Traditional holiday events coming up around North Kitsap

As December is upon us, many traditional holiday events will be occurring around North Kitsap.

Poulsbo’s annual Nordic Christmas celebration, Julefest, will be taking place Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Front Street downtown. Visit the Sons of Norway on Liberty Bay to try Norwegian street food like pickled herring and pea soup, and check out Scandinavian vendors offering things like jewelry and collectibles.

One of the more popular components of the event is watching the Lucia Bride ushered to shore in a Viking boat at Muriel Iverson Waterfront Park at dusk. The evening concludes with the annual bonfire where the Viking King will give the Winter Solstice proclamation. After being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Julefest was held last year and saw some large crowds. Expect more of the same this year.

Also on Dec. 3, the Kingston Cove Christmas will take place at the downtown waterfront. A day of activities is planned including performances from Kingston High School’s jazz band, Kingston Cove Yacht Club Chorus — holiday singalong with Mrs. Claus, and Danny Vernon (as Elvis) singing holiday melodies. There will also be a holiday spirits garden with cookies and food vendors until 6 p.m.

At 5 p.m., Santa will arrive for the Christmas tree lighting followed by the Decorated Dinghy Parade at the Kingston marina. The event culminates with the lighting of Mike Wallace Park and the marina. Christmas lights will remain on dusk to dawn until Jan. 8.

A week later on Dec. 10 marks Poulsbo Yacht Club’s 53rd annual Lighted Ships Parade around Liberty Bay and surrounding waters.

The parade started as a way to demonstrate the club’s community spirit in 1969, its website states. The parade was led by Casey Kaesemeyer’s “Joanne K.” That year the club’s ships cruised for four evenings playing carols and delighting children with personal messages along the way.

The early 1970s fuel crisis almost caused the parade to be canceled. After much debate, and many letters and telephone calls from the public, the event went ahead with only five boats. Now, the event typically has 15-20 boats a year. During the 5oth anniversary in 2019, there were around 40.

The parade route is as follows:

  • 4:45 – Leave the dock
  • 5:00 – Parade starts, fall in behind Rudolf & proceed to downtown Poulsbo.
  • 5:15 – Head south, following the west side of Liberty Bay.
  • 5:50 – Passing Keyport & cross to Manzanita Bay and through Agate Pass on the east side.
  • 7:35 – Suquamish dock then return back down the west side of Agate Pass.
  • 8:25 – Point Bolin & north to Lemolo and the east side of Liberty Bay.
  • 9:15 – Parade ends.

Along the route, Santa will call out personal greetings. There are a few gathering spots for people to view the parade, such as Waterfront Park in downtown Poulsbo, Keyport marina and Suquamish dock. To request a Santa shout-out, visit the Poulsbo Yacht Club website. Messages are due by 5 p.m. Dec. 9.

That same weekend marks Port Gamble’s Country Christmas event. Visitors will enjoy a wide range of activities, such as horse-drawn hay rides through the town sparkling with over 100,000 holiday lights, craft-making for kids at Santa’s workshop, and Western Washington’s only holiday fireworks display, per

The event will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 11.

There will also be a community tree-lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Observation Deck.

Santa spreads cheer during Poulsbo Yacht Club’s Lighted Ships Parade.

Santa spreads cheer during Poulsbo Yacht Club’s Lighted Ships Parade.

Horse-drawn hay rides are always popular at Port Gamble’s Country Christmas.

Horse-drawn hay rides are always popular at Port Gamble’s Country Christmas.