Gingerbread house contest is highlight of Winterfest downtown

The Downtown Aberdeen Association decided to schedule activities for just two days instead of three this year, with everything happening indoors because of unpredictable weather

How can you tell it’s December in downtown Aberdeen?

Business windows have been decorated in the holiday spirit by students in the high school art class. The streetside flowerpots have been filled with evergreen boughs and red ribbons. Holiday lights are twinkling at Zelasko Park and in the trees lining Heron and Wishkah streets.

Oh, and Winterfest is this weekend.

The Downtown Aberdeen Association decided to schedule activities for just two days instead of three this year, with everything happening indoors because of unpredictable weather, according to event organizers Bette Worth and Bobbi McCracken.

Activities will kick off with Breakfast With Santa, from 9 to 11 a.m. at St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

Breakfast will be cooked and served by the Aberdeen Lions Club. Thanks to a grant from the Windermere Foundation, the meal will be free for those 12 and younger. Donations are encouraged from all others.

Rick and Amy Moyer will offer photos with Santa for a fee, and the Robert Gray Glee Club will perform at 10 a.m.

At the old Goldbergs Furniture building, more than 30 local vendors will be selling their wares at the Holiday Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“There will be a lot of craft items and gift items,” said McCracken. “And other than handmade, we’ve got Pampered Chef and Tupperware and things like that, so you can buy all kinds of gifts.”

Directly across Wishkah, at the former Salvation Army thrift store location, a wide array of gingerbread houses will be on display and live music will be playing all day. Aberdeen High School’s American Sign Language group will take the stage at noon, followed by the Salmonberries (a ukulele band) at 1 p.m. and Amanda Ransom at 2 p.m.

“For the gingerbread house contest this year, we’re having people enter individually for cash prizes,” said McCracken. “We added a new category this year where you can actually use a kit if you’re intimidated by the whole baking thing.”

Another fresh element this year is the business challenge. About 20 local offices and shops have created gingerbread houses and tied each one to a charity. The Downtown Aberdeen Association’s entry, made by Worth and McCracken, is dedicated to the ALS Association’s Evergreen Chapter.

Other participants range from Bank of the Pacific (collecting for the Domestic Violence Center of Grays Harbor) to Eternal Love Tattoos (Family Promise) to Harbor Blooms (PAWS of Grays Harbor). A complete listing is available at

Visitors to all of those businesses can vote through Thursday afternoon by dropping donations in their red buckets on-site.

“Everybody will win in that category, but the one that gets the most money in their bucket gets a pat on the back,” McCracken said with a grin.

By Friday morning, the business creations will be moved to the old Salvation Army thrift store location for judging, along with the individual entries. All entries will be displayed there Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for People’s Choice Award voting. Prizes of up to $100 will be up for grabs.

Holiday craft tables also will be set up at that location all day. Kids will also be able to write letters to Santa on special stationery and mail them on the spot.

The trolley will be running all day Saturday between St. Andrews and the Holiday Market.

Capping off the day will be a free screening of “Elf” at the D&R Theatre.

On Sunday, there will be no Winterfest activities downtown; but Andrew Allen, a Canadian singer and entertainer, will be performing holiday music at the Bishop Center. He is known for bringing kids onstage from the audience to sing with him.

“He has put out a message to the community for school-aged children who are interested in participating,” said McCracken.

The show will run from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. It’s free for kids 12 and under, $15 for adults. Visit for advance tickets.

For more details and updates on the downtown happenings, check