Santa arrived in a fire truck Friday evening to the tree-lighting ceremony in Washington Park in downtown Centralia to officially kick off the Christmas season. The crowd of festively dressed people of all ages excitedly counted down from ten to one until the park was lit up with colorful lights and Christmas cheer. 

About 120 people attended the event Friday, which featured songs and hot cider and cookies provided by the city of Centralia and coffee provided by Santa Lucia Coffee Company. There were also red and green glow sticks for the kids. 

“It’s my pleasure to officially open the 2019 Christmas Lighting Ceremony for Centralia, Washington,” said Mayor Pro-tem Max Vogt addressing the crowd. 

The gazebo in Washington Park acted as the stage for the performers. Rick Stockdale was the master of ceremonies as well as a music performer, singing “Silent Night” and “A Christmas Song” with Shawn Peters. Miss Lewis County, Rebecca Ford, was in attendance and sang “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” Hilary Hull and Bailey Peters sang “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

Santa arrived on a fire truck while the crowd sang “White Christmas.” At the conclusion of the sing-along medley, children formed a line to leading up to the gazebo where Santa was seated to take a picture with him and get a candy cane. 

As attendees entered the park, packs of hot chocolate mix and a candy canes were handed out by a representative from Centralia Bible Baptist Church. Some people brought their dogs and a few dogs were wearing festive outfits and bowties. People of all ages danced to the classic Christmas songs and munched on Christmas cookies under the colorful lights hanging in the air and on the trees. 

Mayor Pro-tem of the city of Centralia, Max Vogt, gave a holiday greeting and told the crowd about all of the upcoming holiday events. The Borst Park Drive-Thru Light Display from Dec. 6 through Dec. 25. The Lighted Tractor Parade on Saturday Dec. 14. 

Centralia Downtown Festivals Association Events including an open house at Central Park featuring a visit from Santa on Dec. 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a Christmas Market at the Historic Train Depot with food, music, local shopping and Santa on Saturday Dec. 14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vogt also talked about the two different performances of the Nutcracker. One at the Corbet Theater at Centralia College put on for the 24th year by the Southwest Washington Dance Center. The Liberty Theater at Bethel Church will also be putting on a performance of The Nutcracker. 

Corbet Theater: Dec. 13 (7:30) Dec. 14 (2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) Dec. 15 (1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. For ticket info call SWW Dance Center 360-748-4789 or visit

Liberty Theater: Dec. 7 and 14 (2 p.m.) Dec. 6, 7, and 13 (7 p.m.) and a narrated version Dec. 12 (6 p.m.). For ticket info call 360-623-9010. 

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