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After Thanksgiving festivities have wrapped up for the year and as the last of the leftovers disappear from the fridge, the holiday season is full steam ahead. Kick off the holiday season with Olympia Downtown Alliance’s annual LoveOly WinterFest from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on November 27. WinterFest attendees can look forward to a robust schedule of events, including live entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, sweet treats, a festive tree lighting and a visit from Santa.

giant salmon made of Christmas lights in downtown Olympia
WinterFest is an annual event hosted by the Olympia Downtown Alliance, an organization that supports Olympia’s downtown community. Photo courtesy: Olympia Downtown Alliance

WinterFest is born out of a collaboration from local business, organizations and sponsors, with different facets of the community joining together to put on a wide swath of activities for festival attendees.

“Another very exciting component to the event is just having everyone come together,” explains Desiree Freeland, downtown projects manager for the Olympia Downtown Alliance. “Recognize the spirit of the season and work together for the better of the community.”

A Lineup of Holiday Festivities in Olympia

While enjoying a warm cup of cocoa or browsing for holiday gifts, WinterFest attendees can also take in an afternoon of live music and performances. Groups from around the South Puget Sound region are participating in the festival, each delivering their own twist on family-friendly holiday cheer.

This year’s lineup includes performances from the Black Hills High School Spirit Squad, Apple Tree Productions, River Ridge High School Orchestra, Timberline High School Choir and Tumwater High School Choir. The Olympia Symphony Brass Quartet will close out the day’s live music in anticipation of the annual Tree Lighting. “We’re hopeful that each group will bring a different spirit of the holidays for their performance,” says Freeland.

Downtown Olympia business covered in Christmas Lights as part of WinterFest
While enjoying a warm cup of cocoa or browsing for holiday gifts, WinterFest attendees can also take in live music and performances throughout the day of the festival. Photo courtesy: Olympia Downtown Alliance

At twilight, attendees can experience a one-of-a-kind Tree Lighting from Dave Sederberg, owner and lead AV designer for Pacific Stage, a sound and lighting production company.

WinterFest attendees will get into the holiday spirit with crafts, storytelling and sweets, all made possible with the help of downtown Olympia-based businesses and organizations.

Enjoy a holiday treat from the Hot Cocoa Station, hosted by Sofie’s Scoops and Dancing Goats Coffee. Freeland says the two businesses are collaborating to create a unique hot chocolate that can only be found at WinterFest.

Attendees will also have the chance to explore their creative side and shop the work of local artists. The Hands on Children’s Museum will be providing a range of seasonal, family-friendly crafts on the day of the festival. And the Olympia Lamplighters, with support from PBIA, will offer a range of artisan gifts for the holidays, sourced from local creators.

Saying hello to Santa has turned into a WinterFest tradition for many and this year, Santa will be available for holiday greetings and photos throughout the day of the festival at the 222 Market. Guest orators will be in the lobby of the Olympia Ballroom, recounting a repertoire of holiday-themed tales for those young and young at heart.

Horse drawn carriage rides will return to this year’s WinterFest. There is nothing quite like traveling through Olympia, looking at the decorated store fronts with the sound of bells and hooves. Carriage rides will be available to attendees through the length of the festival.

people playing in fake snow outside the Washington Center in Olympia
The Washington Center for Performing Arts has plans to transform into a winter wonderland during the day of WinterFest, with “snow” falling outside the center’s doors. Photo courtesy: Olympia Downtown Alliance

The Washington Center for Performing Arts has plans to transform into a winter wonderland, with snow falling outside the center’s doors. Attendees can stop by to capture a photo and take in the cold-weather fun.

WinterFest Ushers in a Season of Holiday Events in Downtown Olympia

WinterFest is an annual event hosted by the Olympia Downtown Alliance, an organization that supports Olympia’s downtown community. Throughout the year, the alliance highlights places to shop, eat, sip and stroll downtown, while also hosting a range of free seasonal activities for the community, including LoveOly SummerFest and Music in the Park.

In addition to family fun on the day of the festival, WinterFest acts as the official start for additional seasonal celebrations that will take place throughout Downtown for the Holidays. Downtown storefronts will be decked out for the occasion with over a mile of garland on display. From a holiday-themed Shop & Dine Promotion and holiday trees, to Nutcracker Selfie Scenes available downtown, there will be many ways to participate in holiday fun through the end of December.

To learn more about LoveOly WinterFest or Downtown for the Holidays, and for a schedule of events, visit the Olympia Downtown Alliance website.

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