This year, historic downtown Centralia will welcome thousands of tourists and shoppers to participate in festive events, shopping and dining this holiday season. This year’s theme? Twisted Traditions.
Here are some of the highlights of the revamped Hub City holiday offerings:
The 12th annual Lighted Tractor Parade is set to draw quite a crowd as usual, with 85 lighted floats confirmed so far and more welcome to enter until the parade is full to capacity at 90. A waitlist is also available in case floats drop out at the last minute.
Event Organizer Mandi McDougall is one of the founding members of the parade committee, which despite taking a year off during the pandemic has only grown.
“When I think about Twisted Traditions in relation to the tractor parade … When we started it we were really trying to figure out something that would fit the history of Centralia, so I think it kind of is our own twisted tradition, it kind of encompasses everything that Lewis County is about,“ said McDougall. “It’s definitely going to be a full 90+ entry parade this year, we only have about five spots left. We’re back in full force, rebounded from the pandemic.”
“I actually started the parade with Frank Monteleone and Michelle Moline back in 2010. We were sitting around in a friend's shop one night and trying to brainstorm. We were doing all the same old three or four holiday events every year and they hadn't been refreshed in a while, so we started looking at what other similar communities were doing that had worked well,” McDougall said. “Michelle came to us with this list of what other communities were doing and it just really felt right for Centralia. We had 13 entries for the first year and my family decorated and drove five of them, but it’s kind of snowballed since then.”
The Tree Lighting Ceremony is also getting a significant revamp for 2022. With updated and expanded lighting, a Santa photo opportunity, hot chocolate provided by Life Center, live musical performances and sing-along carols, the Centralia Downtown Association is excited to relaunch this event with new energy and offerings. Dawn’s Delectables and Sweet Dough Cookie Co will both graciously be on site to provide free cookies to event goers, double chocolate peppermint and cinnamon roll respectively, perfect compliments to hot cocoa. This traditional event is also getting a twist: the Grinch will be making a special appearance and will be available for photo bombing pictures with Santa.
“This year’s tree lighting is going to be a real treat,” said MacKenzie McGee, executive director of the Centralia Downtown Association. “You won’t want to miss out.”
Historic Downtown Centralia has already decked its halls with lights and garland strung up along Tower Avenue, Pearl Street and through Washington Square Park, but participating shop windows will soon be decorated in the Twisted Traditions theme for the annual window decoration competition. Judging for multiple twisted categories is set to take place on Dec. 1, with visitors encouraged to participate in voting for the People’s Choice Award via a QR Codes on posters in participating shop windows, to be announced Dec. 18.
Stocking Stuffer Saturday on Dec. 17 will feature a scavenger hunt, where visitors are encouraged to find a hidden pickle in participating stores to fill out a downtown passport, available to be picked up at any participating store location or at the Centralia Downtown Association office, located at 214 N. Tower Ave. A pickle on the shop window indicates business participation. Once a passport is complete, it can be turned in at the Centralia Downtown Association office for a chance at winning a gift basket full of fantastic downtown prizes. Each business will also, of course, be showcasing last minute stocking stuffer ideas.
“Downtown Centralia is brimming with holiday cheer,” said McGee. “We’re bringing fun, festive traditions to life with their own special twist. Be sure to shop local, support local and love local.”