OKANOGAN – A tree donated by the late Louie Wood will take center stage during the Get Lit Tree Lighting and Santa’s arrival at 5 p.m. Saturday on Second Avenue.
Wood’s widow, Dorie Wood, said he made arrangements – unbeknownst to his family – to donate the tree for the festival.
“It was the prettiest tree in the yard,” she said of the blue spruce given to him by his family when he retired as chief of the Okanogan Fire Department.
He also drove a school bus for the Okanogan School District for several years. Louie Wood died July 29, 2012.
Dorie Wood said she’s thrilled to have the tree as Okanogan’s community tree.
For the festival, Santa will arrive on a fire truck at 5:15 p.m., with the tree lighting following at 5:30 p.m. at the corner of South Second Avenue and Queen Street, Chamber of Commerce President Bess Derting said. The festivities will go until 7 p.m.
The event also includes children’s crafts, free hot dogs and hot cocoa, a coloring contest, Girl Scout bake sale and a holiday bazaar at 123 S. Second Ave. in the former Rusty Shovel building.
Santa will be available for pictures.
Stores will remain open late for shopping.
Caroling will be by the Virginia Grainger Elementary School Honor Choir.
Music teacher Gail Ridenour said the 14 fifth-grade girls love singing and give up lunch recess one day a week to rehearse.
Hand bells are used as accompaniment.
Other holiday events include:
A lighted tractor parade is planned at 5 p.m. p.m. Saturday on Main Street and ending at Centennial Park.
The parade begins at Oroville High School, 1008 Ironwood St. After the procession, a tree lighting is planned at the park, next to Sun Lakes Realty, 1411 Main St.
The tree lighting ceremony will include nearly 30 singers from the Okanagan International Chorus and a visit from Santa.
Children are invited to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus Dec. 17 at the annual Christmas in the City, from 5:30-7 p.m. in Memorial Park on Lakeshore Drive.
Santa will maintain the tradition of arriving with his wife on a fire truck.
A caroling party and tree lighting will be at 4 p.m. Saturday in Patterson Park. The event revives a longstanding tradition from years past.
Community caroling will be followed by the lighting ceremony.
Ferry County Memorial Hospital employees will distribute mittens and gloves to community members in need.
Winter Fest begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Founders Park next to City Hall, 209 S. Whitcomb Ave.
Santa will arrive by fire truck at 6 p.m. to light the tree and hear children’s wishes. Caroling, music, fire truck and carousel rides are planned, along with a log-cutting contest, food and face painting.