PORT ORCHARD — Let there be no mistaking it — the Christmas Grinch is alive and well.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizers of the Festival of Chimes and Lights to once again downscale their plans for the second year in a row so that attendees will be restricted to viewing downtown Port Orchard’s holiday lights from their vehicles.
That’s enough harumph to put a sour twist into your egg nog. But to add insult to injury, two of the 55 miniature Christmas trees placed in planters in front of Bay Street businesses were pulled out and spirited away in the dead of night late last week by vandals. Mean-spirited vandals, for sure.
The ripped-out trees were located near the front of the Port Orchard Market and across the street next to the retail store Revival.
“It’s very discouraging,” said Janine Floyd of the City of Port Orchard. City workers placed the trees in the downtown planters.
“We haven’t had anybody take an entire tree in the past. In the first year or two, we heard about mitts being stolen from the trees, but this is the first in which a tree has been taken.”
This is the fourth year the city has sponsored the placement of Christmas trees along Bay Street.
Coreen Haydock, co-owner of The Dock Bar & Eatery in the Port Orchard Market, said she has taken extra measures to secure the decorations on her tree in front of her establishment with wires to keep them in place.
“I wire everything on my tree as much as I can, but let’s be honest. In the middle of the night, nobody’s down there,” Haydock said.
Haydock said there was some ornament theft last year, with decorations taken from some trees. But the theft this year, unfortunately, happened before the judging period ended for shoppers to place their votes with businesses on Bay Street, she added.