Bridge lighting continues as Sumner holiday tradition

Sumner Downtown AssociationNovember 20, 2013 

’Tis the season ... to be kind, generous, giving, happy, grateful, thankful and filled with peace and good will toward all.

As we welcome in the holiday season, we contemplate how we might rediscover traditional joys of yuletide celebrations. Sumner has built on two such traditions that continue to grow each November and December. They not only have become a part of our tradition as a community, but many families have come to include them as well.

On Nov. 29, The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse will host the annual bridge lighting. It’s a 16-year-old tradition that began as a way to enhance the beautiful historic structure of the old bridge.

When the Cannery started the event, the bridge was covered in garland, red bows and 10,000 lights. The sounds of the holidays were played over a speaker system, and they played 24 hours a day. Community members would drive slowly across the bridge to take in the ambiance, the glow of the lights and their favorite Christmas songs, and it gave them that hometown Christmas feeling.

Fully funded by The Old Cannery, there became a need for sponsorship to help with the increasing cost of putting on such an event. Heritage Bank quickly stepped up, and it did so until just this year. Sunset Chevrolet and Columbia Bank now assume that role.

In 2007, fireworks were added. Eventually, The Old Cannery welcomed craft vendors, food vendors and lots of carols singers.

The emcee portion has been supported by Shelley Schlumpf of the Puyallup Sumner Chamber of Commerce. In partnership with Schlumpf, Brant Butte has become a big part as the co-emcee.

Don’t forget there will be hot cocoa and coffee and between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and free Santa photos. The bridge lighting will begin at 5 p.m., followed by fireworks.

Come early to shop the vendors in The Old Cannery parking lot, and warm your toes by the firepits between 2 and 7 p.m.

The many merchants of downtown Sumner will be open to welcome you, and you’ll be certain to find a special gift for that special someone.

On Dec. 7, the Sumner Downtown Association will host its annual Santa Parade beginning at 3:30 p.m. We’ll start a little later this year so attendees can enjoy the lighted parade entrees and floats.

Those who are interested in entering the parade can call the Puyallup Main Street Association at 253-840-2631 for applications. Free Santa photos will be offered in the gazebo at Heritage Park between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Those who want to have their photos taken are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Sumner Community Food Bank. At this time of year, and with the economy still not strong, we need to open our hearts to those less fortunate.

After the parade, you can head over to the Ryan House, where the historical society will have a tree lighting. You can feast on cookies and warm up with some hot cider as the countdown takes place. It’s a great way to end the day.

As you begin to plan for your holiday activities, don’t forget the two best in downtown Sumner. Wrap up warm, gather your family, and welcome in the holidays — Sumner style.

Laurie Miller is the program manager for the Sumner Downtown Association.

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