Lanterns take to the skies

Holiday festival makes its debut Friday in Brewster

— A sky lantern festival to celebrate the holidays will make its debut in the city this Friday night.

As of Monday, the Brewster Chamber of Commerce had sold out of the 275 sky lanterns it ordered for the event, Treasurer Sabrina O’Connell said.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” she said.

Santa Claus will be picked up at 6 p.m. from Brewster Marketplace, 907 U.S. Highway 97, to take a ride down Main Street, with an estimated arrival of 6:30 p.m. at the city’s soccer field. The field is located across from Columbia Cove Recreation Center, 601 W. Cliff Ave.

While volunteers get the lanterns ready to go, Santa will be on a makeshift stage passing out candy canes, and volunteers plan to use a public address system to get everyone singing Christmas carols, O’Connell said.

The Brewster Fire Department will man a bonfire, the local Girl Scouts troop will sell cookies, and the Brewster School District will provide hot chocolate and chili.

Other local businesses have been invited to participate, O’Connell said.

The event is open to all, not just to those who purchased lanterns, she said. The school planned to extend an invitation to those visiting from Omak for the evening basketball games.

“The ticket was basically just to claim a sky lantern, but anybody can come and watch and participate,” she said.

People can take their lanterns to several lighting stations that will be set up, and the lanterns will be released around 7:30 p.m. to cap the festivities, O’Connell said.

The idea for a sky lantern festival came from one of the new chamber board members, Leno Marin. He was born and raised in Brewster and graduated from Brewster High School.

Now he owns a marketing and design company in Arizona.

“He’s real passionate for Brewster,” O’Connell said.

Marin came up with the idea last year and discussed it with the chamber and businesses, “but unfortunately at that point in time there just wasn’t enough to get it done last year,” she said.

O’Connell hopes to see the event not only continue, but expand in the future.

“I think it’ll grow,” she said, noting that future celebrations could include a polar plunge and other activities.

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