It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year. Celebrate the holidays on South Whidbey — and other areas of the island — with a plethora of events, from tree lightings to parades to markets.
Get some early shopping done at Country Christmas at the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 24-26 and Dec. 1-3 in the Coffman Building. Find all sorts of unique gifts, art and collectibles. The first 50 purchasers will receive their choice of a Whidbey Island handmade gift, valued at $20 or more. Cookies, coffee, hot chocolate and a children’s craft table will be available.
The Village by the Sea kicks off the holiday season with the Lighting of Langley at 4 p.m. on Nov. 25. Stop by Langley Park – at the intersection of Second Street and Anthes Avenue – to sing some carols and catch a glimpse of Santa Claus himself. As the sun sets, the lights on the tree will come to life. Plenty of candy canes and hot cocoa will be available.
Make a holiday wreath from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 at Venture Out Nursery with Tobey Nelson. This make and take session is $75 per person. Attendees will receive a coupon for 20% off décor and plants at the class, and light refreshments will be served. To register, call 360-321-9931 or visit ventureoutnursery.com. The nursery is located at 3693 Scriven Lane.
Dec. 2 is a busy day for Langley, with the return of the annual Holly Jolly Parade to First and Second streets. Starting at 11 a.m., musicians, service and youth groups, pets, families and floats will march in the parade.
After the parade, head over to the Turner Building on the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds for Holiday at Hogwarts, which runs from noon to 5 p.m. Wear your favorite costume to this free and family-friendly event, which will have hot chocolate, sweet treats and gift shopping available. Whidbey Ren Faire will be hosting wand-making activities for children, and Whidbey Island Music Portal is bringing Krampus!
South Whidbey residents won’t want to miss seeing this year’s “The Nutcracker,” which plays at 7 p.m. on Dec. 8, 15, 16 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17. All performances are at the South Whidbey High School. Tickets are $28 for adults, $24 for seniors/military and $18 for youths 17 and younger.
Seabiscuit Bakery is hosting its second annual Holiday Market in the woods from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 17. Sip on warm beverages, nosh on savory bites and sweets and shop one-of-a-kind gifts from local makers. Browse a curated selection of jewelry, gifts made with repurposed materials, woodwork, tea, hand-forged knives, pottery, soaps, candles, textiles, leather craft, food, cider, mead and much, much more – all from local artists, makers and producers. The bakery is located at 3228 Lake Leo Way.
The Bayview Cash Store Hub Gallery’s “Art for All: $100 and Under Show” runs until the new year. Work from more than 35 local artists and artisans will be featured during this time. Come find the perfect holiday gift for your art-loving friends.
The Bayview Farmers Market will be hosting its Winter Wonderland Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 25, Dec. 2 and 9 at Bayview Hall. Plenty of holiday fun, gifts, food, wreaths, trees and a photo booth will be there.
Come on out to the South Whidbey Tilth Holiday Market from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 26. Located at 2812 Thompson Road, this market boasts produce, baked goods, live music, gifts and popcorn popping on an open fire. Local author Katherine Pryor will read “Home is Calling: The Journey of the Monarch Butterfly.” Music will be provided by Don Boram as Elvish Presley.
The Giving Tree will return to the Bayview Cash Store on Dec. 1. An annual tradition, the tree is decorated with handcrafted ornaments made by staff and volunteers of Whidbey Island nonprofits. Proceeds from the purchase go directly to the nonprofits that made the ornaments.
Visit Cascadia Meadows at the Little Brown Church, located at 7027 Maxwelton Road, to see this year’s holiday model train exhibition from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 2-3 and 9-10. Experience 2,000 square feet of model trains from PNW On30 Modular Group while enjoying hot chocolate and other sweet treats. Santa plans to make an appearance on Dec. 10. Bring a cash donation or canned goods for Good Cheer Food Bank.
The Clinton Arts District is hosting a grand opening from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 2. Visit the four galleries and studios opening their doors, located at the Clinton Mall at 4777 Commercial St. Grab some hot food and cider and check out the work by some talented artists. Caroling will take place between 2 and 3 p.m.
Catch the Clinton Holiday Market at the Clinton Community Hall from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 3. Santa arrives at 11 a.m. on both days. There will be 25 vendors present, as well as holiday treats. The event is located at 6411 Central Ave.
Critters & Co. Pet Center and Rescue and Pickles Deli are planning a “Pets and Pickles” Christmas party at 4-7 p.m. on Dec. 9 at Ken’s Korner. The Ross-a-Conn Band will provide entertainment. Participate in raffles and get a photo with Santa in a winter wonderland. All proceeds will benefit the pet store’s rescue operation and the deli’s Island Fund, which provides free sandwiches to people who cannot afford one.
Drop by Clinton Community Hall between 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 13 to make a gingerbread house, train, yurt or other structure. Free for all while supplies last. No registration needed. This event is sponsored by the Sno-Isle Libraries.
Whidbey Clay Center, located at 1664 Main Street, will be featuring the handmade ceramics of more than 25 artists at the annual Holiday Pottery Sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 25. Attendees gain early bird access to register for winter 2024 classes at the Whidbey Clay Center.
Freeland is planning its own tree lighting this year. Attend the first annual holiday tree lighting at 4 p.m. on Nov. 26 at 1675 Main Street. There will be caroling, hot cocoa, mini doughnuts, a food drive and other fun activities.
That same day, join Dancing Fish Vineyards for a lighting of the vines to welcome the holiday season at 5-7 p.m. There will be caroling and mulled wine. Reservations are required, and tickets are $15 per person. The winery is located at 1953 Newman Road.
Ignite the yuletide spirit with The Beggar Boys, as they infuse the Pacific Northwest with the quintessential Christmas melodies of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The concert, titled “A Celtic Christmas,” takes place at 3-5 p.m. on Dec. 9-10 at St. Augustine’s-in-the-Woods Episcopal Church, located at 5217 Honeymoon Bay Road. Visit whidbeyislandmusicfestival.org for more information about the events.
The Greenbank Farm Holiday Market opens for business the first three weekends in December, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is your chance to meet talented craftspeople who produce amazing hand-crafted goods and see what they have to offer.
The historic farm will host a holiday tree lighting at 3-5 p.m. on Dec. 3. For those who can’t make it for the lighting, visit the farm daily through December for the Farm Lights Festival.
In Coupeville, the Methodist Church is hosting a Christmas Bazaar between 9:30 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 2, featuring new and gently used items like fresh wreaths, handmade crafts, baked goods and more, with proceeds going to local charity organizations. The event will be located at 608 North Main Street.
The Coupeville Chamber of Commerce is presenting its annual Christmas parade, which will take place at 4 p.m. on Dec. 2 and bring holiday joy to the town parading through First and North Main streets and continuing down North Main to Front Street, onto Northwest Alexander and across Coveland to the library. The parade is followed by a tree lighting and caroling at Cooks Corner Park, after which visitors can go to the wharf and admire Oak Harbor’s Lighted Boat Parade at 5:30 p.m.
From 4 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 9, the Admiralty Head Lighthouse welcomes guests to enjoy children’s games and activities, marshmallow roasting and take some photos with Santa, who seems to be particularly busy on Whidbey this year. The lighthouse is located at 1280 Engle Road in Coupeville.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County is hosting its 25th annual gala and auction, the Festival of Trees. The event will take place 5-10 p.m. on Dec. 1 at the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge, where guests — above the age of 21 and in formal attire — can bid on local treasures and decorated designer trees and wreaths while enjoying a fancy dinner and cocktails. Those unable to attend in person can bid online. Tickets cost $125 and are available on bbbsislandcounty.org/events.
Starting Nov. 24, the Blue Fox Drive-In will host a Christmas village at its location, featuring Santa Claus, an arcade, animals, s’mores, fresh-cut Christmas trees, hay rides, light displays and food. Times and dates are on the website.
Christmas is a great opportunity to support local businesses and buy some original, homemade gifts. Oak Harbor residents who have yet to shop for their loved ones can visit the Main Street Holiday Market, which will take place on 890 SE Bayshore Drive #2. The market will be open between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Nov. 24-26 and on Dec. 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17, while hours on Dec. 2 are between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m..
On Saturday, Dec. 2, community members can eat a festive breakfast while enjoying a Teddy Bear Breakfast at the Elks Lodge, presented by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County. Tickets cost $15 for guests ages 13 and older, and $5 for children 12 and younger. Guests are also asked to bring a new stuffed animal that emergency services and first responders will donate to a child in a crisis situation. Guests can purchase tickets at bbbsislandcounty.org/events and choose to be seated at 9 or 10:30 in the morning.
Residents can also stroll down Southeast Pioneer Way on Dec. 2 and enjoy live music at Harborside Village from 1-3 p.m., or grab some free cookies and cocoa at 810 Southeast Pioneer Way between 3 and 5 p.m. Santa and his crew will parade from Midway Boulevard to Ely Street at 4, and at about 5:15 the tree lighting ceremony will add some holiday colors to downtown.
Weather permitting, the Oak Harbor Yacht Club will host on Dec. 2 a Lighted Boat Parade that will sail from Oak Harbor. Boats are scheduled to leave the dock at 4:30 p.m. and reach the Coupeville wharf at 5:30 p.m.. The event will culminate with an award ceremony for best decorated power and sailboat, followed by a potluck at the clubhouse. If the water is bad, the parade will move to the next day. People who wish to participate can reach out to Byron Skubi at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text 360-202-1401. Participants will meet at 3 p.m. at the OHYC Clubhouse.
Between 2 and 3 p.m. on Dec. 7, the Oak Harbor Library is hosting a gingerbread house construction party, free of cost, appropriate for children ages 3 and older and their caregivers.
Starting Friday, Dec. 8, the Whidbey Playhouse is presenting “A Christmas Carol,” written by Charles Dickens and adapted by director Stan Thomas. The public is welcome to view the show on Dec. 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 and 17. Tickets cost $15 and are available at whidbeyplayhouse.com.
Oak Harbor High School will also delight the community with two shows. At 2 and 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 and at 2 p.m. on Dec. 10, The Ballet Slipper Conservatory of Oak Harbor will perform “The Nutcracker” at the Oak Harbor High School Auditorium. Tickets cost $16 for adults, $11 for children ages 18 and younger, and $11 for seniors ages 60 and older. Seats can be booked in advance at tbscoh.org, with remaining tickets sold at the door. For more information, call 360-929-5828. At 7 p.m. on Dec. 14, the students will perform a holiday concert. For more information, contact email@example.com.