Viking Avenue kicks off the Christmas season Friday night with tree-lighting, hay ride

The 38-foot Christmas tree is ready to be illuminated Friday at the Martinson Cabin during Viking Avenue
The 38-foot Christmas tree is ready to be illuminated Friday at the Martinson Cabin during Viking Avenue's holiday celebration.
— image credit: Elda Armstrong/Contributed

POULSBO — A 38-foot Christmas tree was "planted" at Martinson Cabin this week for the Viking Avenue Christmas celebration on Friday evening. The celebration will include hot chocolate and cider in the cabin, a hay ride courtesy of Washington Tractor, and visits from Father Christmas, Miss Poulsbo, and the Vikings.

The event is free and open to the public.

The tree, donated by Herb and Elda Armstrong of St. Mick's Tree Farm and ADA Engineering, will be illuminated at 6:30 p.m. with lights donated by Viking Avenue merchants. The star is donated by Bill Austin.

Businesses are reviving the thoroughfare’s Christmas tree-lighting ceremony this year in an endeavor to bring consumers and residents back to the once-busy district. It’s been 20 years since the last ceremony was held, Elda Armstrong said.

“We want to let people know businesses [on Viking] are still in business,” Armstrong said in an earlier interview. “We need to pull together in this economy and buy local.”  The “we” Armstrong is referring to is a group of property and business owners on Viking, concerned residents and the city pulling together to bring customers and vitality back to the struggling business district. Reviving the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony came out of brainstorming meeting between businesses and City Council members Oct. 17 in City Hall.

After the departure of heavyweight businesses such as Poulsbo RV and Courtesy Ford, Viking Avenue has struggled to attract customers and remain a viable area for future businesses. Both companies cited the economic downturn for their withdrawal, the same reason new businesses are not filling the spots.

Councilman Ed Stern said the vacant lots give the appearance that Viking Avenue is a failing district. "Perception can create realities,” he said at the meeting.


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