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Seasonal spirit brightens Kitsap | Kitsap Week

Ron Comin
Ron Comin's home on Big Valley Road in Poulsbo has become an annual attraction for holiday lights.
— image credit: Ron Comin photo

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Just take a look around Kitsap.

From Port Orchard to Port Gamble, homes, buildings and boats are lighting up with festive cheer.

Lit up more than the decorations are perhaps the faces that gaze upon them.

“It’s to get people in the Christmas spirit,” said Ron Comin, who produces an impressive array of lights at his home on Big Valley Road in Poulsbo.

“A lot of people over the years have come in, not feeling in the mood, and once they get back there it makes everybody happy,” he said. “It gets them in the spirit. By the time everybody leaves, they are feeling like it’s Christmas.”

Comin began a love affair with Christmas lights when he was 9, watching his father put lights up.

“I think it’s just that when you are young and doing things with your dad and he’s showing you how to do things, it sets a tone for the future,” Comin said. “So I do this in his memory as a part of it.”

Eight years ago, Comin began decorating a trail around his home and garden for the holidays. That display grew larger over the years to come. Today, his display boasts approximately 65,000 lights that wind through a North Pole (complete with elves), candy cane lane, a nativity scene, and much more.

“Five years ago, we opened it up to the public and a couple years ago we started accepting donations,” Comin said. “Our electric bill was getting to be more and more and more, so we started charging.”

Comin now charges $6 to walk through the display. Children younger than 6 are free.

Comin isn’t alone in his fervor for festive flair. The Poulsbo Yacht Club is one organization of boating enthusiasts that tour their lighted boats through the area’s waterways.

“The boats from the yacht club are decorated in Christmas lights,” said Patty Henderson of the Poulsbo Yacht Club.

“Each boat is different and is lit up on the (starboard) side of the boat,” she said.

Poulsbo’s yacht club will lead two parades this season. On Dec. 13, a fleet of illuminated boats will journey — heading north — in front of the Poulsbo waterfront before touring along the western shore of Liberty Bay, down to Keyport. On Dec. 14, club boats will leave Liberty Bay for another parade starting at 6 p.m. at Manzanita Bay in Bainbridge Island. The parade will move north through Agate Pass to Port Madison, then along the Suquamish waterfront, through Agate Pass once more to Point Bolin.

Santa is expected to be aboard a parade boat and will call out names and messages along the way.

“People have parties specifically on the night, and their guests don’t always know their names will be called out by Santa Claus,” Henderson said. “People ask for Santa to say ‘Happy birthday’ or, if someone has just moved to the area, Santa will say ‘Welcome.’ Last year, we had a dad in Afghanistan and Santa [told their children] their daddy was going to be home soon.”

Contact Tom Henderson at tom@gthdesign.com to request a message from Santa. Be sure to include the address where Santa will call it out.

To join the parade in your boat, contact lightedships@gmail.com.

At the south end of the county, Stokes Auction in Port Orchard continues its tradition of lighting up its buildings and fences for passersby.

“We’ve hung those lights since 1975,” said Brian Orwiler of Stokes Auction. “It seems every year it gets a little bit bigger, and a little bit farther. And we’re still not done.

“We never give up. If we have some down time, and the sun is out, we will come up with some other idea and try that.”

The display at Stokes Auction takes four people approximately 160 man-hours to accomplish. Multiple buildings and 100 yards of fencing feature $1,500 worth of lights.

Whether it is a home, a business, or a boat on the water, Kitsap is beaming with holiday spirit this season.

All month

Port of Kingston: Through Jan. 6.

The Port of Kingston’s marina — and a 35-foot tree — is decorated with a light display of sea animal figures and more.

Big Valley Road: Through Jan. 4, 4:30-9:30 p.m., nightly at 26730 Big Valley Road, Poulsbo.

A lighted journey through Candy Cane Lane, a nativity scene and much more. Admission $6. Children younger than 6 get in free.

Miss Poulsbo, Miss Kitsap and Miss Silverdale will be face-painting on Dec. 13 to raise money for their scholarship organization.

Stokes Auction: Through December, each night, at 8398 SE Spring Creek Road, Port Orchard.

Drive by to see the auction house decorated with festive holiday lights.

Port Gamble: Through December, nightly.

Port Gamble’s downtown is decorated with more than 100,000 lights, in addition to displays at the church, post office, pavilion and observation deck. Various homes in the area join in the illuminating fun as well — including House 19, in particular, at the entrance to the city from Kingston. Port Gamble also features a 40-foot decorated tree.

 

Dec. 7

Eagle Harbor Lighted Boat Parade, Bainbridge Island: 9:30-9:55 p.m. Argosy’s lighted cruise ships will join boats with the Bainbridge Island Yacht Club and sail past Waterfront Park. With music by the Bainbridge High School Band and the Dickens Carolers.

Port Orchard Festival of Chimes and Lights: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in downtown Port Orchard. Following a day-long holiday festival, lights brighten up the streets, boats, trees and more while chimes and songs continue into the night. Info: www.cityofportorchard.us/tourism/festival-of-chimes-and-lights.

 

Dec. 11

Liberty Bay Lighted Boat Parade (Poulsbo, Keyport and Lemolo):

7 p.m. at the Poulsbo waterfront; 7:45 p.m. at Keyport; 8:20 p.m. at Lemolo. Argosy’s lighted cruise ships will sail through Liberty Bay, with music by the North Kitsap Northern Lights Choir.

 

Dec. 13-14

Poulsbo Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade (Liberty Bay, Agate Pass, Port Madison and Suquamish):

The Poulsbo Yacht Club will sail through Liberty Bay and beyond on a two-night parade of lighted boats. Santa will call out names along the way. Email lightedships@gmail.com to request a message from Santa; include the address. Contact Tom Henderson at tom@gthdesign.com to join the parade in your boat.

On Dec. 13, 7 p.m., decorated boats will sail in front of the waterfront park in Poulsbo and then along the western shore of Liberty Bay.

On Dec. 14, boats rendezvous at 6 p.m. at Manzanita Bay at Bainbridge Island before heading north through Agate Pass to Port Madison, on to Suquamish, then back through Agate Pass and to Point Bolin.

 

Dec. 14

Port Orchard Lighted Boat Parade: 5-9 p.m. starting at Southworth. The Port Orchard Yacht Club parades decorated boats from Southworh to South Colby, on to Manchester, and ending at the club in Port Orchard by 8:30 p.m.

 

Dec. 16

Manchester State Park Lighted Boat Parade: 8:05 p.m. Argosy’s lighted cruise ships will sail past the park with music by Pacific Sound Chorus.

 

Dec. 20-21

Bremerton Lighted Boat Parade: The Bremerton Yacht Club will light up the shores from Illahee to Silverdale over a two-night parade. The boats will sail east and north from 6:10-8:30 p.m. on Dec. 20, and will cruise through Dyes Inlet from 6:10-9:30 p.m. on Dec. 21.

For a schedule and parade map — and to put in a request for Santa to call out a name — go to www.bremertonyachtclub.org/events/lightedships/13.

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