November 27, 2004

Plenty of Ways to Catch the Holiday Spirit

If you've awoken early from yesterday's turkey coma, then you must get yourself downtown for this morning's annual Bon-Macy's Holiday Parade. If you can't shake off the pumpkin pie hangover, you can always watch it live on KING/5.

The parade kicks off at 8:45 a.m. at Seventh Avenue and Pine Street and travels on Pine, Fifth Avenue, University Street and Fourth Avenue to Westlake Center, where it ends with Santa arriving. The Westlake Center tree will be lit at 5 p.m., followed by fireworks.

"This year we have more for children and families to do than ever before," says Anita Woo, communications director for the Downtown Seattle Association.

From "Ponies on Parade" to coloring activities, special events are happening all over downtown.

Pioneer Square's Occidental Park will have its own Christmas tree, a holiday-themed gallery walk with holiday music and carolers from 2 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 2, and an Outdoor Holiday Market from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 11.

Holiday music recorded by the Seattle Symphony will be played daily along University Street from Benaroya Hall to Harbor Steps. The Fruitcake Follies at Pike Place Market Dec. 3 features the World's Fruitiest Fruitcake bake-off and a fruitcake relay through the market. (Information:

Reindeer Games on the Waterfront are 2 to 5 p.m., Dec. 4. Pick up a passport from a participating waterfront merchant and find out where Rudolph and the other reindeer are hiding. Redeem your completed passport for a free photo with the waterfront's Nautical Santa. And yes, you'll even see two live reindeer. Stay for the tree lighting ceremony at Piers 55/56 at 4:50 p.m.

Westlake Center's Holiday Wonderland features the antique wooden carousel, with proceeds going to Northwest Center. Suggested donation is $2. Special events every weekend include ice sculpting, caroling, pony rides and classical music performances. .

Seattle Center's Winterfest runs today through Jan. 2, and features ice skating, a carousel, holiday train, concerts, cultural performances, storytelling and special events.

Winter Worldfest is a free showcase of cultural holiday traditions from around the world, today through Sunday. Worldfest performances include more than 300 musicians and performers, including: Irish dance, Japanese classical dance, folk and tribal dances from the Middle East and North Africa, Croatian dance, Russian folk and Gypsy music, and Tlingit songs and dances from Southeast Alaska.

Tonight, it's Balkanarama! (dance music from the Balkans) at 7 p.m.; tomorrow night is the Holiday Big Band Dance with The A Band from 8 to 11 p.m.

A few other Winterfest events: "SugarSnow: An Aerial Dance With Circus Contraption," 7:30 p.m., Dec. 29-30; World DessertFest satisfies your sweet tooth every Sunday in December from 1 to 2 p.m.; a World Storyfest for Kids, from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Dec. 21- 24, delights children with stories about China, Mexico, Africa and Native American cultures, told by local professional storytellers; Holiday Family Film Night presents "The Santa Clause" at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18; Winter Solstice Celebration at International Fountain, 4 p.m., Dec. 18-19, with storytelling, crafts, outdoor art installation and live performances; and Kwanzaa: An African- American Holiday Celebration, 2-4 p.m. Dec. 26.

Most events are free; the carousel costs $1, and the ice rink costs $7 for adults, $5 for children 5 and under; get $2 off if you bring your own skates. Bellevue's Magic Season opens tonight with Santa's Toyland Parade at 5:30 p.m. along Bellevue Square's West Drive. Costumed characters, stilt walkers, jump ropers and gymnasts will guide Santa to the Square's Center Court stage where he'll set up shop in Snowman Village. The annual tree lighting takes place in the Wintergarden at Bellevue Place at 7 p.m.

The highlight of the Magic Season is the annual ice arena in Downtown Park, where all the trees are lit and skaters glide right next to a waterfall.

The arena is open daily, today through Jan. 2 (closed Christmas Day). Tonight is a special family oriented "Old School Skate Night" from 8 to 11 p.m. Cost is $8 (includes skates, cash only).

Doree Armstrong is a Seattle-based freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected]