Downtown Gig Harbor comes alive during the holidays with classic traditions and some new ones, as well.
Deck the Harbor reminds Mary DesMarais of childhood trips to downtown Portland, Ore., to see the window dressings. The aim of the downtown Christmas event is to celebrate the smalltown feel of the holidays, said DesMarais, the executive director of the Downtown Waterfront Alliance.
The DWA has spread the holiday fun across a few weeks. It will kick off with Hark the Harbor from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Sunday. There will be caroling at Skansie Brothers Park before the Argosy Christmas ship sails in with the Jet City Chorus at 6:20 p.m.
From Dec. 13-15, Candlelight Christmas in the Harbor will host several events. Holiday hayrides, provided by Miracle Ranch, will take riders on a loop through the downtown area from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Rides board on Judson Street in front of Timberland Bank.
The alliance hopes the events will encourage holiday revelers to shop locally and keep money spent on gifts in the community, DesMarais said.
Some of that money can be won. The “Where’s Santa’s Cookie Plate?” competition will return this year. Plates, courtesy of Java and Clay Café, will be hidden in downtown stores. Those who find a plate can enter into a drawing for a $500 shopping trip downtown.
Last year, the competition had more than 800 entries, DesMarais said. Participating businesses will have sign on their doors to show shoppers where they can find plates.
There’s also an opportunity to give. Both Heidi’s Sweet Shop and Tickled Pink will have Toys for Tots donation boxes.
The Deck the Harbor decorating contest will pit storefront against storefront. Shoppers will be able to vote on the best display for People’s Choice. Storefronts will be up for judging on other categories on Dec. 4.