MILL CREEK, December 7, 2022—Approximately one thousand people gathered in the chilly snow-covered streets of Mill Creek last Saturday, December 3, to witness the City’s first Santa Parade and holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony since 2019.
The Santa Parade, hosted by the Mill Creek Town Center, kicked off the evening marching down Main Street from LA Fitness to City Hall. Santa Claus and his Elves led the parade, marching with community organizations including Cub Scout Chapters, Grizzlies Cheerleaders, Kiwanis, South County Fire, several local schools and their marching bands, and even Velociraptor dinosaurs.
After the parade the crowd gathered in front of Mill Creek City Hall to drink coffee and cocoa, eat cookies, listen to carols of famed Holiday favorites, take a photo with Santa, and listen to a few words by Mayor Brian Holtzclaw before the giant tree was ignited for the very first time this year.
“It’s amazing to have the crowds back after years off from COVID,” Martin Yanamoto, Deputy City Manager for the City of Mill Creek, told the Lynnwood Times. “As the years go on the events keep getting better and better.”
The Mill Creek Youth Advisory Board, an assembly of volunteers from local school in the area, acted as Santa’s elves for the evening, costumes and all, handing out Starbucks coffee, cocoa, and treats.
Even aside from taking years off from the pandemic Mill Creek’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and Santa Parade have both been a longstanding, annual, tradition for the city. The Festival of Trees, on the other hand, made its debut this year adding a fun, new, twist to Holidays in Mill Creek. Anyone passing through Mill Creek City Center until January 2 can see elaborate white vinyl trees and snow flurries as well as decorated store fronts. In addition to these displays, hiding in the storefronts, are four woodland creatures that, if found, can be scanned via QR code and submitted for a chance to win prizes.
This idea comes from Jody Hawkins, Communications and Marketing for the City of Mill Creek, who wanted to bring Holiday cheer back to the Mill Creek Town Square. Hawkins worked tirelessly with the Town Center Association to form a holiday committee, including Kiwanis Club of Mill Creek and the City’s Art and Beatification Board to add vinyl decorated storefronts to business in Mill Creek’s town square.
“One of the things we looked at, as a committee, was what could help bring traffic back to town center for the holidays,” Hawkins told the Lynnwood Times. “We had this idea for the festival of the trees, installing vinyl Christmas trees with the help of Key Club and the Youth Advisory Board. We just thought it would be really cool for the community to feel that volunteer energy.”
There’s Olive the Owl, Betula the Bunny, Sal the Squirrel, and Rata the Reindeer, all named after different types of trees Hawkins explained. For example, Betula is in the Betulaceae family and is commonly known as a birch tree.