Hundreds turned up Saturday afternoon to welcome the arrival of the holiday season to the waterfront town of Kingston.
The event kicked off with Kiwanis’ Santa Workshop at the Kingston Cove Yacht Club, followed by the lighting of several bonfires at the Port of Kingston’s Mike Wallace Park. Taking center stage at the park was the Kingston High School Band, which opened for Danny Vernon as Elvis Presley. Vernon captivated the crowd with a few of the king’s Christmas faves.
Vernon proved a favorite, especially amongst the youngsters dancing front and center to classics like “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” When it seemed unlikely that he could delight the kids any more, Vernon announced the arrival of the big, jolly man in red.
Excited squeals escaped from many of the children as the crowd watched Kris Kringle make his way from the North Kitsap Fire & Rescue truck, up to the stage to count down to the lighting of Kingston’s Christmas tree.
“One!” the crowd called out in unison as the park burst into effervescent color.
‘Ooh’s’ and ‘aah’s’ could be heard from kids and adults alike as the crowd marveled at the the Kingston waterfront’s great transformation. Glowing flowers, Christmas presents, a sea turtle and butterflies were just a few of the light sculptures adorning the park. In the nearby Port of Kingston marina, a number of yachts were glowing with lights as well, which reflected off the water, effectively doubling the spectacle.
Back behind one of the tents, from which a line of visitors seeking hot cocoa and cookies had formed, a couple elves were working hard behind the scenes. Gloria Young and Cheryl Graham with the Kingston Cove Yacht Club were dutifully brewing up a large pot of hot cocoa to keep the crowd warm. According to Young, the process to get the park ready for such an event takes no small amount of effort. Young estimated some 50 hours of work went into the one-night event.
“We start in September,” she said. “The last two weeks before we’re just in a crunch … we’re buying cocoa, we’re soliciting cookies, because all the cookies are donated.”
Young said despite the hard work that goes into Kingston Cove Christmas, she had no regrets.
“When you see the kids all smiles when Santa comes in that fire truck … it’s all worth it,” she said. “We’ll crash tomorrow but today, we’re on a high.”
The people that we bring together, it’s like we’re all one big family,” Young added. “It’s a community family effort and we love it.”