Soon it’ll be the most wonderful time in Aberdeen, which means the elves have been doing their due diligence to make sure it’s the best holiday season yet.
Bette Worth and Bobbi McCracken, both part of Downtown Aberdeen Association (DAA,) want to prove that two heads are better than one once again for this year’s Winterfest, which starts Saturday at 9 a.m., in downtown Aberdeen. The holiday festival has run for nearly a decade.
First on the schedule of fun, family events is the Pancake Breakfast with Santa at Messy Jessy’s Bar & Grill — 212 S. I St. Children 12 years-old and younger will get a free breakfast, books and photographs with Ol’ Saint Nick, courtesy of Rick Moyer, of Moyer Multimedia. That goes from 9 to 11 a.m. Aberdeen Lions Club is preparing the breakfast. Central Park Lions Club will serve the breakfast, according to Worth.
Jessica Knutson, owner of Messy Jessy’s, is raring to host the breakfast.
“I’m super excited to be a part of such an awesome group of people putting on a great event,” said Knutson, who also had great things to say about working with DAA and the Lions clubs.
“The Downtown Aberdeen Association and Aberdeen Lions Club are always a pleasure to work with,” she said.
Knutson said the breakfast “really brings in the holiday cheer,” as people fill the bar and grill with kids “excited to talk to Santa.” Knutson said Moyer “always captures the perfect moments.”
Part of the fun there is the extremely specific weather forecast that calls for snow outside Messy Jessy’s. McCracken and Worth can’t wait to see the children’s eyes light up as they frolic under the snow at the front of the business. They each said their favorite thing about Winterfest is to “see the joy,” of the children and their families as they participate in Winterfest.
Right across the street, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., children will have the ability to write letters to Santa at the D&R Event Center — 122 E. Heron St.
“We have a person who’s doing crafts with the kids,” Worth said. “They’ll write letters to Santa and they’ll do some (other) things, so that will be there as well.”
In addition to the letters to Santa, the event center will also have 39 spaces filled with 35 businesses selling their wares at the Holiday Market. The market goes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Worth and McCracken want the festival to promote the downtown Aberdeen businesses.
“If they’re gonna have a sale, have a sale. Let us know and we’ll promote it,” Worth said.
One way businesses are participating is by decorating gingerbread houses. And, according to photos of the houses on the Winterfest Facebook page, they’ve picked a charity to help as well.
“This year, we provided them with their actual gingerbread house already built,” Worth said. “All they need to do is decorate it. We want them to decorate it to look like, to replicate the exterior of their business.”
For example, Waugh’s Men’s and Women’s Apparel —110 E. Heron St., — decorated the gingerbread house roof with the name Waugh’s. Waugh’s is raising funds to help fight juvenile diabetes. Harbor Blooms — 118 E. Heron St., — also participated in the sweet architecture. The flower business placed cedar bows on the gingerbread roof. Harbor Bloom’s charity is PAWS of Grays Harbor.
Worth said a new element for the gingerbread house building is there will be a prize for the business with the best one.
“And so they will actually be judged and part of the criteria is how well does it represent your business,” McCracken said. “It’s a $100 prize but they probably spent $100 on the candy to go on it anyway.”
In addition to the businesses, who are competing against each other, there are several categories for individuals and families who are decorating their own gingerbread house for cash prizes ranging from $20 to $100. The gingerbread house contest will happen from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Go Get the Pho — 100 E. Heron St.
And then later on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bishop Center for the Performing Arts — Edward P Smith Dr., in Aberdeen — there will be a Holiday Concert with Erwilian. The performance will include “holiday favorites and original compositions.” According to Grays Harbor College, Erwilian is “blending elements from Celtic, new age and world music.” Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students. Children 12 and under can attend for free.
In addition to the events on Saturday, Tinderbox Roasters — 113 E. Wishkah St., — will host a wreath making event on Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. Call 360-532-0300 to register for the event.
Last but not least, Winterfest will include a raffle for a few high-value prizes. Tickets cost $5, according to winterfestaberdeen.com, which is the festival’s official site. The raffle for the prizes will be held at the end of the Holiday Market. There is no need to be present, but make sure your contact number is legible.
The raffle prizes are below:
Playstation 5 and accessories, plus games — $900 value
Moyer Multimedia photo package — $500 value
Les Schwab gift card — $400 value
Gas card from Q-Mart and grocery gift cards from Swanson’s — $200 value
Pillow from Mattress Ranch — $150 value
When speaking about Winterfest, McCracken and Worth took time to thank all of the volunteers’ hard work. They also wanted to thank their sponsors, which include Grays Harbor Title, Pay More Recycle & Salvage, Service Master 1st Choice, Windermere Foundation and Quigg & Co Real Estate. They also wanted to make sure to thank Les Schwab, Mattress Ranch, Moyer Multimedia and Northwest Rock, Inc. and Glass Doctor, for being “major donors.”
How Winterfest came to be
“They announced on the radio one day there was going to be a tree lighting ceremony at Zelasko Park,” McCracken said. “I thought ‘that’ll be fun.’ I took my three grandkids and we went down there. It was raining and so we sat in the car and we were gonna wait until it started and not get all wet. Well, we sat in the car and then pretty soon the lights came on and everybody left. I called Bette and said ‘this is lame, we can do better.’”
Worth said that next year Winterfest was going to include a tree lighting, and then some.
“We were going to have singers, carolers, Santa on a fire truck and the tree was gonna be lit,” Worth said. “The first year it was great … nice and cold and crisp. But probably four out of the next five years it’s rained. And it’s gonna rain this year too.”
Well, rain everywhere except where it’ll snow on South I Street.
The National Weather Service forecast shows 100% chance of rain for everywhere else in Aberdeen on both Friday and Saturday, so this year the Winterfest activities will be inside. For people traveling to the different businesses in downtown Aberdeen, Saturday’s high temperature should be near 50 degrees and the day’s low temperature is expected to be about 43 degrees.
For more information on Winterfest, log-on to winterfestaberdeen.com, or head to Facebook and search Winterfest.
Contact Reporter Matthew N. Wells at firstname.lastname@example.org.