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Arlington celebrates Hometown Holidays


Christopher Andersson

Kirstyn Barker, left, tells Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas at the Legion Park gazebo as part of Arlington's Hometown Holidays on Dec. 3.

Arlington families came down to Olympic Avenue to welcome Santa Claus into town and participate in other holiday cheer at Arlington's Hometown Holidays on Dec. 3.

The day included the Santa Parade, lighting the tree at Legion Park, caroling, wagon rides and a couple of new events including the Arlington Rotary's "Polar Express Train" and a "Snowball Drop" from the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce.

For many Arlington locals, the holiday events have become part of their traditions.

"We've lived here our whole life and it's just fun," said local Amanda Barker, who said she enjoyed the hometown feel of the events.

"We do it every year, it's very much a tradition in our family. The parade, the Santa pictures, the free movie, the carriage rides and the craft fair," she said.

Local parent Adrian Johnson said she enjoyed the holiday events as well.

"I liked the parade, it was fun," she said.

Chad Blood, pastor at Lifeway Foursquare Church in Arlington, has helped organize the event for many years.

"This is one of the areas where we've been involved for 10 years now and it's been fun to watch it grow because we just love this holiday," he said.

"Our heart from the beginning of being in Arlington was how do we be a part of the community, how do we engage and go outside the walls of our church and love our community well," he said.

Blood said that the holiday season is when people remember what their priorities should be.

"It's one of those unique things that brings everyone together. In a world that seems so fragmented at times, when you have these things that bring people together I think it reminds people what matters most," he said.

This year included the new "Snowball Drop" where hundreds of ping pong balls were carried into the sky with the help of an Arlington Fire Department ladder engine and then dropped onto families waiting below.

The ping pong balls were numbered and redeemed for prizes.

Jennifer Holocker, executive director of the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce, said she was surprised how many people came down and participated.

"We sold out before we even dropped the balls," she said.

She hopes to make the event bigger next year after the popularity of this year's event and add another event to the Hometown Holidays roster.

"Like with the Fourth of July, if you have event after event down here you can keep people in the downtown," she said.

Local parent Lawly Yonesaka said she liked having a variety of things to enjoy in the downtown.

"I like that's it all central right here," she said.

Christopher Andersson

Santa Claus rides down Olympic Avenue as part of Arlington's Santa Parade on Dec. 3.

The Arlington Rotary also featured their new train as part of the event and gave rides to the public in the downtown.

The train is a still "a work in progress" said Paul Ellis, Rotary member and Arlington city administrator, but the train was able to give its first public rides as part of the event.

The city of Arlington has new holiday decorations and Mayor Barbara Tolbert wanted to thank "the staff that's just done such a fabulous job of making the downtown look festive this year," she said.

"They were really working hard for the last couple of weeks," she said.

Wagon rides will continue to be available for the next two Saturdays, Dec. 10 and 17, in the downtown area sponsored by the Downtown Arlington Business Association.


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