Warm hearts on a cold night: Valley cities come together for Christmas Tree celebrations | Photo Gallery

A crowd gathers in Railroad Park to await the arrival of Santa by fire truck, on a chilly but merry Tree Lighting Festival Saturday, Dec. 7. - Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
A crowd gathers in Railroad Park to await the arrival of Santa by fire truck, on a chilly but merry Tree Lighting Festival Saturday, Dec. 7.
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

Bundled against the chill, youngsters and the young at heart gathered as night fell Saturday, Dec. 7, to welcome the Christmas season in Snoqualmie and North Bend.

Both cities held their annual Christmas Tree Lighting parties early Saturday evening. The temperatures had dipped into the 20s, but visitors kept warm with cups of cider in Snoqualmie, or by ducking into the art exhibits downtown, while bonfires warmed hands in downtown North Bend, as faux snow settled over a crowd watching local dance, song and unicycle performances.

Snoqualmie's Santa arrived by fire truck to count down the lighting of the tree, then met hundreds of kids in the Railroad Park gazebo. Local choirs and musicians played and sang.

In North Bend, Santa lit the tree, then repaired to the fireside lounge at Boxley's, where he conferred with children of all ages, listening to their Christmas wishes and sometimes relating his elven knowledge of their school principals

More holiday events follow next weekend, including a Mount Si Lutheran Christmas concert and a Santa visit at the North Bend Moose Lodge.




Sister and brother Shane and Elizabeth Dowling ready for their Snoqualmie Valley Unicycle Team performance in front of a North Bend bonfire. Below, the team in action.

The Veils of the Nile give an afternoon holiday performance in North Bend. Photo by Kristin Tetúan.

Youthful dancers groove in North Bend Saturday. Photo by Kristin Tetúan.

June Severide, 1, of North Bend, reaches for a candy cane on the North Bend town Christmas tree.

Light shines from one of the North Bend gingerbread house contest entries.

Above, a well-iced Gingerbread church. Below, North Bend Theater in pastry form.

You're never too old for Santa: Sidney Aspinall, Jackie Stone, Samantha Markley and Megan Simpson visit the North Bend Santa, and learn that Santa remembers their principal, Marty Barber, when he was younger.

Downtown North Bend, dressed for the season.

Heather Reed drives Bonnie and Belle, draft Belgians, during holiday wagon rides in Snoqualmie.

Brendan Boyle, 5, with his sister Natalie, behind him, get up close with a Belgian horse, part of a draft team owned by Wayne and Marcy Buckner of Fall City. Wagon rides are provided by Carmichael's True Value Hardware in Snoqualmie.

The Buckner wagon pulls up next to the Snoqualmie Railroad Depot.

A student choir sings carols at Railroad Park.

Children watch as Santa arrives via fire truck at Snoqualmie's Railroad Park, below.

Ilyse Treptow counts down to the lighting of the city's Christmas tree.

Santa steps down from a platform after helping light the city Christmas tree.

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