By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
SULTAN — A tradition is coming back to the city.
After a six-year hiatus, the city is celebrating the holidays with the lighting of a Christmas tree. The event begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at the gazebo located on the corner of First and Main streets.
The event is being called the Sultan Lighting Festival and aims to get people who live in town to decorate their homes and businesses for Christmas, organizer Pennie Marshall said.
“The tree-lighting ceremony is to bring the community together and see something beautiful,” Marshall said.
The lighting of the 10-foot tree is scheduled for 7 p.m. There will be beverages, dancers and a visit from Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. The tree will remain up until Jan. 1.
The tree lighting is just the start of the festival. The second part is a lighting competition that will last until Dec. 15.
Everyone who lives in Sultan or owns a business there can participate. They don’t need to sign up, Marshall said.
She plans to have students from different schools in the Sultan School District judge the best-lit home and business. People also can vote for their favorite through a ballot available from City Hall, the Sky Valley Visitor Center and through the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/SultanLightingFestival. People can vote by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The winners will be notified in person. They will receive an award and a gift certificate with an amount still to be determined, Marshall said.
The Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce used to organize this ceremony, but the trees and decorations were constantly vandalized, executive director Debbie Copple said.
She thinks this year will be different. The tree has been put on top of the gazebo to discourage people from climbing on it. There will be cameras and the city has a Block Watch to keep an eye on the display, Copple said.
Copple said she’s happy that someone is restarting the tradition.
“We needed new blood (to take over the event),” Copple said. “And a new group has stepped up.”
On Saturday, the city is celebrating its 20th annual Winterfest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sultan High School Commons and Gym, 13715 310th Ave. SE.
The event will have crafts, food and live music. People can receive free medical checkups for vision, cholesterol and hearing, Copple said.
Organizers for both events hope the Sultan Lighting festival grows and becomes a city staple.
“It will put Sultan in a positive light,” Marshall said.
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; email@example.com.