Winterfest brings local holiday shopping to Sultan

Sky Valley style holiday shopping means unique, handcrafted items made by local artists and entrepreneurs, all sprinkled with live musical performances and activities for kids. It's Winterfest, and all are invited to attend.

Winterfest takes place 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Sultan High School. The Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce organizes the holiday craft fair, which features more than 60 different vendors spread throughout the commons area and the school gym.

There will be live music and dance performances throughout the day, a hot lunch and an hourly raffle to benefit the Volunteers of America (VOA) Sky Valley Resource Center.

It's the biggest raffle of the year, said volunteer event coordinator Elizabeth Emmons.

"We will announce over 60 winners throughout the day,GÇ¥ she said. "All money raised goes to the VOA Sky Valley Resource Center.GÇ¥

The chamber has partnered with Crosswater Community Church and Mountain Valley Chapel to provide free arts and crafts for kids and a bouncy house, and Santa Claus will be on hand for visits and photographs. Families that wish to give back to the community can sign up to sponsor a low-income Sky Valley child, helping to provide clothing and gifts to kids in need.-á

Entertainment includes the Gold Bar Elementary School choir 10 GÇô 10:30 a.m., musical performances by Sultan High School musicians 10:30 GÇô 12:30 p.m., dancers from Selena's Dance Academy 12:30-1:15 p.m., YMCA dancers 1:30 GÇô 2 p.m. and Gold Dust Royalty 2:15 GÇô 2:45 p.m. The Yule Tide Brass will finish out the day.

Philanthropic efforts are an annual part of Winterfest. Snohomish County Fire District No. 5 will be fundraising for the annual Big Climb for Leukemia event, which takes place in Seattle every March. Big Climb for Leukemia participants brave the narrow stairwell in the Columbia Tower in the name of charity, climbing 69 flights of stairs, which equals 1,311 steps. Two separate climb events are held each year; one for firefighters and another for anyone else who wishes to participate.

Firefighters dress in full firefighting gear while performing the Big Climb, which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Donations of non-perishable food items will be accepted at Winterfest for the VOA's Sultan Food Bank, and pet food donations will be accepted to support Pasado's Safe Haven animal sanctuary.

With each purchase at Winterfest, guests will be automatically entered to win an overnight ski and lodging package, good for a one-night accommodation at the Dutch Cup Hotel and two lift tickets valid at Stevens Pass. The winner of the ski package will be announced at the Sultan Tree Lighting Celebration, which starts 6 p.m. at the gazebo at River Park.

The Sultan Tree Lighting Celebration is the quintessential small town holiday celebration, complete with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who are escorted to the event every year by Snohomish County Fire District No. 5. The volunteer-driven holiday festival will feature Christmas caroling and free refreshments, including hot cider, hot chocolate and cookies.

Both Winterfest and the Sultan Tree Lighting Celebration are being sponsored by Teamsters Local Union No. 117. For more information about Winterfest, visitá

Snohomish County Fire District No. 5 firefighters Jeff Persons, Jeff Williams, Steve Tonkin and Jason Gwilt collected donations for the Big Climb for Leukemia during last yearGÇÖs Winterfest. Firefighters will be there again this year, collecting money for the 2016 Big Climb.


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