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Sleigh load of holiday events gathers steam this weekend

Posted on December 2nd, 2021 By:

The halls are decked, the fa-la-la-la-lahs are tuned up and holiday season has begun in Gig Harbor, with plenty of family-friendly events to bring people safely together.

Shoppers can stock up on gifts of handmade items at Gig Harbor High School’s annual TideFest arts and crafts festival where nearly 100 vendors will be selling everything from handcrafted clocks to jewelry, ceramics to candles, photos to fairy gardens, glassworks, soaps, paintings, and baubles, bangles and beads. TideFest takes place Saturday and Sunday at the high school. Admission is $5. Proceeds support various school activities.

A previous lighted boat parade in Gig Harbor bay

A previous lighted boat parade. This year’s will be this Saturday, Dec. 11. Photo courtesy of city of Gig Harbor

The holidays are a time to illuminate the dark days and long nights, and many festivities feature brightly colored lights. The first was the lighting of a menorah at the pavilion in Uptown shopping center on Nov. 28 to mark the first day of Hanukkah.

Next up is the lighting of the city’s official Christmas tree Sunday at Skansie Brothers Park. Mayor Kit Kuhn and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to kick off the festivities and toss candy canes, and an a cappella choir will provide musical entertainment.

The Gig Harbor Yacht Club’s lighted boat parade takes place Saturday, Dec. 11. Brightly decorated fishing vessels, pleasure boats, kayaks and possibly even a stand-up paddleboard or two will circle the harbor twice from Arabella’s Landing Marina to the lighthouse at the harbor’s entrance and back. All area boaters are welcome to sail in the parade, whether they are yacht club members. There’s no charge, but sign-up is required at [email protected].

Christmas tree at Skansie Brothers Park in Gig Harbor

A previous city Christmas tree. This year’s lighting will be Sunday at Skansie Brothers Park. Photo courtesy of city of Gig Harbor

On Dec. 16, festivities shift to Uptown shopping center when the Kopachuck Middle School Band will perform “Sounds of the Season” at the pavilion.

And on Dec. 18, Uptown hosts the second annual lighted car parade. Anyone who decorates their car can participate. Santa and Mrs. Claus will join the parade in their sleigh, as will Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One’s fire trucks, the Seattle Beast Bus and an ice cream truck spreading “snow” to make Frosty the Snowman feel right at home.

The vehicles will follow two routes. One will visit neighborhoods on the west side of Highway 16, traveling on Hunt Street to Rosedale Street and then to the downtown waterfront. Route No. 2 will motor down Soundview Drive, along the waterfront and Crescent Valley Road and through Gig Harbor North. Both routes will return to Uptown where the vehicles will remain on display through the evening. There’s no charge. Just show up at 4 p.m. at the MultiCare parking lot. Each car is assigned a number for voting in the “Best Decorated” award.

Santa, sleigh and reindeer lit up for the lighted car parade

Santa and Mrs. Claus will join the lighted car parade in their sleigh on Dec. 18. The parade will follow two routes through the harbor, including along the downtown waterfront. Photo courtesy of Uptown shopping center

Participants and viewers are encouraged to bring donations of non-perishable food and toys for Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH food bank and Food Backpacks 4 Kids. KGHP (89.9 FM) will broadcast the event live.

Many of the usual holiday events sponsored by the Downtown Waterfront Alliance, such as Hark the Harbor and hayrides, have been canceled again this year due to COVID concerns. But downtown businesses are decked in holiday finery to invite shoppers to buy local. Most businesses are open until at least 7 p.m. on Thursday nights and most have suggestions about special “just-right” gifts. For information, go to

Downtown shops are decked in holiday finery, encouraging shoppers to buy local.

Downtown shops are decked in holiday finery, encouraging shoppers to buy local. Photo courtesy of Downtown Waterfront Alliance