10 December events in Yakima add sparkle and delight to the holidays

Featured image: The gazebo at the Yakima Area Arboretum aglow in holiday lights in Yakima, Washington (photo credit: Yakima Area Arboretum)

If you’re in central Washington in December or plan to travel there, don’t miss these 10 events to kindle the holiday spirit.

1. Lighted Christmas Parade on Sunday, December 2, 6 p.m.

Bundle up and enjoy marching bands, beautiful floats, and cars and trucks decked in colorful lights at the 19th annual Lighted Christmas Parade. The route starts at the Salvation Army Family Store & Donation Center at 9 South 6th Avenue, continues along Yakima Avenue, and ends at Millennium Plaza at 22 South Third Street.

Admission is free.

The parade is hosted by Yakima’s Sunfair Parade. For updates, visit the Lighted Christmas Parade’s Facebook page.

Read the story about Joe Mann, the founder of the Lighted Christmas Parade, in Yakima Magazine.

2. Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Millennium Plaza on Sunday, December 2, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Immediately after the Lighted Christmas Parade, Downtown Yakima hosts the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Millennium Plaza. The winners of the parade will also be announced.

Admission is free. For updates, visit Downtown Yakima’s Facebook page.

3. Free horsedrawn wagon rides in downtown Yakima

On the first three Saturdays in December, Downtown Yakima hosts free horsedrawn wagon rides, courtesy of Double J Ranch. Go on a ride by showing up at Millennium Plaza from noon to 3 p.m. and getting in line.

4. The Perfect Gift at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Thursday-Saturday, December 6-8

The Perfect Gift is a combination family-friendly musical program about the birth of Jesus and Nativity displays. The performances are at these times:

  • Thursday-Friday, December 6-7—7-8 p.m. nightly
  • Saturday, December 8—11 a.m.-noon

The Nativity viewing takes place before and after each musical program. Admission is free.

The church is located at 705 South 38th Avenue.

4. Luminaria Candle-lit Walk at the Yakima Area Arboretum on Friday-Saturday, December 7-8, 6-10 p.m.

Stroll a flat eight-tenths-mile trail lit by more than 1,000 luminaries in the Yakima Area Arboretum’s winter wonderland. You’ll also see thousands of twinkling lights in the trees and the Japanese garden and hear music from the Carillon Bell Tower. Then warm up inside the Jewett Interpretive Center with coffee, hot apple cider, or hot chocolate while listening to live music. Children’s crafts will also be provided in the interpretive center, and the Tree House Gift Shop will be open.

On both nights, the drive into the arboretum will be closed at 5:30 p.m. Yakima Transit is providing free shuttle service to the Jewett Interpretive Center from the U-Haul (old K-Mart) parking lot across the street from the arboretum. The luminaria trail starts at the interpretive center.

Admission is free, but donations and sponsorships are appreciated. For more details, visit the Yakima Area Arboretum’s Luminaria page.

The arboretum is located at 1401 Arboretum Drive, east of downtown Yakima.

5. Lighted Coke Trucks and Santa at Chalet Place on Friday, December 7, 6-7:30 p.m.

Grab a cup of hot chocolate at the Newsroom, say hello to Santa, and enjoy the beautifully decorated Coca-Cola trucks.

Chalet Place is located at the intersection of 56th Avenue and Summitview Avenue. Admission is free.

6. Give Back, Give Warmth at YV Tech on Saturday, December 8, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Can you cut fabric and tie a knot? Then you’re the perfect fit for helping at the Give Back, Give Warmth Blanket Drive. Bring your family, friends, and co-workers to help make more than 180 blankets for those in need.

YV Tech is located at 1120 S 18th Street, behind the fairgrounds.

Learn more about Give Back, Give Warmth.

7. Santa’s Workshop & Lego Winter Village Competition at the Yakima Harman Center and HC Trips & Tours on Saturday, December 8, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Make Christmas crafts, get your photo taken with Santa, and vote for your favorite Lego Winter Village. If you want to create a winter village from Legos from the competition, there’s still time to enter. The deadline is Thursday, December 6, at 2 p.m. Download the official rules in PDF.

The Yakima Harman Center and HC Trips & Tours are located at 101 North 65th Avenue. Admission is free.

8. Shop at Christmas Bazaars

Find handcrafted gifts for everyone on your list from local vendors at these events:

9. Watch a classic holiday movie at the Harman Center and HC Trips & Tours on Thursday, December 13, 6-9 p.m.

Enjoy refreshments while watching It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart and Donna Reed. You might even win a prize in the raffle!

The Yakima Harman Center and HC Trips & Tours are located at 101 North 65th Avenue. Admission is free.

10. Go to these holiday theater shows

The historic Capitol Theatre at 19 South Third Street hosts four shows in December. On Saturday and Sunday, December 1-2, the Yakima Symphony Orchestra and Yakima Symphony Chorus return for the annual Holiday Pops Spectacular. This year, the Bram Bratá Steel Drum Band adds a Caribbean twist to this traditional two-hour holiday program.

Performances start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, and 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 2. Tickets are available online.

The Holiday Cabaret With Charlie & Al returns on Tuesday, December 4, at the 4th Street Theater. Charlie Robin and Al Fischer star in this fun-filled evening of music and comedy for all ages. Special guests include Jane Cooper from the Yakima Fruit Tramps, John Jones, Charles Stanton, and Valerie Woerner.

The show starts at 6:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $10 per person (buy tickets).

The Fourth Street Theatre is located on the east side of the Capitol Theatre.

On Saturday, December 7, the Rogers and Hammerstein production of Cinderella comes to the Capitol Theatre. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Order tickets for this classic fairy tale here.

Three of Ireland’s finest musicians are performing at the Capitol Theatre on Friday, December 14. A Celtic Christmas with Affiniti features soprano Emer Barry, violinist Mary McCague, and harpist Teresa O’Donnell performing traditional favorites such as Danny Boy and their hit version of O Holy Night. Pianist Randy Kaping and vocalist Howard Crosby, Bing Crosby’s nephew, are Affiniti’s special guests for the evening.

A Celtic Christmas with Affiniti begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are available online.

SnowYakimaAreaArboretumSnow at the Yakima Area Arboretum (photo credit: Yakima Area Arboretum)

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