SNOHOMISH — It’s a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. April VanAssche is planning an old-fashioned event aimed at shifting the focus from shopping, gift-giving and receiving.
“I wanted to create a place where people could focus on what Christmas is really about — family and friends,” she said.
VanAssche, with help from the Snohomish Kiwanis club, 12 years ago started an event known as a Night of Christmas Jingles. It has grown from about 20 people attending to more than 350 last year.
There are singing and stories, Santa passes out candy canes. This year, local musicians with the Baylee Rabe Band will lead the crowd in Christmas carols.
A professional photographer will be on hand to take family pictures. The proceeds from the photos will go to a local cause or be used to benefit a family in need of some help this holiday season, VanAssche said.
The event is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7.
Admission is free, but donations of canned food and new, unwrapped toys are suggested. Each year, hundreds of pounds of food are collected for the Snohomish food bank, VanAssche said. Almost 1,000 toys are gathered for the Snohomish Boys &Girls Club and Safe Place, a shelter for children in Everett.
VanAssche, a girls soccer coach at Snohomish High School, wanted to create a traditional event for children and adults to enjoy like those of the past. The Snohomish native comes from the Stocker family, which has deep roots in the area’s agricultural community.
“I was lucky to grow up knowing what tradition means,” said VanAssche, 36.
Her husband, Jay VanAssche, also comes from a long line of local farmers. Now the couple is raising five children. They own Choice Turf Farm on Marsh Road.
The Christmas event is held at VanAssche’s parents’ dairy-turned-wedding-venue. Hidden Meadows is at 11805 Springhetti Road.
VanAssche said she appreciates the community coming together to celebrate Christmas.
“That’s why I love Snohomish so much — everybody is one big family,” she said.