Warm Beach lights shine for what you can pay on 2 nights

WARM BEACH — There are many traditions at the Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center’s annual Lights of Christmas extravaganza, and now there may be a new one.

For three nights, the regular admission fees have been waived and anyone may attend on a “pay-what-you-can” basis.

The 16th annual event, featuring more than 1 million Christmas lights, entertainment, food, shopping and more, runs for 22 nights between Nov. 29 to Dec. 29.

The first donation-only night was opening night. The next two are today and the final night, Dec. 29.

Event organizers started the pay-what-you-can nights last year.

“We decided to do it because a lot of people can’t afford it, and we wanted them to have an opportunity to come and enjoy it anyway,” said Jo Reed, marketing coordinator for the Christian camp.

Admission prices are $15 for adults (ages 13-59); $10 for seniors and military; $9 for kids ages 4-12, and free for children age 3 and under. Parking is free.

Marisa McCoy of Marysville, who went with her husband and two young girls on opening night, liked the pay-what-you-can idea.

“It is pretty expensive to come with your whole family,” she said.

The camp roughly breaks even on the event, director of administration Pat Patterson said.

It costs several hundred thousand dollars per year to stage the Lights of Christmas, he said. The electricity bill during the holidays is about $12,000 to $15,000. About one-third of the lights are replaced every year at a cost of $8,000 to $10,000, Patterson said.

A seven-member crew works five days a week putting up lights from September until opening day. About 65 temporary employees are hired during the holiday in addition to the camp’s 35 full-time, year round staff, he said. The camp hires entertainers and staff for security and parking. The camp hasn’t counted the number of people who have taken advantage of these pay-what-you-can nights. So it’s unknown how many people have attended the nights last year or opening night this year, Reed said.

Still, the camp has received some positive comments, she said. Groups such as the Union Gospel Mission are among those who have attended on the pay-what-you-can nights.

“We’ve actually had a couple of people pay more,” she said. “That was really a neat spirit of giving.”

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

If you go

The Warm Beach Camp is located at 20800 Marine Drive, south of Stanwood. For more information go to www.warmbeach.com/lights-of-christmas or call 360-652-7575.

More in Local News

Bicycle tour raises money for dialysis patients

Volunteers also shared health information and put together care packages for homeless women.

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Boeing reaches out to schools

Company employees helped Everett students at recent reading and Manufacturing Day events.

5-vehicle collision sends school bus into ditch; no injuries

No students were hurt when a school bus crashed into… Continue reading

Fire crew returns early from wildfires in Northern California

Four Everett firefighters returned from battling California wildfires late Thursday… Continue reading

Theft lands former insurance salesman 50 days in jail

A former insurance salesman is expected to report to jail… Continue reading

Pair of intrepid musicians climb N. Cascades summits to play

Rose Freeman and Anastasia Allison pack their instruments up mountains for high-altitude recitals.

Expect river levels to keep rising, though sun is on the way

Some could crest above minor and moderate flood levels.

Oregon senator punished over alleged inappropriate touching

Democratic Sen. Sara Gelser didn’t identify anyone by name.

Most Read