West Seattle, Washington
(EDITOR’S NOTE: More video from the event is here.)
Story/photos/video by Tracy Record and Patrick Sand
West Seattle Blog co-publishers
As community Christmas trees go, the official West Seattle Junction tree is humble – subtle, even. It’s a warm glow of pinpoint lights rather than a brilliantly blazing bush. But it’s not really the main event at the annual Hometown Holidays Tree Lighting, presented by the West Seattle Junction Association – the main event is a sampler of community. And with hundreds of new residents within walking distance of Junction Plaza Park, tonight’s event served as a primer of sorts for them as much as a traditional community celebration.
The spotlight speaker, Menashe & Sons Jewelers proprietor Jack Menashe (above), mentioned that a majority of recent visitors to his store are new arrivals. That might be why emcee Josh Sutton from the West Seattle YMCA felt the need to point out to the crowd – surprisingly sizable for a rainy night – that the Menashes are the family who decorates their Beach Drive home with West Seattle’s brightest Christmas lights; if you knew this, it was especially charming to hear Jack Menashe talk about driving around West Seattle himself to look at others’ displays and expressing appreciation for them.
If you’re new here, you might not know that Lori Hinton (photo below) literally wrote the book on West Seattle – “West Seattle 101” – in the ’00s. (Some of its more-timeless features were republished here on WSB.)
At tonight’s Tree Lighting, she read a customized version of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” name-checking Junction stores and restaurants.
Another Junction entrepreneur featured tonight was Lora Swift (with Josh Sutton in the photo above), proprietor of Hotwire Online Coffeehouse, who told a few holiday jokes and reminded everyone about the big summertime series she organizes, West Seattle Outdoor Movies, a six-week series in the courtyard next to her coffee shop (watch in the spring for the annual round of movie suggestions).
A deep-rooted West Seattle tradition had a role in the event too – the West Seattle Hi-Yu Festival, more than 80 years strong, with leaders Jay and Joanne Murray speaking before bringing up some of Hi-Yu’s young representatives, including the first-ever Ambassadors. As they mentioned, Hi-Yu’s next Junior Court will be crowned during the monthly meeting Monday night at Admiral UCC (7 pm).
Then, there was a taste of the West Seattle arts. The young singers of Endolyne Children’s Choir sang holiday traditions under the direction of Amy Stagno Bokanev, as they do each year:
Jay Cates and the Big Boss Band played jazzy versions of holiday favorites, featuring Kate Voss (with a few jokes as well as a cameo). A high-school marching band as an opening act has become a fixture, and this year it was the West Seattle High School Band:
Finally, minus celebrity guests or gimmicks, the tree was lit, with Josh Sutton leading everybody in a big spirited countdown (here’s our alternate version, from mid-crowd):
The Junction tree, just lighted! pic.twitter.com/Btcr57Me1f
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) December 6, 2015
The lights twinkled on cue, and the crowd began to shift, many posing for photos with the tree:
(Thanks to Jeff Long for that photo of Schmitz Park Elementary students with the newly lit tree.)
As Jack Menashe described it, West Seattle can be like a small town in a big city … even as it grows. Next year, look for more new neighbors in Junction Plaza Park enjoying the old-fashioned fun of a tree lighting. Extra-Christmasy with “Santa Al” on hand – umbrella and all:
P.S. The Junction’s Hometown Holidays celebration continues next week, when Shop Late Thursday coincides with the holiday edition of the West Seattle Art Walk – featuring carolers! – 6-9 pm December 10th.
(As always, we disclose when we mention WSB sponsors. Three are mentioned in the story above – West Seattle YMCA, Hotwire Online Coffeehouse, and Menashe and Sons Jewelers. And WSB is a sponsor of Hometown Holidays.)
On this cold, wet night, about 100 West Seattle kids are keeping warm thanks to the Rotary Club of West Seattle‘s annual Holiday Shopping Spree. Local Rotarians and hundreds of volunteers take over Southcenter Sears before dawn to get the kids in for warm clothing including coats and shoes.
And there’s always fun along the way – including a round of high-fives:
The high-fives accompanied a loud round of cheers for each group of kids to arrive – see for yourself in our video!
Each child was accompanied by volunteers as they shopped for what they needed.
The young participants also got a meal and a visit with Santa Claus before they headed back this way – and smiles invariably result, for the volunteers as well as the kids:
West Seattle Rotarians have been doing this since 1972 – it’s the club’s signature event. The students participating this year were from Concord, Gatewood, Lafayette, Pathfinder, and Roxhill.
(L123, spyhopping with L103; photo by Mark Malleson)
The Center for Whale Research has announced that Puget Sound’s orcas – the Southern Resident Killer Whales – have had their seventh baby in a year, and it was first spotted off West Seattle! Here’s the CWR announcement:
The seventh calf born into the endangered Southern Resident killer whale population in the last 12 months was confirmed yesterday. Photographs taken by CWR associate Mark Malleson confirmed the existence of a new calf born to L pod. The new calf will be designated L123.
This is the first documented calf of 12-year old L103 of the L4 matriline. L123 was first photo-documented on November 10th, 2015 by Alisa Lemire-Brooks and Sarah Hisong-Shimazu from Alki Point, West Seattle. CWR research assistants, Melisa Pinnow and Jane Cogan, later captured some distant shots on November 22nd near the Jordan River in B.C.
Due to poor visibility and unfavorable sea conditions, it took several weeks to confirm that there is indeed a new calf in L pod. We frequently use eye patches to positively identify new calves which can easily be obscured by poor conditions and surface waves.
While a new calf born to this struggling population is certainly cause to celebrate, it is important to remember that another SRKW also means another mouth to feed. With each new calf that is born, we continue to emphasize the need to focus on wild Chinook salmon restoration efforts. Especially the removal of obsolete dams that block wild salmon from their natal spawning habitat, such as those on the lower Snake River. We will continue to monitor the new calf in the next several weeks and provide updates whenever possible.
The November 10th orca visit was a popular one, our archives remind us – maybe you saw the calf and didn’t realize it at the time! The orca baby boom was a big topic at this past Thursday’s Orca Talk, presented by The Whale Trail; we will be publishing a story about it tomorrow – but even the researcher who presented the talk, Brad Hanson, didn’t have word of the calf then.
What has long been the home of Brace Point Pottery is actually “downtown Arbor Heights,” as Loren Lukens explained when we visited his studio/shop last night, the first night of its annual holiday show and sale, which is continuing right now (until 6 pm) and again 10-6 tomorrow. Downtown, because the commercial buildings there at and near 4208 SW 100th used to include a market and a drugstore, he explains. But for almost 20 years, he and wife Beth Kirchhoff have made art and music there.
Looking for light on this gray day? The brightly lit studio/storefront shows some of the creations:
Brace Point Pottery is hosting four other artists in the space for this weekend’s special occasion:
More November election aftermath: King County’s “Best Starts for Kids,” funded by a levy that won 56 percent voter approval, now has an advisory board. And at least one West Seattleite is on the list: WestSide Baby executive director Nancy Woodland. The full list of appointees chosen by another West Seattleite, County Executive Dow Constantine, is in this news release, which also recaps what BS4K is all about:
Best Starts for Kids is the most comprehensive approach to childhood development in the nation, with a framework based on the latest neuroscience. It will focus investments on birth through age 5 when 92 percent of brain growth occurs. It will sustain the gain by providing intervention services as problems such as serious depression and addiction emerge during teenage years. It will also invest in healthier, safer communities that reinforce progress.
Read more about “Best Starts for Kids” here.
Whole lot of flapjack-flipping going on at the Kiwanis Club of West Seattle‘s annual holiday-season Pancake Breakfast right now, and if you see this before 10:45 or so, you might still have time to get there. It’s a fundraiser as well as a Toys for Tots toy drive and an opportunity for volunteers of all ages to help out:
Key Club members (below) and Scouts are among the youth volunteers working the tables.
Those are also two of the programs that the Kiwanis supports, in part with money raised at this event. Santa Claus is there for photo ops with kids under 10 – and with the West Seattle Hi-Yu:
From left, Princess Audrey and two of the first-ever Hi-Yu Ambassadors, Lily and Alyssa.
The Kiwanis Club of White Center has reps there too, selling candy and mixed nuts:
That’s Angelika and Audrey. It’s all happening at the Alki Masonic Center, which is on the east side of The Junction, at 40th SW and SW Edmunds.
P.S. The Kiwanis offers breakfast sponsorships to community businesses and organizations – we signed on again this year, as did everybody else on this list:
(WSB photo: Endolyne Children’s Choir @ 2012 tree lighting)
It’s here – one of the biggest days/nights of the holiday season in West Seattle! We start today’s preview with the highlights from the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide:
PANCAKES WITH THE KIWANIS: Get your day going by letting somebody else fix breakfast in the most festive of ways. The Kiwanis Club of West Seattle‘s 68th annual benefit pancake breakfast is on, NOW (it started at 7) until 11 am, at the Alki Masonic Center in The Junction. Kids under 10 eat free with a paid adult, and get free Santa photos too. Bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots if you can. Big fun all morning long. (40th SW & SW Edmunds)
OTHER PLACES TO FIND SANTA TODAY/TONIGHT: Santa Brunch at Salty’s on Alki (1936 Harbor SW; WSB sponsor); CAPERS in The Junction (4525 California SW); Westwood Village (info here); “Santa Al” at tonight’s tree lighting (scroll down).
JOE’S ART AND BOOK SALE: To benefit White Center Food Bank & First Place Scholars (K-5 school for homeless and at-risk kids), 9:30-5:30 at Joe Aprile & Julia’s home For Sale: framed & matted original art/photography, photo & art cards, original books of fiction, non-fiction & poetry. (8145 29th SW)
CLICK! TRUNK SALE AND BABY-CARRIER DONATION EVENT: Click! Design That Fits (WSB sponsor) is hosting its second annual Sarah Loertscher Jewelry sample sale this Saturday Dec. 5 from 10am-5pm. Sarah will be selling samples and seconds at discounted prices and stocking us with a refreshed selection of Click! favorites. Sarah has been struck by the heartbreaking story of the Syrian refugee crisis and asked, “what can I do?” She found a nonprofit called Carry The Future, which collects baby carriers for Syrian parents to help safely carry their babies and toddlers on their journey. Do you have gently used baby carriers you’d like to donate? We’ll be collecting them on Saturday during the trunk show, and Click! will ship them to a collection point in California next week. Please read the FAQs first – they can only accept “soft structured carriers;” no slings or wraps, please. Sarah and Click! will also be donating 10% of sample sale proceeds to PSKS, a non profit that helps fight homelessness in Seattle. (4540 California SW)
HOLIDAY ARTS AND CRAFTS SHOW: 6th annual show/sale in the Social Hall at Westside Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 10 am-4 pm. “You’ll find original and one-of a kind gifts: jewelry, knits felted hats, paintings (watercolor and other media), designer bags and accessories, greeting cards and stocking stuffers, edible holiday goodies, glass art, fiber art and more. Plus free refreshments, and the event is free. Cash and checks only.” (7141 California SW)
HOLIDAY ART SHOW/SALE: Brace Point Pottery‘s 18th annual Holiday Art Show and Sale. Second day today, from 10 am to 5 pm. Joining Loren Lukens: Four additional artists in an exhibition of pottery, wearables, jewelry and prints. A Seattle Sampling event. (4208 SW 100th)
‘HOT CHOCOLATE SATURDAY’: Duwamish Longhouse Open House, 11 am-4 pm. “We will be playing holiday music all day. Enjoy hot chocolate or tea while sitting around our beautifully decorated tree. Still shopping? We have lots of choices under $25 & $15. Artist John Romero is featured in the Art Gallery. Enjoy a walk along the Duwamish River and amble thru a variety of NW native evergreen trees at Herrings House Park across the street from the Longhouse. Lots of holiday selfie opportunities.” (4705 W. Marginal Way SW)
ART STUDIO SHOW/SALE & BENEFIT: Artist Carolyn Autenrieth is selling watercolor illustrations and pieces from a “unique spiky ceramic series,” and donating 20 percent of total sales to support the Smershes (backstory here). Noon-4 pm at her home studio. (6406 49th SW)
CHRISTMAS TEA : “Fresh brewed teas, sweets, savories, entertainment, door prizes, silent auction, and raffle,” 2-5 pm at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church – follow the link to contact the church to see if tickets will be available at the door. (3050 California SW)
WEST SEATTLE JUNCTION HOMETOWN HOLIDAYS PARTY: 4-8 pm – before and after the tree lighting (see next item) – many Junction stores have specials, treats, and other reasons for you to spend your Saturday afternoon/evening shopping. See the list here.
WEST SEATTLE JUNCTION HOMETOWN HOLIDAYS TREE LIGHTING: Bigger than ever, with SW Alaska closed to increase the space for people to gather around the tree, which is on the south side of Junction Plaza Park. 5 pm is the official start time, but come early and enjoy treats. See the lineup/schedule here. (42nd SW/SW Alaska)
12 BARS OF CHRISTMAS: Third annual event in West Seattle. Starting in The Junction – latest venue/time details here.
And the non-holiday highlights from our ongoing coverage and the year-round WSB West Seattle Event Calendar:
DELRIDGE GROCERY’S ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING: 11 am-2:30 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, Delridge Grocery Cooperative members are invited to find out about topics ranging from “funding, feasibility, and next steps” to a sneak peek of the DGC’s new logo. Lunch will be served. (4408 Delridge Way SW)
LIVE MUSIC: 9 pm, be at Parliament Tavern in The Admiral District to groove to Maurice and His Thing. (4210 SW Admiral Way)
High-school basketball season is now fully under way, and the West Seattle HS teams had a big night against Roosevelt on Friday:
In the WSHS gym, the Wildcat girls’ varsity team won, 61-36, followed by the boys taking their game against the Rough Riders, 52-40.
More photos from both games, ahead: