By Kevin Johnson
It was a scene straight out of a Lifetime Holiday special.
A small-town barbershop. Two longtime citizens, sitting in adjacent chairs, talking about the small town happenings. The topic of the upcoming tree lighting arrives and the question of where the city will find a tree pops up, when one man says to the other, “Go and see Mr. Barmon at the old Christmas tree farm. He’ll set you up.”
Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as small town community spirit.
For the first time in six years, the Sultan community is having a holiday tree lighting festival – thanks to Sultan resident Pennie Marshall.
Marshall’s idea to rejuvenate the tree lighting was sparked by an article she read in the Everett Herald that talked about Everett residents receiving awards for caring for their properties. She was inspired to start a community event in Sultan, so she talked to her insider contact, husband Ken Marshall, a city council member.
“(Ken) brought it to the attention of the mayor and other members of the council. The mayor and I met up that following Saturday in a local coffee shop and discussed integrating a similar holiday event for the Sultan community,” Marshall said.
Marshall said she has always enjoyed helping in the community and that, “helping and making things happen in a community is a feeling that you cannot obtain from anything else in your life.
She, along with city officials, government officials, business owners and the public have been putting the final touches on the event.
“The most fun in preparing this event has been working with members of the public, city, government, and business owners; being able to share ideas on this event, working together to make it a memorable event for everyone,” Marshall said.
The Tree Lighting Festival is Saturday, Dec. 1 from 6-8 p.m., at the River Park Gazebo on First and Main Streets in Sultan. The tree lighting will take place at approximately 7 p.m.
The festival coincides with Sultan’s Winterfest on Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., a festival held annually at Sultan High School that features handmade arts and crafts from local businesses, along with a kids’ and health fair, pictures with Santa and live music.
Donations for the Sultan Food Bank will be collected at Winterfest, as well as unwrapped gifts for the Dave Wood Giving Tree Program.
Donations are also being collected there for the Sultan Food Bank.
Events include: Santa and Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick riding in together to light up the tree; hot cocoa and cookies; burn barrels to keep warm; local band Two Weeks Notice singing holiday tunes; performances by dancers from Selena’s Dance Academy; and a citywide holiday light decorating contest that includes winners for Best Lit House and Best Lit Business, along with a People’s Choice award chosen by you!
“The tree lighting celebration is an old-fashioned event that brings the whole community together to enjoy the simple pleasures of hot cocoa, singing and to watch the wonder on the faces of the little ones,” said Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce Director Debbie Copple.
People’s Choice nominations can be turned in to the Sultan Visitor’s Center, City Hall or emailed to email@example.com. All that is needed is the address of the house you choose as the best. Winners will be announced on Dec. 15 and a decorative sign will be given to the winner that they can prominently put in their yard or business window.
Organizers have also set up a Facebook page for the event at www.facebook.com/sultanlightingfestival.