Santa doesn’t need to come to my house this year because I feel like I already received my Christmas gift. It came in the form of a borrowed scissor lift, a new sound system on the bridge with a spiffy little cordless microphone I got to use and more than 5,000 new and familiar friends that like to sing Christmas carols as much as I do.
Yep, I’m describing the bridge lighting and fireworks that happened Thanksgiving weekend.
Some may not realize that the lights on the bridge and the fireworks, not to mention other annual Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse events, happen because owner Sherry Grout takes delight in giving back to the community. And Dave Radcliffe, chief executive officer of the Old Cannery, is like a kid in a candy store when there’s a big crowd he can interact with. Give him a microphone with a half mile sound radius and all-directional speakers, and ho, ho, ho, you’ve got a happy CEO.
And let’s not forget Heritage Bank. When branch manager Ann Fish became aware of the financial challenges for funding the fireworks, she became a passionate advocate at corporate headquarters and within the community, raising more than half the money needed to pay for the evening’s pyrotechnic extravaganza.
But it takes a lot of other folks to pull off this event for more than 5,000 people. You can’t miss the Sumner Police Department here nor East Pierce Fire and Rescue. And you’d better add the Sumner Public Works Department as well if you want street closures. Plus, there were 24 community volunteers from the Sumner Downtown Association and Sumner Rotary, some who are members of both, who donned orange vests and Christmas smiles as they helped with traffic and pedestrians. And don’t forget the staff at the Old Cannery who pitched in to serve refreshments. All told, there are about 100 people involved in bringing an event like the bridge lighting to downtown.
Other businesses participate as well, like the downtown stores that stay open for shopping or the holiday lights on Heritage Bank and Main Street Dairy Freeze. Or Starbucks, which was open with hot coffee for those making the trek to Windmill Gardens. And let’s not forget Ben DeGoede at Windmill Gardens, or as I like to call him, Float Meister.
He somehow rounds up a bunch of Santa’s helpers every year to install lights for the annual Windmill lighting which follows the processional from the Old Cannery to the gardens right after the fireworks.
And there’s Petersen Brothers who allowed us to borrow a kickin’ nightlight to illuminate the road for folks crossing the street from the National Auto Parts parking lot to the Gardens, and Brett DeLorm who did the pick up and delivery of that borrowed lightunit.
So when you hear me say I love my job as a downtown director in the Sumner community, these people and businesses are part of the reason why.
OK, if I’m honest, the microphone and scissor lift are a hoot as well. But if you’ve ever heard more than 5,000 people singing along to “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” at night on a bridge in the middle of downtown, then you already know why I keep telling folks it really is fun to spend some time in Sumner.