Local festivals revisit timeless traditions

Organizers of the Kingston and Port Gamble country holiday festivals want residents of their respective communities to be able to step away from the chaotic hustle and bustle of the season for one day and engage in some old-fashioned fun.

Both communities will be holding their annual country Christmas festivals this weekend, complete with hay rides, visits from Santa Claus, arts and crafts vendors, as well as new events.

Kingston’s festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 10 downtown and Port Gamble’s two-day event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 10 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11.

To Port Gamble property manager Shana Smith and event planner Julie McAfee, keeping an annual event exciting means adding something new to the mix of activity each year. For next weekend, the duo has decided to help make it a blow out success by adding a fireworks show following the 5 p.m. lighting of the town’s Christmas tree Saturday night. The tree will be a light show in itself, Smith said, as it boasts 7,000 lights.

“At night, it is extremely cool,” Smith said.

Other events include artists and vendors in the Walker Ames House, House #11, (corner of State Route 104 and Rainier Avenue), the Port Gamble Historic Museum, the Port Gamble Post Office, the Masonic Lodge, the Port Gamble General Store and Port Gamble Trading Company. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be telling stories at the Dauntless Bookstore between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. both days, and of course, there will be the town’s very popular annual fruitcake contest on Saturday. Cakes must be dropped off between 9 a.m. and noon behind the general store and winners will be announced at 3 p.m. Rules are posted at

Down the road, most of the holiday activity for the Little City by the Sea will be taking place at the Kingston Community Center, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. including a new children’s holiday craft and activity bazaar. Youth organizations, including North Kitsap Options program, Cub Scouts, North Kitsap Boys & Girls Club, Liberty Bay Dance and Llamas 4 Love, will be selling holiday treats and gifts and hosting games, with all the proceeds benefitting the clubs.

The Kingston Junior High band and Wolfle Elementary Choir are expected to perform and Santa Claus will be on hand between noon and 4 p.m., courtesy of the Greater Kingston Kiwanis. There will be additional crafters in the basement as well, where booths will be accepting donations for the Kingston Food Bank and UNICEF.

“I think there is going to be a real bustle of activity going on this year that should make it a lot of fun for the families,” said co-organizer Stephanie Stebbing.

Local artists Marilyn Liden Bode and Betty Claire will be having their annual open houses from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on West Kingston Road, as well as hosting other local artists and selling their goods.

Stebbing encourages folks to park in the Kingston Thriftway parking lot and take the horse-drawn carriages and hay wagon tractor rides that will be transporting people around town during the event, as well as enjoy the free concert from the Home Town Band at 4:30 p.m. at Mike Wallace Memorial Park and the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. The Kingston Cove Yacht Club will also be hosting its annual decorated boat within the marina in the evening.

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