Gathering to sing or listen to timeless tales is the heart of the season. This winter, join the City of Lacey to celebrate togetherness one page at a time thanks to Stories and Songs with Santa. From December 5, the day of the Lacey Lighted Parade and Christmas Tree Lighting, through January 2, head to Huntamer Park’s lighted wonderland for a special treat. While at the park, you can listen to the big man himself reading holiday classics to kids of all ages accompanied by local musicians, on your mobile device.

pick up truck covered in lights with a red nose at the City of Lacey Christmas Parade
Stories and Songs with Santa runs from the December 5 lighting of Huntamer Park through January 2. Photo courtesy: City of Lacey

Holiday Lights at Huntamer Park

Huntamer Park will be lit up like the North Pole nearly the entire month of December. While the main parade and lighting are just one day, that doesn’t mean the fun ends. Swing by their decorated wonderland and visit the Lacey Parks website on your mobile device where Santa reads to the kiddos, accompanied by the River Ridge High School Bands and B.A.C.H. Musicians homeschool orchestra and choir.

If you were lucky enough to attend the Parade and pick up a pair of 3D glasses at the celebration, bring them! They make the lights amazing and extra magical. Couldn’t attend but still want to twinkle? Stop by Lacey Parks at Lacey City Hall Monday – Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and pick up a pair, while supplies last. You can call 360.491.0857 to check the availability of glasses.

Stories and Songs across the Miles thanks to Lacey Parks

Like so many creative holiday hacks, this idea came about during the coronavirus. “In 2020, when we couldn’t gather together for the parade and tree lighting, the Parks department still decorated Huntamer Park and I got the idea for the stories and songs,” explains Recreation Supervisor Jeannette Sieler. “We had a small radio transmitter and we recorded Santa reading ‘The Night Before Christmas’ and asked the River Ridge Band instructor, John Theine, if he had any ideas about music.”

Theine stepped right up, in the spirit of the season. “The kids were all at home due to COVID so he had the individual students record their part and he blended them all together to make the recordings,” says Sieler. “We also have a group of homeschooled musicians that did their recording outside in November to add to the music. Then we put the recordings together to be broadcast nightly, just around the park. This proved popular, so we have continued it.”

Musical Elves from River Ridge High School and B.A.C.H. Musicians

Two Christmas books on a table, 'The Night Before Christmas' and "Selfie Elfie'
During the event, families can stream Santa reading holiday stories and listen to music from local student musicians from the city’s website or app. Photo courtesy: City of Lacey

Theine is happy their group could help. “Music helps set the tone for an event,” he says. “RRHS Band has a strong philosophy of giving back to the community through our art form, music. Partnering with the City of Lacey to help bring about the stories with Santa, including music, is a great way for us to take steps towards living that philosophy and not just giving it lip service.”

“We recorded the first time around during the pandemic,” Theine continues. “This year, having a chance to have a group together and record what we are actually playing as a group has been great! Celebrations like the Stories with Santa during the holiday season and the Lacey Parade of Lights and Tree Lighting Ceremony are great community events that are made so much better by bringing the community together, music and all, to share in a special moment. We are proud partners with the City of Lacey in helping to shape the holiday traditions of our town.”

“B.A.C.H. Musicians is happy to share the joy of the season with the community,” say the group’s organizers. “We hope you enjoy the efforts that students put into the project. ”

Listen at the Park or Home Decorating the Tree

But the Parks staff are not sitting on their laurels when keeping content evergreen. New this year are fresh songs, an added story, and the ability to stream through your mobile device either from the Parks website or via an app. Stream the fun while decorating the tree, driving around looking at lights, or waiting in line to sit on Santa’s lap.

santa sitting in a fancy throne with a balloon arch behind him in Lacey
This year will be the City of Lacey’s second annual virtual Stories and Songs with Santa event. Photo courtesy: City of Lacey

“Santa Stories and Songs is a fun addition to the season,” says Sieler, “a chance for people to come to the park and enjoy the lights while listening to it. The holiday season is busy, this is something low key but fun for families to enjoy.”

If your group or band would like to join the fun, reach out to events@ci.lacey.wa.us today. “We would welcome other choirs, bands, singers or musicians to participate in the future,” says Sieler. “They would need to provide us with the recordings and provide proof of permission to use the songs or arrangements.”

Dig out some gloves, warm hats, mugs of cocoa, and your holiday spirit because Lacey’s Stories and Songs with Santa could become your family’s newest holiday tradition.


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