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Small-town Santa celebration still strong in Sumner

Finding the 'good old days'

Sumner Christmas festivities offer “Hallmark Channel” holiday experience. Photo credit: City of Sumner

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The small-town holiday experience is alive and well in Sumner. With the city proper covering less than eight square miles and a population just shy of 10,000 people, the "Rhubarb Pie Capital of the World" hearkens back to the good old days when everyone knew everyone's name, and you could get all of your shopping done in one quick jaunt down Main Street. Plus, like any good small town, Sumner knows how to do Christmas right.

The snowball got rolling right after Thanksgiving with the 90th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in the middle of Main Street. A holiday tradition in small towns and big cities alike, the tree lighting was just the beginning of the city's holiday festivities.

On Dec. 3 at 3 p.m., Santa Claus is coming to town - along with the rest of the town - at the annual Santa Parade. The procession features singing, dancing, classic cars and floats designed and donated by local businesses, some of which answer long-standing questions about just how Santa eats all those cookies in a single night.

"We actually had a float one year with Santa in an outhouse," Sumner Communications Director Carmen Palmer said with a chuckle, "but officially, that's just one of Santa's helpers. The real Santa rides in the fire department's antique fire truck."

A break from tradition, to be sure. But in Santa's defense, fire trucks are pretty cool and can easily hold eight reindeer with Santa driving and Rudolph riding shotgun - or maybe Santa just really likes pancakes.

Just before the parade, from 7 a.m. to noon, East Pierce Fire & Rescue is hosting its annual pancake feed with Santa at the Sumner Fire Station. The department will be collecting new or gently used coats, gloves, scarves, hats and sleeping bags for the needy, and for a $3 donation, you can stuff yourself with pancakes professionally prepared by the firefighters. Just remember to save some for Santa.

As for getting all of your shopping done on Main Street? In addition to its long-standing reputation for antique stores, Sumner boasts tons of local stores to visit while you enjoy the parade. Here are a few:

A Picket Fence. Offering "accents, accessories and attitude," this shop promotes itself as "A Cheers for Women" and specializes in jewelry, lotions and other boutique-y goodness for the ladies in your life. 1006 Main Street, open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m., 253.863.6048,

Simple Tidings & Kitchen. With more than 30 years in business, this store offers the latest in kitchen décor, cookbooks, gadgets and gourmet ingredients for the aspiring gourmet chef. 1115 Main Street, A, Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 253.863.7933,

Northlight Interiors. This store offers award-winning residential and commercial interior design services with high quality furniture, rugs, lighting and more. 1107 Main Street, open Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 253.826.0339,

These are just a handful of the local businesses along Main Street and throughout Sumner that offer the perfect gifts for each of your friends and family. Happy holidays and happy shopping.

For more information about events in Sumner, visit or the city's official website,

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