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HDPA, Embarq trim Poulsbo in holiday trappings

POULSBO — ‘Twas still the month before Christmas, but it wasn’t too soon for members of the Historic Downtown Poulsbo Association and area residents to join in stringing lighted garlands and festive flags across Front Street Sunday.

Once again ringing in Little Norway’s downtown holiday cheer, crews from Embarq and nearly 20 community volunteers made up for what they lacked in warmth with determination, good company and high spirits as they decked Poulsbo’s popular thoroughfare with jovial boughs and banners.

“My favorite part is when they turn the lights on,” said Poulsbo Mayor Kathryn Quade while directing traffic at the corner of Front Street and Jensen Way. “It starts the season for me.”

She echoed the sentiments — as did many others — of HDPA beautification director and Checkers Espresso and Gallery owner Jim Wise, who cheered the clear weather as a key part of the decorating success.

“Clear weather is a blessing,” he said. “We have a good turnout of folks from the business community and, of course, Embarq is just to die for.”

He pointed out the nearly 20 shop owners and volunteers streaming bows and lights along the storefront street as one of the biggest volunteer crews he’s seen in his 14 years of leading the project.

“That’s maybe a record,” Wise said. “It’s great.”

HDPA administrative assistant Constance Gooding agreed.

“The more hands the merrier,” she said, adding of the decor, “When it’s up it’s like the holidays have begun. It just makes it look so different.”

Sluys Bakery’s Loretta Sluys said the morning’s activities reminded her of residents all pitching in for a barn-raising.

“It’s people working together on a common cause,” she said. “Working on a project together for the betterment of the town.”

While Wise said no perfect formula for garland hanging exists, volunteer and Olympic Outdoor Center employee Anthony England said speed and skill go a long way.

“Fast and efficient before traffic gets started,” he said.

Embarq’s Dale Swearingen said the company supplied an extra truck this year, which moved things along a bit more quickly.

“We’ve got an extra truck this year, which makes it a little easier,” he said. “If you don’t get any real heavy storms, it’ll last.”

And last it hopefully shall, as the HDPA has plenty more plans for downtown to host beneath the greenery.

Father Christmas is set to take his stage from 12-4 p.m. each Saturday starting Nov. 24 in the Havne Veien Walkway. Horse-drawn wagon rides will kick up Nov. 24 as well, and Poulsbo’s Julefest is slated to light the waterfront for the holidays Dec. 1. For more HDPA information, visit historicpoulsbo.com.

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