Washougal begins new yuletide traditions

Festival of Trees is set for Friday and Saturday

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The annual tradition of lighting a Christmas tree in Reflection Plaza will be joined by several new festivities this weekend.

A “gala preview night” of the Washougal Festival of Trees, set for Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m., will include refreshments and live music, inside a vacant storefront at Washougal Town Square, at the corner of Main and Love streets, in downtown Washougal. The event is free and open to the public.

The Festival of Trees will continue with refreshments and live music Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Santa will be available for visits and photos Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Washougal True Value, 1822 Main St.

Silent auction bids for gift baskets and decorated trees will be accepted Friday and Saturday. The deadline to submit bids is Saturday, at 6 p.m. Santa and Mayor Sean Guard are scheduled to walk across the street to light the Christmas tree at that time.

Representatives from Washougal schools will decorate the trees Thursday.

Ivan Gering, owner of Papa’s Ice Cream, said one of the trees will feature chocolate fudge, cookies and candies.

“I ordered in 35 pounds of fudge,” he said. “Probably half of that will go on there. Candy canes will be wrapped and tied on.”

Gering said it has been interesting and fun planning the event with other local businesses.

“We have a very positive attitude and are wanting to see something good happening for the schools and in downtown Washougal,” he said.

The festivities are sponsored by the Washougal Lions Club, the Downtown Merchants Association and the City of Washougal. The trees are donated by Art Malfait, owner of the Washougal Christmas Tree Farm.

Non-perishable food donations will be accepted, to go toward the Stuff the Bus effort, and proceeds from the silent auctions will benefit Washougal schools.

Meanwhile, the Camas-Washougal Business Alliance will sponsor the “Stuff the Bus Christmas Tree Giveaway,” in the shopping area at 1436 “A” St.

Non-perishable food donations will be accepted Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m., to support Washougal High School; and Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m., to support Camas High School. Stuff the Bus T-shirts will be available.

Santa will also be making appearances during those days and times at Fireworks Photography, 1436 “A” St. Twenty Christmas trees from Thorntons’ Treeland, in Vancouver, will be raffled off each day, and free hot cocoa and coffee will be available.

The tree giveaway will be hosted by Fireworks Photography, NWC Armory, Kleen UR K9 & Aquarium Supply and Custom Framing & More.

“When we found out about the Festival of Trees, we decided to group these things together and make it a fun weekend for people in the community to come out,” said Steve Frye, owner of Fireworks Photography and president of the C-W Business Alliance. “We are not competing with each other. We’ll have information about the other event, to go downtown as well.”

For more information about the Christmas Tree Giveaway, call Frye at 904-1466.

For additional information about the Washougal Festival of Trees, call Gering at 835-8555.