For more than 25 years, Sumner has celebrated the start of Christmas with a parade that includes everything from marching bands and dance groups to community floats and Santa Claus.
“It’s a great time for the community to come together and celebrate the season,” Mayor Dave Enslow said. “The richness of small town America is happening here.”
Enslow, along with Sumner City Council members, rode atop an original 1932 Kenworth fire truck, the first apparatus Kenworth manufactured. Decorations were provided by East Pierce Fire and Rescue Capt. Chuck King.
A featured band was from White River High School, led by director Rich Kuntzelman.
“The Sumner parade is nice because it’s close to home so we can make a good impression,” Kuntzelman said. “There is a lot of energy and a lot of fun in the parade.”
One entry was the Northwest Small Equine Club. Members from across the Northwest visited the Sumner Santa Parade with their miniature horse companion in tow. The animals grow to be as much as 300 pounds but only reach 28 to 32 inches tall.
Becki Belcher, 70, who lives in Graham, brought her 16-year-old miniature male horse, Jay.
“We like that the parade has a small-town atmosphere and welcomes anyone from the community to be in the parade,” Belcher said. “We hope to advance people’s knowledge about miniature horses and that they make good pets for people of all ages.”
Terry Flippin, chair of the Sumner Santa Parade, has been coordinating the program for 20-plus years.
“We usually have about 65 entries,” Flippin said. “We try to make it a lighthearted event. We try to encourage that floats have lights and music.
“My favorite part of the parade is the staging area, because you get the people that are all excited to get going,” Flippin said. “They are talking and having a good time. It’s a lot of fun, and we usually have good weather for this.”
The weather was chilly Saturday afternoon, but the sky was clear. The parade started at 3:30 p.m.
“We moved our parade to start an hour later, so hopefully by the time the floats come down, you’ll be able to enjoy the lights on the floats,” said Laurie Miller, program manager for the Sumner Downtown Association. “It will be just dark enough.”
Since 2010, Trever Waltos, 44, has performed as Santa Claus. Waltos, who believes in being a fit Santa, adds a little padding to fill himself out and bleaches his beard white.
“Santa Trever is a pretty sharp-looking Santa,” Flippin said.
“The thing that is so fun about him is he has his own school-age children,” Miller said.
Waltos traveled through the parade route on the Sumner Downtown Association float. Alongside him was his 9-year-old daughter, Sarah.
“This is the second year for her being my elf,” Waltos said. “She will walk next to the float and give out stickers as she goes along.”
Waltos, a 1988 Sumner High School graduate, said he enjoys giving back to the community where he was raised.
Throughout childhood, Waltos remembers Christmas being very special in his family.
“Santa Claus came to us on Christmas Eve with a traditional Polish dinner,” he said. “As far as I knew, I was the only one who got to see Santa on Christmas Eve. I grew up having a love for Santa, and at some point in my life, I wanted to share that with others.”
Later, when he realized Santa Claus on Christmas Eve was, in fact, his Uncle Bob, he said he still continued to believe in Santa.
“I take the character of Santa very seriously,” Waltos said.
Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.