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Port Orchard celebrates the holidays with local favorites

Plenty to do this season

South Kitsap High School’s marching band performs at the Festival of Chimes and Lights in 2014. Photo courtesy of Cindy Lucarelli

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What started as a celebration of the completion of the new City Hall in Port Orchard 17 years ago, has turned into a beloved annual tradition. The building featured new chimes in its clock tower, and during the unveiling, the chimes were rung to celebrate the city's efforts to build the new City Hall. Every holiday season since, the chimes ring proudly during the city's annual Festival of Chimes and Lights.

"It truly is a magical event," said Cindy Lucarelli, Festival of Chimes and Lights Committee chair, along with Jerry Childs. "It really brings the community together."

In honor of the Festival of Chimes and Lights, which takes place this year Saturday, Dec. 5, the city will close the streets downtown right in front of the waterfront. Between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., guests can enjoy hayrides and Christmas movies and can even bring their four-legged family members down in their best costumes to take part in the Pooch n' Purr Pet Parade. Several local schools will have choirs on hand to put the magic of the season in the air by singing holiday favorites. Guests can enjoy making holiday crafts at the library and snacking on food donated by a variety of vendors.

As evening approaches and the sun begins to set, no downtown lights will be lit until the official tree lighting. At the very moment that the giant Christmas tree is illuminated, the chimes will sound from the clock tower, and the downtown streets will twinkle in every direction. Downtown Port Orchard will truly become a winter wonderland.

The festival's special guest, Santa, will be led through town to his sleigh on a vintage fire truck with the lights and sirens blazing. Once Santa reaches his sleigh, children of all ages will have a chance to meet with him and take photos.

This year also celebrates Port Orchard's 5th year hosting the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. Thousands of people turn out for this yearly event, which has quickly turned into a local favorite. Port Orchard is proud to be among cities like Seattle and Spokane to be awarded the Jingle Bell Run/Walk event in the state of Washington.

Another much-loved Port Orchard event will take place earlier in the day. Guests will be thrilled with the opportunity to take part in the annual Breakfast with Santa at the South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Station 8. The event takes place between 8 a.m. and noon. For a small fee, guests can fill their bellies with delicious breakfast food. Be sure to bring your camera and snap some unforgettable photos with Santa at the firehouse!

Proceeds from the breakfast go directly back into the community. Breakfast with Santa began in 2006 as a way for the South Kitsap Fire Rescue Volunteer Association to help fund various community activities, such as the Sidney Glen Family Sponsorship. This event has been hugely successful since its inception, and the association is anticipating another successful year.

For more information about Breakfast with Santa, visit For information about the Festival of Chimes and Lights, visit

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