The 65th annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will be held Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Oxford Suites and Old Town Silverdale.
This traditional event will kickstart the Christmas season with the arrival of Santa, who will light the world’s tallest living and consecutively lighted Christmas tree at 131 feet. Activities will start at 2 p.m. and conclude at 5 p.m.
When the tree lighting originally began in the 1950s, a different Christmas tree was used for the lighting, according to event organizer Roland Arper. The 131-foot tree that is currently in use has required some maintenance in order to stay in adequate condition for the annual lightings.
“We’ve had a tree service that’s been helping give treatment to it,” Arper said. “One of the things we’ve added this year is an underground watering system to the tree. We’re slowly nursing it back to health. It doesn’t really look like it but each year it’s actually getting better and better.”
Free tractor hayrides, sponsored by Oxford Suites will take place from 2 to 4 p.m., traveling between Oxford Suites and Old Town Silverdale. The old town area will have carolers, a scavenger hunt, and a bonfire. New this year will be the assorted booths in the Silverdale Antique parking lot from 2 to 5 p.m., including craft vendors, cookies, cider, face painting, and food.
At 4:15 p.m., a music performance will be given by the Brownsville Elementary School Choir. Wrapping up the day’s activities will be the arrival of Santa on a Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue truck with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department giving Santa an escort through town at 4:45 p.m. At 5 p.m., Santa will ask for everyone’s help as he counts down to light the tree. Afterward, the big man will be available to meet and talk with all the children.
Longtime Silverdale Rotarian Harry Guay has been dressing up as Saint Nick since 1979.
“He’s not your department store Santa Claus,” Arper said. “He’s just a great Santa and that’s quite an attraction for a lot of the kids.”
A Toys for Tots drop off will be onsite, as well as a donation spot for the Central Kitsap Food Bank.