Annual Silverdale tree lighting kicks off winter holiday season

SILVERDALE — Despite rain on Nov. 26, the 62nd annual Christmas Tree Lighting was a hit among locals.

People who attend every year and people who have never attended before flocked to the Silverdale event for stories, toy-building in Santa’s workshop, elementary choir performances and, of course, Santa’s arrival on a Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue “sleigh.”

“We come every year,” Oksana Kovalenko said. “It’s just a fun activity to do with the family on the holidays.”

Kovalenko attended with her friend and their daughters. Both girls got their faces painted at the celebration that took place in the Silverdale Antiques parking lot.

That celebration also included cookies, cider, cocoa, balloon tying and other fun crafts.

Carly Bergsma also attends the tree lighting every year.

She has “ever since I was little,” she said.

“I don’t really remember coming (then) and doing all the festivities because I was really little, but it was the ‘Santa in the fire truck’ thing.”

Bergsma attended with Zach Stotts, there for the first time, and her niece and nephew.

“They love it now,” she said. “We bring my niece and nephew every year.”

Randy Roberts also attends every year — he enjoys listening to his children sing in the choir.

Central Kitsap Food Bank accepted food donations and Toys for Tots accepted donations of new, unwrapped toys for kids, as well.

But the undisputed star of the event was, of course, the lighting of the giant Christmas tree in Silverdale, lit up for the first time this holiday season and clearly visible, even in the light rain, from the Silverdale Antiques parking lot.

“It gets you in a festive mood for the holidays,” Larissa O’Brien said.

Michelle Beahm is a reporter with the Central Kitsap Reporter and Bremerton Patriot. She can be reached at