Along the railing lining the Westport Marina, hundreds of young, eager eyes scan the salty waters hoping for a glimpse of a boat they consider to be long overdue. The December air is crisp with winds blowing off the breaking waves; yet, the crowds of families are warm, excited and couldn’t care less about the weather. In just a few moments, a famous guest will be in town for his annual visit to Westport, officially kicking off the holiday season to this coastal community.
The red-suited man, known by children throughout the county as Santa, will be arriving at Float 6 of the Westport Marina at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, December 5. The event, called “Santa by the Sea” is put on annually by the South Beach Buccaneers. What makes this event so unique and so perfectly Westport is how Santa arrives. At 10:30, Santa will make his way into town on a US Coast Guard ship, greeted by excited children of all ages. As Santa disembarks the ship, a two and a half hour Christmas extravaganza begins, marking the start to crowds of families discovering the Christmas spirit in Westport.
Once ashore, Santa invites children and families to follow along and cheer him on as he travels to his next destination in town. For this trip, Santa will be escorted by the Westport Fire Department to the always gorgeous Westport Maritime Museum just a few blocks away.
Arriving at the Westport Maritime Museum, Santa will be met by a a small team of elves, who will assist in setting up a perfectly Westport photo opportunity. Sitting in front of the Destruction Island Lens, your family’s annual picture with Santa will not only be memorable but also incredibly unique and historical. The Destruction Island Lens is considered to be one of the best lighthouse lenses in the world, making a picture with Santa in front of this 24-paned masterpiece even more special. Families are need to bring their own camera and/or cell phone to document this event. Santa will be sitting for portraits from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Plan to arrive early.
When your Santa picture taking experience is over, it isn’t time to head back home. Instead, exploring Westport during the holiday season should be one of your family traditions. To start, head next-door to McCausland Hall, where there will be a handful of activities for all ages of visitors. While the refreshments and Buccaneers’ Christmas party games will be fun for the whole family, one of the greatest aspect to this event is just for kids.
Set up by the Buccaneers, there will be a Just for Kids’ Gift Store, helping children pick out gifts for family members and friends. Shopping and feeling the joys of giving a gift they picked out can be difficult for children, making this activity truly a must-experience trip while in Westport for Santa. At the “kids only” store, all gift are only $1 and will be tagged and wrapped. Thanks to this event, your children will be able to give you a gift that they picked out, just for you. The Kids Store is also only open from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., so plan accordingly if you want to take part in this incredibly sweet event.
“The Kids Store at Santa by the Sea gives the kids a chance to think about giving instead of thinking about what they are going to receive,” explains Jill Dubois, Chairman of Santa by Sea. “The children will look around at all the gifts, looking for the perfect present. They take their time, have a snack in-between purchases and thoughtfully choose what present they want their family to have.”
The money raised by the $1 gifts helps ensure this event continues the next year. In 2014, 200+ children showed up with their parents to the Santa by the Sea event, and this year’s event is expected to be even more popular.
As the kids finish their shopping, continue in the holiday spirit and support your local business in Westport. Throughout the day, and the holiday season, stores along the docks encourage and invite you to “Shop the Docks” from 10:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Explore and support local businesses that give Westport its unique personality. Merchants around town will entice you to step inside by holding raffles and offering refreshments.
After shopping and supporting your friends and neighbors, end your day in Westport with a hot beverage and a walk along the beach. Stopping off at Tinderbox Coffee Roasters, pick up an amazing cup of coffee or enjoy a delicious cup of hot chocolate before heading to the numerous beautiful beaches around Grays Harbor. On December 5, low tide is at 2:29 pm, giving you ample time to beach comb and stroll along the coast before watching the sun plunge into the mighty Pacific.
As you stand on the beach with your family, reflecting on your day will bring a smile to everyone’s face. In Westport, Washington, you were able to watch Santa arrive by a Coast Guard ship, take holiday pictures, allow your kids to buy you gifts and enjoy the stores and natural beauty of Grays Harbor’s South Beach. It really is hard to beat such a fantastic day in Westport.