The holidays have officially here and that means everything from yule logs and parties to extravagantly decorated homes and lots of cookies for all to enjoy. Something especially bright is the Festival of Lights weekend hosted by Montesano that brings everyone together for some Christmas time merriment. Don’t miss out on the festivities planned for Friday, December 7 through Sunday, December 9. There is something new and fun to check out this year with the Jingle Lights light show that used to be done in Central Park, now happening during the Festival of Lights.

Montesano Festival of Lights parade log trucks
Watch a whole city light up in colorful colors as the Festival of Lights parade makes its way through Montesano on December 8. Photo courtesy: Festival of Lights

“The city of Montesano purchased the equipment and so they’re running that show at Fleet Park,” Leslie Goings, Festival of Lights parade chair says. “Each weekend, there’s a different non-profit. So, they’re asking for donations and then that non-profit for that weekend will get the proceeds.”

Sometimes there is a specific theme for the festival, but this year they are keeping it traditional with a theme of “lights” to welcome aboard the Jingle Lights show and for everyone to twinkle brightly during the parade. “We decided not to do a sub-theme, we’re sticking with the Festival of Lights,” says Goings. “Part of it is it has been so specific over the last couple of years that we wanted to let some of the participants reuse some of their decorations, but also with Jingle Lights coming this year we really wanted to focus on lights.”

The magic of the season comes through in Montesano this time of year as people help each other to bring alive the spirit of the holidays. A committee works tirelessly to put on the festival, but dozens of people also help through doing everything from decorating to hosting events.

“It’s pretty much a city-wide effort,” shares Goings. “The city and public works department, they put up the garland around town, and each business is responsible for doing their own decorating. And then we have just a lot of support, whether it’s monetary sponsorships or donations. Everyone just kind of works together.”

A huge crowd of 13,000 came to town for the parade last year and with new entries coming onto the scene this year, it’ll be even bigger. “We have quite a few new participants this year that I’m excited about,” says Goings, commenting that businesses such as the Extreme Fun Center and Home Depot are coming along with the usual groups that always have dazzling displays.

There is so much holiday fun to check out all weekend long in addition to the parade:

Montesano Festival of Lights Bayview parade
From art shows to museum tours, there is so much to see and do throughout the Festival of Lights weekend in Montesano. Photo courtesy: Festival of Lights

Friday, December 7

  • 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. An art show featuring Ken Hurley at the showroom at Whitney’s Chevrolet
  • 6:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m., and 8:00 p.m., Jingle Lights at Fleet Park
  • 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. live music at the Montesano High School Commons featuring Ken Albert, Gladys Whitney, and Christine Hill. Free admission
  • 9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. For those 21 and older, check out the Ugly Sweater Dance Party with prizes at Charlie’s Sports Bar

Saturday, December 8 

  • 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Pancake breakfast with Santa and an auction at the Montesano Community Center
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Check out Santa’s Sweet Shoppe with treats for all at the Montesano Community Center
  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. An art show featuring Ken Hurley at the showroom at Whitney’s Chevrolet
  • 9:00 a.m. participate in the Jingle Bell Jog, a two-mile fun walk or 12k race. Pre-register at Montesano High School, $20 adult/$15 child. Contact: April Pocklington 360-249-4041.
  • 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. See over 60 vendors at the craft fair hosted at the Montesano Junior High gym
  • 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Tour the Grays Harbor Historical Courthouse with tours from local commissioners
  • 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Tours of the Chehalis Valley Historical Museum
  • 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Live performances at the courthouse by Olympic Flute Choir (1:00 p.m.) and Montesano School Choir (2:00 p.m.)
  • Montesano Festival of Lights parade downtown
    Don’t miss this dazzling parade of lights. Photo courtesy: Festival of Lights

    2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. See the children’s program at H. Abel Memorial Timberland Library

  • 3:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Enjoy hot beverages, cookie decorating and photos with Santa (kids and pets) with The Odd Fellows at Friendship Hall (formerly Marcy Center)
  • 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Meet at the Umpqua Bank for a scavenger hunt
  • 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Chowder feed by the Montesano Fire Department Volunteer Association, donations appreciated
  • 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. For $3 per person, enjoy homemade chili and cornbread at the Montesano Moose Lodge
  • 4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Head to the Montesano Fitness Center studio for a cocoa factory activity with all donations going to Connections
  • 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Free Sweet Treats and Crafts for Kids at Our Community Credit Union inside PickRite with a raffle
  • 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Open House at the W.H. Abel Memorial Library with music and snacks
  • 6:00 p.m. Grand Parade with Grand Marshal, Sue Bucy
  • 7:00 p.m. Yule Log lighting on Pioneer Street
  • 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Live nativity at Montesano Presbyterian Church
  • 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Jingle Lights at Fleet Park
  • 7:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. $10/child at Kids Rock ‘n Bowl at Bulldog Lanes with hot cocoa bar included
  • 7:30 p.m. Dukes of Swing at Montesano Moose Lodge, free to members, $3 for non-members
  • 9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. Live music by Feelin’ Good at Gepetto’s
  • 9:00 p.m. Live music by Ready or Not at Charlie’s Sports Bar
Montesano Festival of Lights Yule Log crowd
Hear the comforting crackle of a fire after the parade as people gather around for the annual Yule Log lighting. Photo courtesy: Festival of Lights

Sunday, December 9

  • 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. An art show featuring Ken Hurley at the showroom at Whitney’s Chevrolet
  • 10:00 a.m. Cribbage tournament at Bulldog Lanes, $5 entry, cash prizes
  • 1:00 p.m. Yule Log hunt and Christmas sing-a-long at Schafer State Park
  • 7:00 p.m. Christmas Cantata at the United Methodist Church

Take a look at the Montesano Chamber of Commerce website or the Festival of Lights Facebook page for questions or more information. To view the full schedule of Jingle Lights shows, see it here on the Jingle Lights event page.



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