Mike and Ester De Weese of Sequim help each other wrap a tree branch in Christmas lights on Nov. 13 by 1st Security Bank. They typically help fellow volunteer Captain-Crystal Stout and the Dreamcatcher Balloon program, and wanted to help her decorate downtown, too. Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash

Mike and Ester De Weese of Sequim help each other wrap a tree branch in Christmas lights on Nov. 13 by 1st Security Bank. They typically help fellow volunteer Captain-Crystal Stout and the Dreamcatcher Balloon program, and wanted to help her decorate downtown, too. Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash

Community donates funds to keep downtown tree a tradition

Home Town Holidays set for Nov. 27

Thanks to the community’s generosity and a perpetual group of volunteers, Sequim’s downtown Christmas tree is its biggest yet.

A local crew helped transport a 40-foot tree from Bacon Christmas Tree Farm in Bremerton last Friday to Centennial Plaza on the northeast corner of Sequim Avenue and Washington Street.

The purchase came together with help from the Sequim Merchant Group, who sought donations to pay for the tree after volunteer-stalwarts Emily Westcott and Captain-Crystal Stout were unable to find a suitable tree for the annual tradition.

Instead, via the Choose Local Sequim Facebook page, donors raised a little more than $1,500 to help make the purchase.

“It touched my heart,” Stout said last Saturday while decorating the tree. “We struggle each year to find the right resources.”

She and Westcott sought a tree for more than two months to no avail, and found one hopeful but it needed a lot of work, Stout said.

Susan Baritelle, owner of Dungeness Kids Co., said she and fellow business owners and community members “felt there was a need” so they stepped up.

“It’s 100 percent funded by the community,” she said.

Baritelle and her son Brayden volunteered to place lights in downtown Sequim last Saturday with about a dozen locals, too.

“All of this (decorating) is volunteer,” she said. “I’m not sure if a lot of people know that or not.”

Jennifer Sitton of Sequim volunteered to put up lights downtown for the first time saying she “wanted to be part of the festivities and make something beautiful for all the people to see.”

Stout said the tree is the biggest ever at 40 feet with its trunk going about 5 feet into the ground.

She planned to inspect the tree for a few more nights to look for missed spots, she said.

Westcott said they have some more decorating to do, including 1st Security Bank, the front of Pioneer Memorial Park and a few other spots downtown.

She said new lights are partially paid each year for by the City of Sequim, local banks, and some proceeds from annual flower baskets. Accurate Angle Crane helped transport and place the tree, while The Home Depot donated a lift, and Rainshadow Coffee donated coffee and hot cocoa for volunteers.

Stout said they may consider another purchase from the Bremerton tree farm next year, and if so they’ll seek about $1,600 in community donations.

Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Home Town Holidays

Home Town Holidays returns to downtown on Saturday, Nov. 27 with an afternoon and evening of activities.

Festivities tentatively kick off at 1 p.m. with the Sequim Community Orchestra playing by the downtown tree. Hot cocoa and apple cider will be available, and local Cub Scouts will offer wreaths for sale.

Santa Claus and the Sequim Irrigation Festival royalty ride from the Sequim Village Shopping Center via a fire engine to downtown at 1:30 p.m.

Once downtown, they’ll be available for photos with the public from 2-4 p.m.

Organizers note that participants will need to take their own photos.

At 4 p.m. Santa will sing, and from 4-4:45 p.m., locals can guess how many lights are on the tree for a chance at prizes.

At 4:45 p.m., Stout and Westcott will light the tree and announce the contest winner.

Sequim Museum and Arts hosts its Tractor Cruise starting at 5 p.m., with staging at the Sequim High School Parking lot, 601 N. Sequim Ave.

From there, tractors (with required safety triangles) ride south to Washington Street and head west to Mariner Cafe, 609 W. Washington St.

For more information about the overall event, contact the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce at ​​360-683-6197, or visit sequimchamber.com.

For more about the tractor parade, call 360-681-2257 or visit sequimmuseum.com.

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Kristian Mingoy, 17, with Sequim High’s Interact Club and National Honor Society, helps place Christmas tree lights next to 1st Security Bank as part of the volunteer tree lighting crew.

Kristian Mingoy, 17, with Sequim High’s Interact Club and National Honor Society, helps place Christmas tree lights next to 1st Security Bank as part of the volunteer tree lighting crew.

Carol Howard, left, and Jennifer Sitton, both of Sequim, string lights on Nov. 13 in downtown Sequim. Sitton said she “wanted to be part of the festivities and make something beautiful for all the people to see.”

Carol Howard, left, and Jennifer Sitton, both of Sequim, string lights on Nov. 13 in downtown Sequim. Sitton said she “wanted to be part of the festivities and make something beautiful for all the people to see.”

Paula Clark wraps lights around Sequim’s downtown Christmas tree. She’s helped fellow volunteer Captain-Crystal Stout for about seven years with decorating downtown, she said. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Paula Clark wraps lights around Sequim’s downtown Christmas tree. She’s helped fellow volunteer Captain-Crystal Stout for about seven years with decorating downtown, she said. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Downtown decorating co-coordinator Emily Westcott points volunteers toward their next tree on Nov. 13. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Downtown decorating co-coordinator Emily Westcott points volunteers toward their next tree on Nov. 13. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Susan Baritelle and her son Brayden, 10, work with Emily Westcott to wrap lights around trees and bushes in downtown Sequim. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Susan Baritelle and her son Brayden, 10, work with Emily Westcott to wrap lights around trees and bushes in downtown Sequim. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

At 40 feet tall, the downtown Christmas tree is Sequim’s largest installation in at least a decade, organizers said on Nov. 13.

At 40 feet tall, the downtown Christmas tree is Sequim’s largest installation in at least a decade, organizers said on Nov. 13.

Brian St. Ours helps wrap lights around Sequim’s 40-foot Christmas tree in downtown on Nov. 13. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Brian St. Ours helps wrap lights around Sequim’s 40-foot Christmas tree in downtown on Nov. 13. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Captain-Crystal Stout waves from the top of Sequim’s 40-foot Christmas tree on Nov. 13. She said community members donated more than $1,500 to help cover the cost of purchasing the tree. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

Captain-Crystal Stout waves from the top of Sequim’s 40-foot Christmas tree on Nov. 13. She said community members donated more than $1,500 to help cover the cost of purchasing the tree. Sequim Gazette photo by Matthew Nash

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