Editorial: Hopes hinge on tall tree

Oak Harbor’s new downtown Christmas tree towers 40 feet into the sky, symbolizing a rebirth of sorts for holiday festivities in the heart of the city.

In recent years, various methods to harken in the shopping season were tried, but without huge results. People worked hard decorating the shops and streets with lights and greenery, but there was nothing spectacular to attract a throng — until now.

The new tree, installed last week at the corner of Pioneer Way and Dock Street, should do the trick. Strung with more than 1,000 lights and topped by a three-dimensional, illuminated snowflake, the gorgeous evergreen, donated by Gail and Chuck Jaeger, is sure to bring new excitement to the season.

It’s the culmination of a dream by the Harborside Merchants organization, which wanted to perk up the holiday shopping season. Friday night, Dec. 7, will show how successful they were. Great interest in the tree lighting ceremony at 7:30 p.m. is anticipated. The Oak Harbor High School choir will be singing carols, Santa Claus will arrive in his pirate ship, and merchants are staying open late and offering a drawing for a “shopping spree” to entice more people downtown.

The merriment surrounding the tree lighting should draw the desired crowd. There’s no better place to bring the family this Friday night than downtown Oak Harbor. Arrive early, peruse the shops, and enjoy the tree lighting ceremony.

It’s important for islanders to remember their hometown merchants during the Christmas shopping season, not only in Oak Harbor but also in Coupeville, Greenbank, Freeland and Langley. Money spent locally supports jobs in this area, and taxes generated by sales help our own community.

It’s up to the merchants to make holiday shopping fun, exciting and memorable. With a giant Christmas tree to light, the Harborside Merchants are doing their part of the job with flair.

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