The holiday spirit is returning in full force to downtown Port Orchard Dec. 2, and while City Hall construction is creating a little bit of change from the norm, a grand celebration is still planned for the 25th Annual Festival of Chimes and Lights.
The festival made its successful return in 2022 with a schedule modeling pre-COVID celebrations. This year is expected to be no different to that degree, but work to create improvements to parts of City Hall will create some changes. “It is pretty much the same as we’ve done in the past,” event chairwoman Cindy Lucarelli said, “just a new location and a little bit of a limited route.”
The day will begin as it did last year with the opening of the Sydney Art Gallery at 10 a.m. for an open house and refreshments. Kitsap Regional Library will follow suit shortly after with kids crafts beginning at 11 a.m. and a 2 p.m. show by magician Jeff Evans. Kitsap Bank and the Port of Bremerton will also be holding open houses.
The main stage, which is typically set up in front of City Hall, will be stationed at the waterfront this year and will once again host musical performances. Currently scheduled are the East Port Orchard Elementary EPOpians, choirs from Cedar Heights and Marcus Whitman middle schools, and the Community Chorale.
The Holiday Pooch and Purrs Pet Parade & Costume Contest will be held on downtown Bay Street at 4:30, followed by the tree lighting at around 5:20, which Lucarelli indicated will also be a little different this year due to the location change.
Santa is scheduled to arrive at the main stage close to 5:35 p.m. accompanied by the South Kitsap High School marching band. The jolly fellow and Mrs. Claus will be available for pictures from 6-7 p.m.