Festive fun for family and friends

“Come Home for the Holidays” is the theme for this year’s holiday festivities in Langley. And that means plenty of downtown jollification to get the whole family in a joyful spirit.

Langley merchants invite everyone to brighten the season with activities

“Come Home for the Holidays” is the theme for this year’s holiday festivities in Langley.

And that means plenty of downtown jollification to get the whole family in a joyful spirit.

The good merchants of the Village by the Sea have been working like Christmas elves to kick off what will surely be a most magical holiday season in downtown Langley.

Shopping, entertainment and great food are all being readied to create an experience with the sights, smells, sounds, joy, fantasy and winter sparkle that are sure to form an indelible picture in every island child’s memory of the holidays. And perhaps every adult’s, too.

The season bursts forth on Saturday, Nov. 24 with the annual Langley tree lighting ceremony and raffle at 4 p.m. in Langley Park. Santa will be on hand for a holiday sing-a-long.

More than $2,000 worth of items will be raffled off during the lighting ceremony. Raffle tickets are $2 each; pick them up at The Heron on First Street up until Thursday, Nov. 22.

Afterward, head up one block to Third and Anthes streets to the Langley United Methodist Church for the “Langley Holiday Hop” where a deliciously warming dinner will be served and live music follows for a great welcoming of the holiday season as everybody dances the night away.

A thousand snowflakes will shower dancers from the ceiling and a wonderful live Christmas tree will be adorned with special art work by the South Whidbey Island School District students.

The dinner and dance swing is from 5 to 9 p.m. just after the tree lighting ceremony.

Tickets are $5 per person and $10 per family or a donation of a new toy for Fire District 3’s charity for small children. But even without the entry fee, everyone will be welcome to come.

The lighting of Langley and holiday dinner/dance is always a treat, but the fun continues as 1 Angel Place, Chocolate Bar opens its doors to young gingerbread house architects and cookie makers. Join Mona

Newbauer at her chocolate bar from 2 to 4 p.m. every Sunday, Nov. 25 through Dec. 16, on Second Street in Langley for lots of holiday baking fun. Go the Website at www.islandangel

chocolates.com for info.

Two must-see holiday shows opening in November are “Twas the Night” running Nov. 23 through Dec. 9 at Whidbey Children’s Theater and “This Child” running Nov. 30 through Dec. 15 at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts.

December brings its very own month-long list of activities starting with the holiday parade in Langley at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. (Paraders will gather at the school district bus barn.)

Lots of surprises are in store for the children as Santa makes his way down First Street and then left on to Anthes Street in an old-fashioned fire truck following a motley-crew of colorful characters, cruisers and good ‘ol festive parade crashers.

After the parade, stroll over to the

U.S. Bank parking lot for a look at some vintage and high-tech automobiles, including a Model A, a Lotus and a Ferrari. Families can also take a ride in a tractor-pulled covered wagon to check out all the details of the decorated village, sponsored by the good folks of M Bar C Ranch. Donations for the rides will go to the ranch’s ongoing efforts with the Forgotten Children’s Fund.

From 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays between Dec. 1 and 15, young children will be treated to original seasonal stories read by the students of South Whidbey schools at the Langley Public Library.

Santa’s Photo Studio is open from

10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays Dec. 1 through Dec. 16 at Mike’s Place Creamery on the corner of First and Anthes Streets. It’s a photo op with Santa or Mrs. Claus in a living room setting with elves greeting children and handing out candy canes, hot mulled cider and hot chocolate. A fee will be charged by the photographer.

From Dec. 1 through Dec. 23, check out the Christmas Bazaar from noon to 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday next to city hall on Second Street in Langley. Twelve vendors from the delightful Bayview Saturday Market will share their special wares for the perfect holiday gifts.

The merchants of Langley are ever supportive of the ubiquitous art community in their midst and in a homage to the spirit of creativity this holiday season every door will be open from 5 to 8 p.m. during Art Walk’s first Saturday of the month Dec. 1 event. The ever-changing walls of the many art galleries in Langley are open the first Saturday of every month for Art Walk.

After a jammed-packed first day of December, the next day, Sunday, Dec. 2 features the famous Bed & Breakfast Tour and Taste. Owners deck the halls for the holidays while giving tourists a taste of the best recipes from the local bed-and-breakfast menus on the South End. Call 221-6765 for reservations and info.

Also on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. you can let that fresh winter air fill your family’s lungs at the 18th annual Winter Festival at South Whidbey Community Park. A festive afternoon of music, fire engine rides and refreshments help to ring in that holiday spirit at this free event in the park. Free digital photos are available of the kids with a special guest from the North Pole.

And don’t forget the most traditional event of the season.

On Friday, Dec. 7, Whidbey Island Dance Theatre opens its 15 annual production of “The Nutcracker,” a Christmas ballet that shows off the exquisite talents of the island’s only regional dance company. The ballet runs through Dec. 16. For tickets call 341-2221.

Two other holiday happenings are Whidbey Children’s Theater’s “Holiday Sing Along” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 on the Martha Murphy Mainstage. Tickets are $10. Call 221-2282 for info.

Another bit of holiday entertainment can be had at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts as they present “Noel, The Magic of Christmas in Concert” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18. This heart-warming, entertaining evening of words and music features harps, strings, flute, percussion and poetry. Go to www.WICAonline for tickets and info.

This holiday season is jam-packed with things to do, places to go and people to see on the South End. Plenty of local shopping will manage to enhance the island experience for all islanders. Shopping locally is the best way to keep the island marketplace healthy while having the added benefit of sharing the joy of the season in festivities with fellow community members and merchants.

For more info go to www.christmasinlangley.com.

Patricia Duff can be reached at 221-5300 or pduff@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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