Montesano is gearing up for its annual Festival of Lights.
Now in its 31st year, the event runs from Dec. 8 through Dec. 10.
The Montesano Chamber of Commerce’s Brooke Chapman, who is in her first year of organizing the festival, having taken over for long-time coordinator Moraya Wilson, explained that the humorous theme of this year’s event is “I saw Monte kissing Santa Claus.”
The festival kicks off on Friday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. with an art show at the Whitney’s Chevrolet showroom.
Other events scheduled for that day include live entertainment at Montesano High School’s commons and an ugly sweater dance party at Montesano City Hall.
Saturday, Dec. 9, will see a pancake breakfast featuring Santa Claus at the Montesano Community Center, at which a silent auction will be held. Proceeds will help fund future festivals. A craft fair will also be held in the Montesano High School commons that day.
“Businesses around town donate anywhere from $200 to $500 and then the craft fair brings money back in,” Chapman explained of how the festival is paid for. “We charge $35 to anyone who wants to do a craft fair booth, but then if you’re a non-profit, it’s free. And then we also charge for the food vendors along the parade route, and that is $35.”
Chapman said that this year the chamber has also received a lodging tax tourism grant that will help reimburse advertising and signage expenses.
“It’s really starting to become self-sustaining, because it’s been going for so many years,” Chapman added of the festival.
She said organizers try to estimate attendance, with about 3,000 people typically seen along the parade route.
The parade will be held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9.
Other events associated with the festival include a two-mile walk or 12k race at 9 a.m. Saturday, a chowder feed put on by the Montesano Fire Department at 4 p.m., and a chili feed at the Montesano Moose Lodge, also starting at 4 p.m. Additionally, the Montesano Fitness Center will have hot cocoa available beginning at 4:30 p.m. Saturday with all donations going to support Connections, a child advocacy nonprofit.
A full program of festival-related events is now available at venues around town. Those with questions can reach Chapman at 360-591-4849.