If, somehow, you have missed the subtle reminders that went up in Fred Meyer and other establishments the day after Halloween: we are now in peak Christmas-and-other-December-holiday season. So get into the spirit, darn it! If you have anything left over after filling your gas tank, buying groceries, and paying for all that heat you’re using because we’re in another La Niña winter—please patronize our Wallingford small businesses so they can try to cover pilfered inventory and repair the broken doors and windows from their latest incidents. Seriously…it’s an awfully challenging business climate in our town these days. It would be nice to support the smaller, quirkier establishments that give the neighborhood some character.
Since it seems to be dark most of the time during these winter months, I do appreciate the fact that many people in Wallingford decorate their homes with lights. The more cynical among us might say that the lights permit all the Ring doorbells to take clearer pictures of the porch thieves who are grabbing your holiday Amazon deliveries—but not me! I simply like seeing light and color in the midst of the long and frequently damp nights.
Finally, I wanted to remind people about one of the quintessentially Seattle holiday events that has a continuing link to Wallingford: the Argosy Christmas Ships parade. The longstanding tradition is that the final night of the Christmas Ships, led by the Spirit of Seattle, winds up at Gasworks Park. This year is no exception, with the last cruise and parade on December 23rd. Seattle Parks sponsors a bonfire at the park, and regardless of the weather, there are always big crowds. The featured musical group aboard the Spirit of Seattle, which in the past has been the Seattle Girls’ Chorus, serenades the assembled masses shoreside and abaord the many vessels in the parade. With a crackling bonfire and the Seattle skyline and the Space Needle as a backdrop, it is a unique and lovely way to begin your holiday celebration. The ships are scheduled to arrive at Gasworks at 9:10 p.m., but you can hear them approaching with music broadcast from the Spirit of Seattle throughout lower Wallingford. You can call me dopey and sappy, but I have always enjoyed hearing the ethereal music wafting through the Christmas Eve eve night—even if I didn’t make my way to Gasworks to see the ships.
The Parks Department posted this description of the bonfire events:
The Argosy Christmas Ships are an annual Seattle tradition. As part of the festivities, a parade of brightly-lighted boats will cruise from Puget Sound to Lake Union and out to Lake Washington. Stopping at pre-planned locations, the lead ship hosts an onboard chorus singing Christmas carols for neighbors and community to watch from shore.
This year Seattle Parks and Recreation is pleased to offer bonfires at select Seattle parks where the Christmas Ships will stop. Community members can bring a warm drink in a thermos and gather around the fire to watch and even sing along to the choir while the night lights up with holiday cheer. Dress warm, bring umbrellas just in case, and join with your community!
… These events are free, and all ages are welcome.
There is also an earlier (December 9th) free event planned for neighboring Fremont. Argosy Cruises, which is the primary sponsor for the Christmas Ships, provides this overview of the Fremont viewing:
Join Argosy Cruises for the 7th Annual Parade of Boats official onshore viewing party at Evanston Plaza in the Fremont Lake Union Center (off of Evanston Ave North and North Northlake Way).
When: Friday, December 9 from 7:30-9:30pm
Where: Evanston Plaza next to Phenopath Lab on the Fremont Cut (off of Evanston Ave North and North Northlake Way)
How: This event is free! Walk, bike, or ride share to Fremont.
Decorated boats from all over the region convene and promenade around Lake Union, then travel westward through the Fremont Cut. PrimeTime Quartet will perform from aboard the official Christmas Ship™ to those gathered on shore as the Spirit of Seattle leads the parade through the Fremont Cut.
This event is free to the community and Warm106.9, Seattle’s Christmas Station, will be onsite playing Christmas music, emceeing the procession, and offering holiday prizes & games, while supplies last. Keep warm with hot beverages provided by Chayen Coffee Trailer. Come hungry and grab dinner from this year’s food truck Born-n-Braised!
In spite of everything else going on everywhere, have a warm and wonderful holiday season!