Downtown Leavenworth Illuminates the Night during Countdown to Christmas Celebration

Author: Lauren Ross


Situated in the upper northwest corner of the United States is the city of Leavenworth, Washington, a beautiful town surrounded by the North Cascade Mountains. Leavenworth, which is modeled after a Bavarian village, holds the honor of being one of the most Christmas-loving towns in the United States. In 2009, USA Today dubbed Leavenworth the “Ultimate Holiday Town” because of their remarkable countdown to Christmas festival.

Friday, December 5th –Sunday, December 7th marks the first official weekend of a 3 weekend Christmas Lighting Festival. These weekend events are filled with fun holiday activities including live music, festive food and beverages, half a million twinkle lights, and visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus. The 48th Annual Christmas Lighting Festival is a classic event when residents and out of-town folks come together to witness the illumination of the downtown village while celebrating the arrival of the holidays. On Fridays, be there to hear the sweet sounds of holiday music sung by carolers in the grand gazebo while waiting for the arrival of Saint Nikolaus in his horse-drawn carriage bringing “gold” to the good children of Leavenworth.

On Saturday and Sunday, people line the streets for the Santa Parade and are encouraged to participate in the themed event. December 6-7 is “make your own Christmas tree hat”, December 13-14 is “break out your ugly Christmas sweater”, and December 20-21 is “dress as Santa’s elf.” Enjoy the live music melodies from a hand bell choir or watch snippets of the famous “The Nutcracker” on Front Street while sipping on some spiced wine from the Gluhwein Tent. The Front Street Park is a great place to take the kids sledding and then you can meander over to Leavenworth River Front Park for a guided “Winter Wonderland Walk” tour to learn about Washington’s winter “wild” side.

The Leavenworth library will hold a Christmas Story Corner each Saturday where a classic Christmas book will be read to the children at 1:30 and 2:15 pm. To satisfy those sweet cravings, make sure to check out the Cookie Crawl. This cookie scavenger hunt allows kids to collect homemade cookies by following the “Cookie Crawl” map! For the grand finale, every Saturday and Sunday evening at 4:30 is the Christmas Lighting Ceremony where townspeople wait for the illumination of the downtown area. Santa and his elves along with a few other characters, make their way to center stage to kick-off the Christmas countdown.  It’s no wonder that the town of Leavenworth has earned noteworthy titles of being in the most Christmas spirit! For more info on the Christmas Lighting weekend events and dates of activities mentioned above, you can click here. It sure sounds like a very Merry Leavenworth Christmas to me!

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