We Love Rainier is in the process of turning the city into “The Biggest Little Christmas Town” this year, as the group crafts city-wide holiday decorations and puts on a sleigh of events this December.
The event came to fruition to bring as much joy as possible to the little mountain town in a year that has been full of hardships.
Robbi Currey, with We Love Rainier, helped coordinate the festivities and said the group tries every year to create more festivities for the city than previous holiday seasons.
“This year is going to be a four-day event,” Currey said. “It’ll be jam-packed with all kinds of old-fashioned small-town Christmas (festivities).”
The first event will be Rainier’s annual tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2 in Holiday Park.
Santa and area children will hand out stockings made by the Prairie Points Quilt Guild to the kids. There will also be Christmas caroling, hot chocolate and cookies provided.
Tents will be erected in case it rains, so Currey said people can still come out, rain or shine.
The town center will be decorated for the season, and gingerbread-kid photo stands will be available for kids to stick their heads through and get selfies, she said.
A kid’s Christmas store will be available the next day, Dec. 3. Children can come and do their Christmas shopping from 3 to 7 p.m. at Rainier Chapel, 206 Binghampton St. S.E. All gifts will be offered for $10 and under.
Next, the first of two Rainier Holiday Gift Markets will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4 at Rainier Chapel.
People will have the opportunity to take a selfie with the Grinch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a stroll through town on a cookie crawl from noon to 2 p.m.
The Holiday Gift Market will conclude and will be followed by the 2021 Rainier Lantern Walk of Hope, which will begin at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. The walk will start behind the Rainier Chevron station.
Family and friends will get together to take a walk on the Yelm-Rainier-Tenino Trail toward Wilkowski Park while holding lanterns.
“There will be a bonfire there and what they do is, the participants get to write two lists,” Currey said. “One is of the things that happened this year that didn’t bring them joy and that they want to get rid of. That (list) they will throw in the bonfire, and the other list is for their hopes for the new year.”
Folks are encouraged to save their Halloween costumes and wear them again for the walk if they want. Hot drinks and cookies will be provided while celebrating the essence of the event.
Rainier’s second Holiday Gift Market will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18 at the Rainier Senior Center, 108 Michigan Ave. S. in Rainier.
Kids can enjoy a special story time with Santa at 1 p.m. and go on a kids scavenger hunt from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The city of Rainier is also doing their annual “Letters to Santa,” where kids can write their Christmas wish lists and drop them off at Rainier City Hall to be “mailed” to the North Pole.
And Rainier Chapel has a charity offering this year for families in need.
“Rainier Chapel will have a giving tree this year to help Santa provide for all of the little boys and girls whose (families) might need a hand with Christmas gifts,” Currey said.
The newly-restored Rainier Historical Zion Church will also have a Christmas display for the community to enjoy.
“There are several of us on the Christmas team and everybody has done such a great job making decorations and getting everything organized and put together so that we can do something this year,” Currey said. “And that includes the seniors at the senior center, because they helped us with some of our decorations.”
Trish Palmer is Currey’s co-organizer. Other community members who have helped make all the plans possible include Bruce Palmer, George Johnson, Mike Emmons, Victoria Cooper, Laura Immel, Tony Cox, Kevin Pettit, Bill Koutrouba, Angie Karnes and her Rainier High School floral class, as well as regulars at the Rainier Senior Center and more.
“All have worked very hard to make this year’s ‘Rainier Washington – The Biggest Little Christmas Town’ possible,” Currey said.
Ultimately, Currey said the festivities mean a lot to Rainier.
“We Love Rainier is all about bringing our community together, and providing the resources that its members need to thrive and enjoy life,” she said. “So it is our sincere hope that this year’s Christmas event will do just that and bring a sense of joy in everyone’s heart this holiday season.”
For more information, go online to www.WeLoveRainierWA.com or visit the group’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/weloverainierwa.