Bellevue, Washington is east of Seattle across Lake Washington. Every year for the past 18 downtown Bellevue has put on a wonderful Christmas parade. The town has earned the title of being The Most Festive Town in America by the Huffington Post.
Crowd waiting an hour before the start
Everybody loves Frosty the Snowman!
Sher and I went to this parade back in 2014 during another fun visit with our Seattle family. So we were really looking forward to enjoying the parade again. As nearly 10,000 people a night show up to witness the parade, we had to get there early, grab some coffee and stake our claim on good spots that would give an unobstructed view of the parade route.
Beautiful Snow Princess
Rudolph’s nose did light up!
The parade starts right at 7 when the spot lights turn on and the snow machines start the evening’s snowfall! In addition, spot lights of snow flakes move around on the street surface and the building fronts. The video gives a feel for the excitement of the parade, a look at the snowfall, and an appearance by Santa in person.
There’s that penguin again
We had a great time
It is, in our opinion, just awesome that Bellevue puts on this parade every night for 30 days. The number of participants, the costumes, and of course the lights and snow effects are marvelous. It is easy to see why 10,000 show up each night.
The Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center, a well known and popular camp, conference and retreat center has been in Stanwood, Washington since 1956. Stanwood is north of Seattle and south of Bellingham. In 1997 it opened the first “Lights of Christmas” event on the beautiful wooded grounds. Please note that our iPhone photos do not due justice to the quantity and quality of this wonderful festival of lights!
A waterfall in lights
Here we are getting into the Spirit of the Season
Sher and I went with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson to see this attraction, billed as the largest Christmas Festival in the Pacific Northwest. It features over one million lights and of course Christmas themed light displays. We started our idle speed driving tour with the purchase of some absolutely warm and decadent mini-donuts and a bag of freshly popped kettle corn. By tuning your car radio to a particular FM station you get some great Christmas music, some good clean humor and an excellent background program.
The whales are here!
Tall ship in lights
In the past patrons had left their vehicles for out of vehicle activities like the train rides. The website calls out a lack of staff this year, so you stay inside your vehicle, with the exception of the snack bar/store and Santa’s Village areas. Santa’s Village and store was, for us, quite a walk from the parking. Restroom breaks and stopping at Santa’s Village aside, the drive time through the lights takes a little over 30 minutes.
Santa gets a break talking to kids
What a remarkable event this has become over the past 25 years. What started out as an idea to keep the Camp & Conference Center busy during the slow winter holiday season has turned into the holiday highlight for thousands of Pacific Northwest families each year. This is a delightful attraction, and we heartily recommend it.
Tickets must be purchased online before arriving at the event to control the attendance numbers. Admission costs are per vehicle and are very reasonable. This is The Lights of Christmas website. Dates, times and all other information is provided here.
Today we set up at a local event venue that is trying to establish a monthly flea market. So far the crowd is moderate but steady. Hopefully the crowd will grow and we are looking forward to a brisk pace of sales.￼
Today was another wet day, though not a total washout. Sher and I decided to visit a local winery in the early afternoon while our son stayed at our setup for the sale.
We headed west for about 5 miles to Knightstown, Indiana for a visit to the Harmony Winery. This comfortable and intimate winery is located in an historic building that used to be a chicken hatchery at the turn of the century. The winery has a great selection of wines and we decided to taste a flight of 5.
Tasting the flight
Our host was most helpful in our determination of which five wines to taste. He described not only the making of the wines we tried, but also gave us hints of other uses of wine in different ways. Some of the owners concoctions sounded very interesting. We purchased three bottles before we left and look forward to enjoying our selections each evening after the sale closes. This is the Harmony Winery website.
This is a novel way to make a living, or at least provide a clever side hustle. We saw this fellow at a town festival where we had set up as vendors. He showed up at noon on Saturday (of the weekend festival) and just walked around. He did not say a word, but every so often would freeze in a position and hold it for several minutes, thus becoming a big plastic toy soldier.
April is usually the month we start getting ready for spring festivals to sell our glass pendants. The pendants all need to be shined and all tablecloths washed. Usually we are getting ready for antique shows, where we sell antiques that we collect all year. In fact our first show of the year is usually in April. This year we’re not even sure if there will be any festivals or shows for us to go to.
Selling our pendants at an Austin show
We have gotten everything for the spring, but doesn’t look like we will able to do any. Not even sure that we can do any at all this summer. We are hoping that by fall things will back to normal, but we can’t count on it.
We’ve been in Texas for most of the winter and came back at the end of Feb. because of Coronavirus. Then when it was suggested that older people and people with other diseases were high risk, it caused us to “shelter in place” at our home. We still have family, kids and grand-kids that live in Indiana and Ohio and we’ve postponed seeing them for the time being.
We use facetime a lot and it has helped keep our sanity. Very thankful for all we do have. We have a warm home, food, and don’t have the virus. We have books to read, movies to watch and facetime with family. We have time to get caught up reading blogs we haven’t had a chance to read. And, we are so grateful for all our online friends that keep us on our toes.
Indiana offers some really nice fall festivals that are suitable for the entire family. Depending upon your home location, many of these will be a great event for a one day outing.
Atlanta Earth Days has been a tradition in central Indiana for years. Entertainment and hundreds of craft and merchandise vendors set up all over town. You can find anything for sale at this exciting shopping event. Bands also perform, and there are tons of food vendors scattered throughout the town. Thousands of folsk take advantage of this iconic festival each year.
The Cataract Bean Festival is held the first weekend in October in the tiny town of Cataract, Indiana. Home to the Cataract Falls State Recreation Area, the site is perfect for a fun event. The Cataract Volunteer Fire Department puts on the event which is their fundraising project each year.
Over 700 pound of beans are cooked over open fires in huge cast iron kettles. Served with cornbread, the firefighters always sell out each day! In addition to local entertainment, one of the highlights is the huge open air market. Crafts and flea market vendors fill nearly every open spot in the town. In addition you’ll find the full range of food concessions set up. Here is the VFD website.
Fort Vallonia Days in Jackson County is also one of those huge festivals set in a tiny town. Each year this festival continues a decades long tradition of providing a wholesome family event. The normal crowd size reaches nearly 30,000 people! Running for two days, Saturday is the day of the large parade that is fun for kids of all ages.
Hundreds of vendors are set up selling all kinds of goods. You can find inexpensive new merchandise, great antiques and lots of beautiful handmade crafts. Food? You bet! There are all the usual food concession trailers scattered around the town. Here is the Fort Vallonia Days website.