A little rain doesn’t dampen 40th annual MLT tree lighting

The 40th Mountlake Terrace Tree Lighting was celebrated at City Hall Friday night.

All day Friday, I was hoping it wouldn’t rain for the night’s celebration. When the sun came out in the afternoon, I was reassured. When the ceremony started at 6 p.m., more good news:  There was not a drop.  In fact, the big ice-breaker at the event was, “Aren’t you glad it didn’t rain?”

But by mid-event, around the time Santa arrived in his red South County Fire truck, it was pouring rain.  Nevertheless, the 400-plus attendees stuck around. A hearty sort, these MLT-ites.

This guy was the first person to talk to Santa when he arrived.
A girl converses with Saint Nick.
It’s ruff having to be decorated.
The Christmas tree wasn’t the only thing with lights.
Six-month-old Avery and mom were bundled up at the tree lighting.

As a reward for braving the cold, wet weather, the community enjoyed free cookies and hot cocoa, music by the Mountlake Terrace High band, songs by the Terrace Park Choir and the big finale: The lighting of the tree on the Jerry Smith Town Center Plaza. (Simultaneously, the tree formation above the city’s water tower also lit the night with its 1,800 lights.)

A nice surprise: The Grinch was seen making his way through the crowd. Some kids didn’t quite know if they should be happy or scared. But one mom assured her children: “He’s a nice Grinch.” And that he was. Instead of stealing gifts, he gave candy canes. Forty of them to be exact, no more, no less. When I asked if this was his first time here, he said it was.  He then said that he would definitely return next year.

The Grinch really does have heart.
This young man got a candy cane from The Grinch.

Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright welcomed everyone and introduced fellow councilmembers Bryan Wahl (Mayor Pro Tem), Rick Ryan, Steve Woodard, Rory Paine-Donovan, and Erin Murray.

Event coordinator Andrew Appelwick was just hired in March, so this was his debut winter event.  I’d say it went smoothly.

Mayor Kyoko Matsumoto Wright was in the holiday spirit.
Event organizer Andrew Appelwick at the tree lighting. “I’ve been preparing for this since March when I got hired on,” he says. “It’s one of the city’s primary events.”

And what’s a Pacific Northwest holiday season without a little rain?

The sponsors of tree lighting were Mountlake Terrace Plaza and The  Summit Group. Volunteers were from Tour de Terrace.

— Story, photos and videos by David Carlos


  1. I drove past the Grinch as he was walking home Saturday evening, waving to all the cars. It made the dreary night considerably brighter! Merry Christmas to all!

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