The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

By Jennifer Hanigan
Wah. Co. Eagle Correspondent 

Merchants ramp up for Festival of Lights


November 15, 2012

Cathlamet’s Main Street merchants are working together to brighten up downtown for this year’s Chamber of Commerce Christmas Tree Lighting and Festival of Trees, taking place on Saturday, November 24, in downtown Cathlamet.

At Tsuga Gallery, Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and the crew all got a facelift, courtesy of Nell Coulson, Genie Cary, and other artists in residence.

For the last several years, Santa and his crew have been residents of the Stockhouse Farm on Puget Island. When Cary heard that the figures were in need of sprucing up so that they could be brought back to Main Street, she brought the news to a gallery meeting.

“I hadn’t actually agreed to do anything,” Cary said, “but when I brought it up, Nell said ‘Oh! I painted those original figures, so I’d be glad to help.’ So here we are.”

Coulson, Cary, Mitzi Christensen, and Judy Curtis worked for several days to bring the figures back to their original festive state. “We even had a gallery visitor sit down and paint for a couple hours one day,” Coulson said.

At the Cathlamet Pharmacy, pharmacist Chris Wuestefeld, Amy Gorley and Vicki Bergseng found Christmas ornaments while they were cleaning the pharmacy basement.

“They must be from the 1940s,” guessed Wuestefeld. The retro pink and aqua ornaments were donated to Janelle West of Sugar Lilies, whose storefront in the Hotel Cathlamet is the former home of Goodfellow’s Pharmacy.

West is happy about the renewed energy that the merchants are bringing to this year’s event.

“The downtown merchants really saw the potential in this event,” she said. “We figured that, if it’s going to benefit us, then we should be involved.”

West worked with Tony Jones, John Doumit and Russell Halverson of the Elochoman Valley Partners to trim the fir tree in front of the courthouse so that it’s ready for the new lights being provided by the Wahkiakum Chamber of Commerce.

The Hotel Cathlamet lobby will be lined with festive trees and wreaths for the Festival of Trees. “People can feel free to come look at the trees anytime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” said Stephanie Prestegard, Hotel owner.

The Festival of Trees starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 24, with a “Walk Down Christmas Lane” in which local businesses will have holiday treats and a card can be stamped by the merchants for entry into a drawing.

The event continues at 5:30 p.m. with the arrival of Santa Claus on a Cathlamet fire truck and the lighting of the holiday tree in front of the courthouse. West and Deb Howie of Howie’s Corner Coffeehouse will both have live music, free samples and elves handing out treats.


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