March to Christmas is on: Tree lighting in Centralia marks advance of holiday season

Centralia Downtown Association events encourage shoppers to stay local


The Centralia Downtown Association (CDA) wasted no time moving on to Christmas after Thanksgiving was over. 

On Friday, the CDA hosted the annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in George Washington Park, attracting a large crowd that enjoyed music, lights, a visit from Santa Claus, and more.

And the CDA is just getting started on its holiday offerings.  

To support Centrala’s local businesses this holiday season, the CDA is holding events every weekend through Christmas Day. 

Starting Friday, Dec. 1, participating businesses in downtown Centralia will extend their hours, staying open until 8 p.m. every Friday through Dec. 22. Select businesses will stay open until midnight following the Lighted Tractor Parade on Saturday, Dec. 9; and select businesses will open at 6 a.m. for “Early Bird specials” on Saturday, Dec. 2. 

Anyone interested in caroling in downtown Centralia is encouraged to join “like-minded holiday lovers” at Pine Street Plaza at 5 p.m. on Fridays through Dec. 22 to “fill the streets with holiday goodness,” the CDA announced on its Facebook page. These caroling sessions are open to anyone who would like to participate. 

Formal groups of carolers are signed up to spread holiday cheer throughout downtown Centralia on Saturdays through Dec. 23. The Two Town Tuners performed Nov. 25, All Call performs Dec. 1, and Callie Bissonette performs Dec. 9. 

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.           

every Saturday through Dec. 23, holiday shoppers in downtown Centralia can have their gifts wrapped by volunteers at the Centralia Downtown Association office, located at 214 N. Tower Ave. Gift wrapping is by donation, with all of the proceeds going to the volunteer partner organizations, according to the CDA. 

“We'd love it if your gifts are purchased from downtown businesses, but it's not a requirement to support our partner organizations,” the CDA said in an event description on Facebook. 

Girl Scout Troop 41050 wrapped gifts Nov. 25; Twin Cities Sertoma volunteers will wrap gifts Dec. 2; United Way of Lewis County will wrap gifts on Dec. 9; the Centralia High School Class of 2024 will wrap gifts on Dec. 16; and the Order of the Eastern Star will wrap gifts on Dec. 23. 

Participating businesses will collect new toy donations from shoppers on Sunday, Dec. 17 as part of a “Stocking Stuffer Sunday” event. The CDA will collect the toy donations after closing on Dec. 17 and distribute them to kids in need before Christmas. 

For more information on holiday events and deals in downtown Centralia, visit or  

Here’s a roundup of additional holiday events — and others — scheduled through the end of December. To have an event added to this roundup, send details to 


Evening with the Authors

Dec. 1 at the Lewis County Historical Museum, 599 NW Front St., Chehalis; 5 to 8 p.m.

Free to attend, join nine local authors (and possibly more) at the Lewis County Historical Museum for its annual Evening with the Authors event to buy books and have them signed by the authors. The nine authors include Jan Pierson, Carol Waltz, Jack Bowers, Buddy Rose, Kerry Serl, Julie Zander, Sara Light-Waller, Gretchen Staebler and Steven Craig. Light refreshments and drinks will be available, and admission to the museum is free as well. 


Residential Christmas decoration contest

Dec. 1-8 throughout Mineral

The Northeast Lewis County town of Mineral every year hosts a contest for the home with the best Christmas decorations. Sign up with the Mineral Lake Lions Club or the American Legion post to participate. Winners will be announced at the Dec. 9 tree-lighting event.


Mineral Christmas Lions/Legion building decoration party

Dec. 2 outside 104 E. Front St., Mineral; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All are invited to join in on decorating the Mineral American Legion post for upcoming Christmas festivities. Snacks and warm beverages will be readily available to keep everyone fueled and motivated.


Keiper’s Card Show and Norm Johnson autograph session 

Dec 2 and 3 at the Tower Plaza Mall, 320 N. Tower Ave., Centralia; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 3

With more than 20 vendors, Keiper’s Cards is hosting its second card show. Aside from cards, memorabilia and collectable toys, former Seattle Seahawks kicker Norm Johnson, aka “Mr. Automatic,” will be at the show signing autographs for $10 a piece on Dec. 2 from noon to 2 p.m. Additionally, W.F. West baseball start and New York Mets pitching prospect Dakota Hawkins will be at the show on both days. Those who bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the United Way of Lewis County’s Shop with a Cop event will receive 50% off their first autograph. 


73rd annual Santa Parade 

Dec. 2 in downtown Chehalis; 11 a.m.

The Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce hosts this parade on the first Saturday of December each year. Santa, of course, will be there. Register for the parade online at or call 360-748-8885.


Westminster Bell Choir

Dec. 2 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 349 N. Market Blvd., Chehalis at 7 p.m.; Dec. 3 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 349 N. Market Blvd., Chehalis at 3 p.m.; and Dec. 3 at Harrison Square Presbyterian Church, 1227 Harrison Ave., Centralia at 7 p.m.

These concerts are free, but at-will donations will go toward the guardian ad-litem program, Guardian Friends of Lewis County. 


Downtown Centralia Christmas celebrations

Dec. 2 and 3 at the Lewis & Clark Hotel, 117 W. Magnolia St., Centralia; Times to be announced

Join the Centralia Downtown Festivals Association for a holiday market featuring a wide variety of vendors from around the area. Past years have included visits from Santa, the Grinch and reindeer. Learn more on Facebook at "Centralia Downtown Festivals Association."


Centralia Ballet Academy performs The Nutcracker

Dec. 2 and 3 at Corbet Theater, 600 Centralia College Blvd., Centralia; 2 and 7 p.m. on Dec. 2; 1 and 5 p.m. on Dec. 3

“Join Clara on a special dream-like journey” during a full-length production of this holiday classic, the ballet academy said. Tickets are available online at and cost $20 for children, students and seniors, and $25 for adults.


$20 match day

Dec. 9 throughout Lewis County; all day

Two anonymous donors will match donations to the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign throughout the day on Dec. 9. The Centralia and Twin Cities Rotary clubs will also be competing in “Rotary Ring” on the same day, vying for the highest earning club.


Breakfast with Santa

Dec. 9 at Moose Family Center, 1400 Grand Ave., Centralia; 8 to 11 a.m.

Pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, applesauce, juice, coffee and hot chocolate will be served at this fundraiser for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Santa will arrive at 8:30 a.m. Suggested donation for adults is $7, children ages 4 through 12, $4. Free for kids under 3. Bring your own camera.


Lighted Tractor Parade

Dec. 9 in downtown Centralia; 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Tractors of all shapes and sizes will light up the streets of Centralia in this family-favorite holiday festival. This year, the 14th annual Lighted Tractor Parade, will feature more than 90 floats. 

Learn more about the parade and sponsorship of the event at


Midnight Madness

Dec. 9 in downtown Centralia; until 12 a.m.

After the parade, select businesses will stay open until midnight for shopping as music and vendors fill Pine Street Plaza following the parade.


Christmas tree lighting

Dec. 9 in Mineral

Attendees are likely to see Santa during this Christmas tree lighting event, which will feature an “array of delightful treats,” according to organizers. Look for more details on this event on Facebook on the Lions, Legion and Mineral Fire pages or at


Southwest Washington Dance Center performs The Nutcracker

Dec. 14-17 at Corbet Theater, 600 Centralia College Blvd., Centralia; showtimes vary

The Southwest Washington Dance Center each year hosts an ensemble of more than 80 local dancers of various ages to perform Tchaikovsky’s Christmastime classic ballet.

Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 and 15, with a “pay what you can” admission for the former. On Dec. 16, performances will commence at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and on Dec. 17, dancers will take the stage at 1 and 5:30 p.m.

Tickets cost $25 for adults and $18 for seniors (age 62 and older), children and active duty members. There is a livestream available to watch online for $20 for performances on Dec. 16.

Learn more at


Benefit spaghetti dinner for Bucoda Mayor Rob Gordon

Dec. 17 at the Bucoda Town Hall and Community Center, 101A E. Seventh St., Bucoda; 3 p.m.

Join multiple International Order of Odd Fellows lodges as they host a benefit spaghetti dinner for Bucoda Mayor Rob Gordon who was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer. Spaghetti, garlic bread, salad, punch and coffee will be served and cost to attend the benefit is $15 per person, or $40 for a family of four, with each additional family member costing $15. All proceeds benefit Gordon and his family. 


Stocking-Stuffer Sunday

Dec. 17 in downtown Centralia; regular business hours

Select businesses will host donation locations for Toys for Tots, with businesses featuring gift suggestions. Drop off gift donations by 6 p.m. so they can be distributed before Christmas. Event subject to business participation. 


Salvation Army toy drive distribution

Dec. 19 (and possibly Dec. 20) at the Salvation Army at 303 N. Gold St., Centralia; throughout the day

In partnership with Toys for Tots and other community partners The Salvation Army will distribute toys to over 400 Lewis County children all day.


Voetberg Family Band

Dec. 21-22 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 23 at 2 p.m. at Corbet Theater, 600 Centralia College Blvd.

The Voetberg family, of Centralia, performs on string instruments in this annual Christmas concert. Tickets are $10 for this event and can be purchased at Fiddlers Coffee or Lap-sitters can attend free of charge.


Offut Lake Resort Polar Plunge

Jan. 1 at the Lady of the Lake Public House, 4005 120th Ave. SE, Tenino; 9 a.m.

Ring in the new year with a dive into the frigid waters of Offut Lake north of Tenino as the Offut Lake Resort hosts its annual Polar Plunge event. Breakfast will be available to purchase at the Lady of the Lake Public House starting at 9 a.m., with the plunge itself happening at 10 a.m. 

Donations given at the event benefit Bucoda Mayor Rob Gordon, who was recently diagnosed with stomach cancer, and his family.