West Seattle, Washington
That’s how tonight’s West Seattle Junction Hometown Holidays Tree Lighting ended – with the countdown and the switch-on. That’s how it ends pretty much every year. But the celebration preceding it is not always the same-old, same-old. This year brought a first-time emcee who lit up the stage more brightly than the tree – self-described “7-foot-4 drag queen” Dolly Madison:
Dolly debuted with a show-stopping lip-synch of “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which you’ll see in our next clip, after a short introduction by West Seattle Junction Association executive director Lora Swift, followed by the Endolyne Children’s Choir and featured speaker Nancy Woodland of WestSide Baby:
You can help WS Baby assist local families by being part of this holiday season’s JOY campaign. Meanwhile, the tree-lighting celebration featured even more music – the West Seattle High School Marching Band took the stage at the start:
The WSHS musicians also performed a lively streetcorner set as the crowd dispersed. Also featured, cast members from “Peter and the Starcatcher,” the current production at ArtsWest:
Aside from a few waves of light rain, the weather was reasonable (anyone remember the sub-freezing chill in 2013?), and the hundreds of tree-lighting-goers were still enthused by the time local entrepreneur Jack Menashe and his grandchildren ceremonially lit the tree around 5:30. That’s at the end of this next clip, which begins with jazzy duo Sundae + Mr. Goessl, and includes more of Dolly too:
Also new this year, along with emcee Dolly – who performs weekly at OutWest Bar – was a Night Market featuring local vendors in the street next to Junction Plaza Park (here’s our report on that). More photos to come. Meantime, this is just the start of Hometown Holidays (co-sponsored by WSB), with a long lineup of events you can see here (and in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide).
West Seattle’s brightest Christmas lights, at the Menashe Family house (5605 Beach Drive SW), are going up right now, and got a boost today from the Junction-based crew of the Seattle Fire Department‘s Ladder 11.
Talk about a tree topper!
The big star that goes atop an ever-taller evergreen went up with the help of L11’s firefighters, much to the delight of onlookers of all ages. The Menashes tell us they’re planning to have the full display up by Thursday night (December 1st).
Santa Claus will be visiting again this year too – on Saturday, December 17th, bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank and take your photo with Santa under the lights, 6 pm-10 pm.
The first West Seattle Christmas-lights photo of the season might just be the funniest, even before we see what else is out there. The house on the right is where Dawnelle lives, toward the south end of Seola Beach Drive:
We brought all the guests outside, the neighbors too, and we did the drumroll noise and plugged it in. It was awesome fun!
This season, we would love to showcase lots of lights – send a photo of what you see, plus the location (or if you don’t have a pic, at least tell us where!) – firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks!
Rain or shine, the show must go on, and Thanksgiving night, it will do just that at 3908 SW Charlestown, home of West Seattle Lights. We stopped by late today to say hi to Jim Winder, programming a synchronized holiday-lights-and-music show for the eighth year at his friends’ house across from the water tower. Jim was doing a bit of last-minute troubleshooting but says it’s all set to go for the first night, 7-10 pm Thursday. Again this year, West Seattle Lights invites donations to the West Seattle Food Bank (you can bring nonperishable food to drop in the bin out front, too) and Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation – none of the donations go toward the show, just directly to those organizations. The WSL website hasn’t yet been updated for this year (the lights come first, and Jim does a show in Maple Valley too) but the schedule is the same one you’ll find on this page, after the special 7 pm-10 pm hours Thanksgiving night.
We’ve been looking, and asking, but haven’t come up with much of a list of must-see Christmas-lights displays this year. One theory: With so few breaks in the rain earlier this month, some people missed the usual windows for putting up lights. But we’re still looking – and last night we happened onto a stretch to add to the (short) list in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide: 30th SW between Roxbury and Barton has a lot of spirit, including the home in our photo above. If you have any recommendations – either a spirited street, or a particular house – please comment here or e-mail (email@example.com). Especially in the next few nights ahead before Christmas Eve, looking at lights is a long-held tradition, and we’re always happy to help, so we’ll add whatever turns up. Thanks!
Get your shoes on, get your bells on, get your personal string of lights on, and join the annual Christmas Lights Run with West Seattle Runner (WSB sponsor). Meet at the shop, 2743 California SW – remember, WSR has moved since last year! – at 6 pm Sunday. WSR co-proprietor Lori McConnell shared the route map (above), “in case any neighbors want to carol us as we run by, make sure they have their lights on, or leave cookies for our reindeer (me and Tim).” As further explained in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide:
We will run about a 3-mile loop of easy running and walking to view the lights in West Seattle. We do stop at the Helmstetler Light Show, so please bring a canned food item if you can for their food drive. We welcome elves, Santas, reindeer, and any costume you can think of!! Wear your battery-operated Christmas lights (or any other reflective gear or lamps you have to see and be seen). Post run, we will have cookies and cocoa and cider. This is simply a social, festive group run … not a good fit for those looking for a race. We can’t wait!
The week and a half before Christmas is prime time for light-lovers – and we are glad to have new views of the Davis family display at 46th SW & SW Genesee [map]. Duane Davis explains, “These were taken from the balconies of the new house across the street (approx. 15 ft – 40 ft above the sidewalk). There are over 6,000 LED and 4,000 incandescent light in my bushes, trees, and on the house. Our neighbors have joined in the festivities, making the drive between Genesee and Dakota very nice with lots of lights.” We’re adding this to the Christmas-lights section of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, and would be happy to add more – do you have a dazzling display to share, whether it’s yours or somebody else’s? We’d love photos but will also welcome simple address/neighborhood info so we can go out and photograph it ourselves – firstname.lastname@example.org or text to 2062936302 – thanks!
It’s a dark and foggy night – except in the 5600 block of Beach Drive SW, where the Menashe Family Christmas Lights are officially on, shining bright, with visitors already flocking to see them. “How many lights do you have?” one person asked Josh Menashe; no official count, he cheerily replied.
Here’s what’s new: He and the rest of the crew were working on the finishing touches of an electric train and village you’ll see on the north side of the yard:
Along the sidewalk, you’ll see these candy-cane streetlight-style fixtures:
Santa’s balloon is new:
As bright and colorful as photos can be, you’ll just have to go see it for yourself.
(Hover over video window to bring up “play” button)
You can bring a letter for Santa, too.
And Santa himself will in fact be here the night of Saturday, December 12th, 6 to 10 pm, as listed in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide – bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank and get a photo with Santa under the lights.
Haven’t been? Here’s a map.
West Seattle’s newer music-synched light show has started its season too: This is the third year for West Seattle Yuletide, presented by the Iversons, midblock on the east side of 38th SW between Genesee and Dakota. We stopped by tonight for a bit of video – apropos to another clear night, we caught “Let It Go” from “Frozen.”
The hit movie’s sisters Anna and Elsa even appear alongside your host Olaf the snowman on the south side of the yard. While you can hear the songs if you’re standing in front of the house, they’re also broadcast on short-range 101.9 FM. The schedule’s here.
West Seattle Lights, aka the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular, is back! Tonight’s the second night of the seventh season for the music-synched light show at 3908 SW Charlestown, right across the street from the water tower. For the best view, stand on the walkway around the tower:
Or, you can admire the lights and music up close:
(If you’re in a car, you can listen to the soundtrack at 101.9 FM.) It’s not just entertainment – it’s also a benefit for nonprofits – bring a nonperishable food donation for the West Seattle Food Bank and drop it in the bin right in front of the house, and/or donate to WSFB and the NW Parkinson’s Foundation by going here. Your host, Sir Charles the snowman, will thank you:
(And so will light-show creator Jim Winder, who now runs one in Maple Valley as well as this one in West Seattle, as you’ll see on the website.) The show continues nightly through New Year’s – find nightly schedules and other info by going here.
The season of light is about to begin, and nowhere in West Seattle does it shine more brightly than in the 5600 block of Beach Drive SW, where the famous Menashe Family Christmas Lights display is going up.
After seeing the work in progress, we stopped briefly late this afternoon to find out when the lights officially go on. Josh Menashe told us this Sunday (November 29th) is the night.
The box where you can drop off letters to Santa, as you can see, is back – and you’ll find Santa himself visiting on Saturday night, December 12th, 6-10 pm – bring a nonperishable food donation for the West Seattle Food Bank.
P.S. This is featured in our West Seattle Holiday Guide along with our area’s two synched-to-music light shows.
(Jim’s video of one of this year’s new songs, which you’ll likely recognize)
A little over a week since this year’s West Seattle Lights/Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular music-synched shows came to a close, and we’ve just heard from show designer/mastermind Jim Winder, with the final word on this year’s donations made by showgoers/fans – all of which goes to charities; Jim has the impressive five-year tallies too:
West Seattle Food Bank
1,050 lbs of Dried Foods
5,600 lbs of Dried Foods
Northwest Parkinson Foundation
Grand Totals – Including Brian Teachout ($500), Dr. Kingston ($1200) and Pushing Boundaries ($391)
So a BIG THANKS to the people of West Seattle and Maple Valley that made it all possible and VERY worthwhile!!
Jim Winder and Debi Selix, The Helmstetlers, and West Seattle Lights
(Double-take on “Maple Valley”? Jim added a show there for the 2014 holidays.
For Christmas Eve, we stopped by two more light displays – the peace sign and candy canes (above and below) are at 2707 48th SW (thanks to Lemon for the tip):
Last but not least, Santa and his flamingos can be seen in a festive Westwood yard at 31st/Thistle:
We’re adding them to the short list of Christmas-lights highlights (sorry, we’ll get back to mapmaking next year!) in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide.
That’s the Davis house at 4152 46th SW (map). Duane Davis shares photos and datapoints:
We have 10,000 lights with mix of traditional and LED. Come enjoy the Cotton Candy trees and drive up the block for more lights from our neighbors. The last picture was taken of our Hawks flag flying among the Christmas lights:
It was taken by my daughter following the Hawks win in Phoenix. Go Hawks! Merry Christmas from the Davises.
And another bold and bright display – this next photo’s from Valerie:
This one’s at 3431 48th Ave SW (map). Any other lights folks should see, yours or others’? Send a photo and address! email@example.com – thanks!
Tonight was the first night for the 2014 edition of the Menashe Family’s big, bright Christmas lights (5605 Beach Drive SW). You can certainly admire the densely decorated display from down the block, or driving by, but you’ll want to walk right up to see and hear it all.
That includes listening to your fellow light-watchers, who might be heard asking such questions as “Where do they store all this during the year?” But mostly, what we heard were exclamations of wonder. See why, ahead:
We also checked tonight on the Menashe Family Christmas Lights, the brightest lights in West Seattle year after year, and found the crew working hard on the display even as night fell and rain moved back in. Josh Menashe tells us that this Sunday will be the first official night of this year’s display, starting around 6 pm. Here’s something brand-new this year:
Kids will be able to drop off letters to Santa Claus in that brand-new box you’ll find outside the house at 5605 Beach Drive SW. (As Josh put it, Santa knows exactly where their house is.)
P.S. The Menashe home is of course also featured in the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide – which also includes everything from Thanksgiving info (workouts, free dinners, coffee-shop/restaurant/grocery-store hours) to New Year’s, and we’re updating it daily.
(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)
Blustery weather or not, the show must go on, so Jim Winder was back up on the roof today at 3908 SW Charlestown, home of his friends the Helmstetler Family, who have hosted his music-synched dancing-lights Christmas Spectacular since 2009.
When the show debuts on Thursday night, you’ll hear new music (added – including Meghan Trainor‘s “All About That Bass,” Taylor Swift‘s “Shake It Off,” Pharrell Williams‘ “Happy,” and Rock Sugar with “Don’t Stop the Santa”). “Surprises in early December,” too, Jim promises.
Jim says he’s not planning a big ceremony this year – the light shows will simply start on Thanksgiving night, with the website schedule updated by then, and you’ll be welcome to stop by any night through New Year’s Eve. A few hours after stopping by to see him, we passed the house again just before dark tonight, and noticed the baseline lights aglow, in Seahawks/Sounders blue and green:
The light show starts at 7 pm Thursday night – remember to bring a donation for the West Seattle Food Bank (there’s a bin out front). You can hear the synchronized music in your car at 101.9 FM.
P.S. This is one of three light shows that are part of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide – we’re updating another show next – and please let us know when you see great lights, animated or not, throughout the season … here’s how.
Thinking of going out to look at Christmas lights tonight? Here’s another display listed on the WSB West Seattle Christmas Lights Map, the Rice home at 2128 47th SW. Finally got a chance to go by, just as it was starting to get dark – this is one that’s fun to see even before nightfall. As with most holiday displays, a quick photo doesn’t do it justice, so be sure to see it for yourself (especially if you are a “Charlie Brown Christmas” fan like your editor here). Speaking of the map, it continues to be findable on our Holiday Guide page or by direct Google Maps link, but here’s another look – click any tree icon for the corresponding address:
And we can still add to it if you have an address to suggest! firstname.lastname@example.org or text 206-293-6302 (photos welcome too).
‘Tis the week before Christmas – prime time to enjoy lights. Duane Davis shared that photo of his display and an invitation to come enjoy it, and others nearby:
Come by 4152 46th Ave SW and see the Cotton Candy Trees, multicolored junipers, and our glowing home. A combination of incandescent and LED lights adds a bright festival feel to our neighborhood. Continue to drive up the street and see our friendly neighborhood lighting competition.
We’ve added it to the WSB West Seattle Christmas Lights Map – which you can see at that Google Maps link, or embedded on our Holiday Guide page. Photos and/or address tips still welcome – email@example.com – we hope to resume scouting tonight!
Since we’re going into prime Christmas-lights-viewing time, with a week and a half until the holiday itself, here’s the first version of our annual map. This is NOT all-inclusive – we know there are many more bright lights out there – but we’re short on time for driving around to look, so please keep sharing suggestions, and we’ll be adding more! This is now part of the WSB West Seattle Holiday Events/Info Guide, so you can find it there even if you lose track of this story on the main page (also bookmark our coverage archive: westseattleblog.com/category/west-seattle-christmas-lights). Tips and/or photos, firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks! (We expect to add a few later tonight after another scouting trip.)
8:50 PM: Back from checking out Fauntlee Hills, which usually has more than a few brightly lit homes, and indeed, you’ll find them again this year:
Concord and Trenton, north of Barton, are the key streets to see, and we’re adding them to the map.
Tonight’s featured house is on the southeast corner of 38th and Morgan, and it’s another case of lights that you just have to see for yourself – our photo barely does them justice, with both music and blinking going on. Dozens of shutter clicks netted us this one in the split-second when all the lights cycled to “on.” The flashing display will definitely catch your eye as you pass by on Morgan.
We’ll be building a map for the weekend, showcasing lights we’ve already featured (archived here) and others we’re getting to – suggestions and/or photos still welcome, email@example.com. We’re tracking lights in our Holiday Events and Info Guide and via this Pinterest board.
Ken Iverson e-mailed to let us know about the lights we’re featuring tonight (in video instead of a still photo, because they’re about music and movement):
I am pleased to announce that our holiday light show is up and running. We are located at 4120 38th Ave SW between Genesee and Dakota. [map] We’re only about 3 or 4 blocks south of the Helmstetler Family Christmas Spectacular and while not quite as ‘Spectacular,’ we do have over 5,000 lights controlled by computer through over 2,700 channels set to music.
We have scheduled two shows of about 25 minutes running on the hour and half hour from 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM Friday and Saturday and will run until about midnight on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
The music is fairly quiet if you stand on the sidewalk to watch, but a sign on the gate says it’s simulcast at 101.9 FM, same frequency as West Seattle Lights.