Winterfest celebration set Dec. 8 in Benton City

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerDecember 7, 2012 

Benton City might be a sleepy little hamlet a few miles west of town, but the townsfolk know how to celebrate the holidays.

The annual Winterfest celebration is Dec. 8, with most events happening in the heart of Benton City's quaint downtown area.

Festivities include an evening lighted parade, gingerbread- and cookie-decorating contests, a Wii tournament, pancake breakfast, reindeer hunt, roaming carolers and lots of holiday arts and crafts.

"Many of our parade entries come from the Yakima Valley," said Heather Duncan, event coordinator. "The parade is not just farm equipment all lit up. We also get all kinds of entries -- including goats. As we like to say, if you can light it, bring it; it's all good."

The parade begins at 5 p.m. at Ki-Be Middle School, 1205 Horne Drive. From the school, it travels through the downtown area and ends at City Park, which is in the heart of town.

Winterfest is sponsored by the Benton City Chamber of Commerce, and the lighted parade is co-sponsored by the Benton City Lions Club.

"This is the ninth year for Winterfest, which was initiated by Benton City businessman Joe Petty, who owned CF Plastics," Duncan said. "Joe, who passed away in 2009, had a vision for Winterfest, particularly the lighted parade. His vision lives on, as each year the event grows. It is our hope that Winterfest will become a true destination event."

Schedule

8-10 a.m. -- Breakfast with Santa. He'll arrive by fire truck to share a pancake breakfast at the Community Center at City Park. Cost: $5.
8-10 a.m. -- Entries accepted for the gingerbread-decorating contest at Ki-Be High School. There is no entry fee. Prizes awarded in various age categories.
9:30 a.m. -- Registration opens for the Wii tournament at Ki-Be High School. The double-elimination tournament is open to all ages, and there will be cash prizes. Entry fees are $3 per game or $10 for all four games. Games include MarioKart, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Wii Sports Bowling and Rayman Raving Rabbids.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. -- The holiday bazaar will feature more than 60 vendors at Ki-Be High School. There also will be drawings throughout the day. Gingerbread-decorating entries will be on display, and there will be roaming musicians and food booths.
1:30 p.m. -- Santa arrives for photos with kids.
3:30 p.m. -- Staging begins for the Lighted Parade at the Ki-Be Middle School, 1107 Horne Drive.
5 p.m. -- Parade begins.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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