Hundreds gather for Mukilteo’s Tree Lighting

By Brandon Gustafson | Dec 06, 2017
Courtesy of: Paul Shkurinskiy A Tree Lighting staple, the Grinch wandered the halls of Rosehill, taking pictures with those brave enough to ask.

Steady rain and low temperatures didn’t deter hundreds from getting in the holiday spirit and gathering at the annual Tree Lighting and Open House at the Rosehill Community Center on Saturday, Dec. 2.

One of Mukilteo’s longest-standing traditions, there were activities for people of all ages to enjoy such as arts and crafts, designing ornaments and cookies, and of course visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“I had around 280 projects that we went through,” Kristen Costello, Mukilteo’s recreation programmer, said. “We actually had at least 500 people attend this year. We had almost as good of a turnout as the Boo Bash, even though the length of this event is shorter.”

Wandering the halls at Rosehill was another holiday favorite, the Grinch, who was on his best behavior and partook in photos with children and their families.

“The Grinch was great again and Santa and his wife come every year their outfits looked amazing,” Costello said.

The large conference room became a concert hall of sorts, with local choirs and bands from various Mukilteo schools.

Performances included Olympic View’s jazz band, Kamiak’s barbershop choir, Mariner’s barbershop choir and performances from elementary school choirs.

“With Kamiak and Olympic View Middle School’s jazz band, some of the talent we heard was just amazing,” Costello said. “I thought the jazz band and the barbershop groups were awesome, and all the schools had worked so hard on their performances and they were really well done.

“Those groups performed wonderfully, and I thought that the teachers knew exactly what time to bring all the kids here and make it work.”

Costello emphasized that the event couldn’t take place without the help of volunteers and sponsors. The activities for the children and families were big hits with children and parents alike.

“A lot of the volunteers and booths are from last year,” Costello said. “The Creation Station is a group that we invite all the time, and they’re awesome.

“For our sponsors, Ivar’s was so generous this year. They did all the cookies for this event, and they baked them in their kitchen and I picked them up the morning of the event. We actually ran out of cookies with that many kids and parents involved.”

Included in the event was Canyon Creek Church, which Costello said reached out to the city to be involved with the Tree Lighting.

“They’ve come here a number of times,” Costello said. “They reached out to us, and they’re extending their church, and they’re even thinking of possibly moving into Mukilteo so they’re branching out and reaching out to the community. This is a good event for them to reach out to a lot of kids and a lot of families.”

In the large conference room, Whidbey Coffee provided free hot chocolate and coffee to enjoy along with the holiday music performed by the various students.

“Whidbey Coffee is fantastic,” Costello said. “They’re at every one of our events. They’re so supportive of the city of Mukilteo.”

Unlike previous years, this was the first year that the event wasn’t held by the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce, but was instead run by the city.

“This used to be an event held by the Chamber of Commerce, and in the last year they asked us if we would take on the event,” Costello said. “This was the first year that the city has taken it on, and we worked in partnership with them.”

Costello said they began to plan the Tree Lighting right after the Boo Bash finished in October, but a lot of planning and work takes place in the two weeks prior to the event itself.

“We kind of worked steadily through the week, by getting flyers out to schools,” Costello said. “We normally do that two weeks in advance, but since everyone sort of knows this event, we did it about a week prior this year. We also get the banner hung on the Speedway two weeks prior to the event.”

Costello also was surprised at the amount of food donations that they received despite a minor hiccup with their flyers.

“We did get food donations despite the fact that it was left off of the flyer accidentally, but people just know to bring it; we had really nice food donations at this event as well. “

As for the lighting itself, Costello was glad to see it worked as planned.

“The tree lighting went off without a hitch. It was on time, on the button, and the tree lit so we were so excited,” Costello said. “The tree lit beautifully, I thought.”


Below: All photos were taken by Paul Shkurinskiy.


Olympic View jazz band.
Mariner's barbershop choir.
The boys of Kamiak's barbershop choir.
The ladies of Kamiak's barbershop choir.
The tree, moments after being lit to a raucous ovation from those in attendance.
Serene Lake Elementary's choir.
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