on Pioneer Street.
- 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Live nativity at Montesano Presbyterian Church.
- 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Jingle Lights at Fleet Park.
- 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. $10/child at Kids Rock ‘n Bowl at Bulldog Lanes with hot cocoa bar included.
- 7:30 p.m. Dukes of Swing at Montesano Moose Lodge, free to members, $3 for non-members.
- 9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Live music by Feelin’ Good at Gepetto’s.
- 9:00 p.m. Live music by Ready or Not at Charlie’s Sports Bar.
Sunday, December 9
- 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. An art show featuring Ken Hurley at the showroom at Whitney’s Chevrolet.
- 10:00 a.m. Cribbage tournament at Bulldog Lanes, $5 entry, cash prizes.
- 1:00 p.m. Yule Log hunt and Christmas sing-a-long at Schafer State Park.
- 7:00 p.m. Christmas Cantata at the United Methodist Church.
Check out the Montesano Chamber of Commerce website or the Festival of Lights Facebook page for more information or questions. Jingle Lights officially takes off on Thanksgiving night, for the full schedule of Jingle Lights shows, visit the Jingle Lights event page.