Photos by Maria Matson / Whidbey News Group. 
                                The iconic tree of Coupeville was lit Saturday for the first time this year.

Photos by Maria Matson / Whidbey News Group. The iconic tree of Coupeville was lit Saturday for the first time this year.

Coupeville lights up for the holidays

T he annual Greening of Coupeville went without a hitch Saturday, kicking off December’s local holiday festivities.

Children and families lined the town’s Main Street, bundled up against the December winter cold, many wearing thick hats and scarves.

The parade started at First Street and continued down Main to Front Street. The combined forces of Coupeville Middle and High Schools led the parade with loud, festive music.

Many local organizations participated, including Lavender Wind, the Lions Club, Island County Historical Society and Central Island Whidbey Fire and Rescue.

Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes made an appearance in the parade as well.

The attention-grabbing Seahawks “Fanbulance” ambulance rode through, with the drivers yelling out “sea” and the crowd roaring back “hawks” in true fan fashion.

Bob Nichols of Coupeville, a first-time parade helper, said he was enjoying watching the parade while he directed traffic.

“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s small-town fun.”

Santa finished off the parade, riding on top a fire engine from Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue, as he merrily waved at all the good boys and girls. His “other” name is Paul Messner, commissioner of Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue. He’s been the local Santa for years.

People then packed shoulder-to-shoulder around Cook’s Park while awaiting the lighting of the tree.

When it was dark enough outside, the crowd began counting down, “three, two, one,” and for the first time this year, the Coupeville tree was lit.

Ruth Hilberdink traveled from her hometown of Oak Harbor to see Coupeville’s parade.

“It’s the second or third time (I’ve come),” she said. “I love it very much.”

In particular, she enjoyed seeing all the animals dressed up, she said.

It was worth bearing the crisp winter air to see the parade, she said.

“No problem,” she said.

Photos by Maria Matson / Whidbey News Group. 
                                The Coupeville Middle and High School bands lead Saturday’s parade.

Photos by Maria Matson / Whidbey News Group. The Coupeville Middle and High School bands lead Saturday’s parade.

Photos by Maria Matson / Whidbey News Group. 
                                Santa Claus, known as Paul Messner when off-duty, waves to the crowd on a decked-out fire truck.

Photos by Maria Matson / Whidbey News Group. Santa Claus, known as Paul Messner when off-duty, waves to the crowd on a decked-out fire truck.

Photos by Maria Matson / Whidbey News Group. 
                                The Island County Historical Society made a whimsical appearance in the parade.

Photos by Maria Matson / Whidbey News Group. The Island County Historical Society made a whimsical appearance in the parade.

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