Aberdeen’s third annual Winterfest will have two new elements this weekend: a reindeer visit and a gingerbread house contest.
Organized by the Aberdeen Revitalization Movement, the event will center on the downtown area Friday evening and Saturday morning. Then, on Saturday afternoon, activities will shift to the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport in South Aberdeen.
Bette Worth and Bobbi McCracken are leading the charge, of course. After sprucing up the streets with their Bloom Team Nov. 20, they’ll be making the rounds at Winterfest to spread holiday cheer. They will wear matching homemade costumes as usual, though they’re keeping mum on the specifics. “We want it to be a surprise,” Worth says with a smile.
Before the festivities begin, bakers of all ages are invited to submit their gingerbread creations on Thursday afternoon for judging. Entries must be fully edible (except for the base) and be original designs (no kits). All must be delivered between 2 and 6 p.m. Thursday to the D&R Event Center.
“And the judges are all professionals, so they know their stuff!” says McCracken. The gingerbread judges are Candi Bachtell, co-owner of of Savory Faire; Brittany Figg-Case, owner of CaKecaKes; and Jaime Matisons, food service director of the Aberdeen School District.
Those visiting the resulting display over the weekend also may cast their votes for the People’s Choice Award.
For complete rules and the contest application, visit WinterfestAberdeen.com and click on Resources.
On Friday and Saturday, festival-goers are encouraged to shop local. Many downtown businesses are providing raffle items for in-store drawings. Patrons may enter in each participating store (identified by Winterfest placards in the windows), with winners to be named after 5:30 Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.
A pair of reindeer will kick off the formal activities Friday at 4 p.m., with a meet-and-greet at Zelasko Park until 7 p.m. (“We don’t know which two are coming yet, but there won’t be a red nose,” winks McCracken.) Visitors will be welcome to say hello and take selfies with them.
Santa will arrive on a fire truck at 5:30 to throw the switch on the Christmas tree lights at the park. The Robert Gray Glee Club and the Aberdeen High School sign language class will perform holiday music.
F Street will be blocked off between Wishkah and Heron on Friday evening for these festivities.
At 7 p.m., Tinderbox Coffee Roasters will bring the party indoors with a Family Paint & Sip event, with all materials and cocoa provided for a $25 entry fee. Proceeds will be donated to the Historical Seaport.
On Saturday morning from 9 to 11, St. Andrews Episcopal Church will host Breakfast with Santa. The meal, prepared by the Aberdeen Lions, is free for children through sixth grade; all older participants will be asked for donations to the Grays Harbor Community Hospital Foundation.
Home Depot has donated 65 wood craft kits for children to put together and paint toys during the breakfast event. Kids also may choose to write letters to Santa there. Members of Aberdeen High School’s World Class Scholars will be on hand to help smaller children with these activities.
Santa will pose for photos with children from 9:30 to 11:30, and again from 12:30 to 2:30 at the church, which is located at the corner of First and G streets. The photos will cost $10 each, with proceeds going to the hospital foundation.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., more than 30 vendors will be selling their wares at the Holiday Market inside the old Goldberg’s Furniture building, 117 W. Wishkah. Also, the gingerbread house entries will be on display at the D&R Event Center during those hours.
From 10 a.m. to noon, a free trolley will transport visitors between the church, the Holiday Market and the Event Center.
Activities at the Historical Seaport will begin at 1 p.m.
A selection of tribal art will be on display there all afternoon, and children will be able to create different types of crafts. PAWS of Grays Harbor will host a booth where families can have holiday portraits taken with their pets, in exchange for donations.
The seaport tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m., capping the weekend event.
For more information, visit WinterfestAberdeen.com.