It was a magical night on Pioneer Way Saturday.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people gathered in downtown Oak Harbor to celebrate the start of the holiday season.
Holiday Magic on Pioneer Way raised an estimated $1,000 for charity and brought out record crowds, according to Brian Jones, event planner.
“It went really well,” he said. “I’m just really glad people came out and supported the event.”
“I just really want it to be something that pulls people together.”
People started gathering on Pioneer Way shortly after 5 p.m., bringing with them excitement and holiday cheer.
Oak Harbor Middle School band played music as the crowd grew, waiting for Santa’s arrival and the official tree lighting.
Santa arrived in style, escorted in a fire truck.
Children watched in wonder and excitement as Santa made his way down Pioneer Way, stopping at a giant Christmas tree.
After a few holiday songs, Santa helped light the tree, which was adorned with a giant white star.
Jones said he was happy with the event, that had a few minor glitches.
Due to some equipment problems, the horse-drawn carriage wasn’t able to make the event.
Carolers offered festive music as the crowds made way into shops and down to find Santa.
Pictures with Santa were offered for $10. The photographer taking the images donated the proceeds to the event.
All donations went to Garage of Blessings, a charitable thrift store that offers free clothes, household items, appliances, food and much more to the community. It’s located inside a garage on Industrial Avenue off Goldie Road.
While there isn’t an official count on how many people attended the event, Jones said the crowd was twice the size then previous years.
In its third year, Holiday Magic on Pioneer Way continues to grow.
Jones said he’s already been contacted by people with ideas for next year, including a gingerbread building contest.
“We’ll plan all year for it,” he said. “More people want to be involved.”
“I’ve gotten a lot of support from the city and businesses.”