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Festive Ways to Celebrate the Season in Thurston County

The holiday season is upon us, and there is nothing more festive than driving to the many local holiday festivals, marketplaces, and light attractions. In Olympia, Washington, holiday traditions and festive events fill the season with joy and merriment. Luckily for locals, Olympia offers many ways to enjoy the holidays, from spinning on ice rinks to browsing quaint artisan markets. So, it's time to bundle up, grab your loved ones, and get ready to create some memories this season! Here, we will highlight six festive activities that will make your Christmas in Olympia memorable.

LoveOly WinterFest

The first stop on our holiday celebration tour is the LoveOly WinterFest. This event, which runs from November 25 to December 24, 2023, is a must-visit for those wanting to experience a taste of Olympia's holiday spirit. During your visit to LoveOly WinterFest, you can look forward to many activities sure to ignite the holiday spirit in residents and visitors alike. From November 25 to December 24, 2023, a visit with Santa is on the table. Santa will be at the 222 Market (222 Capitol Way South). This includes a free photo opportunity with a particular event photo frame!

Live entertainment will be at the main stage at 5th & Washington, while children can partake in holiday crafts in front of Timberland Bank, courtesy of the Hands On Children's Museum. Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available from Noon - 4 pm at State Avenue & Columbia Street.

Partake in festive storytelling, with five different seasonal stories being told from Noon - 6 pm in the Olympia Ballroom Lobby. Warm up with a hot chocolate station provided by Sofie's Scoops and Dancing Goats, offering hot cocoa with seasonal toppings for the little ones and coffee options for grown-ups. This is located in front of Captain Little.

A Season "Tree" Lighting at twilight, supported by Lincoln School second graders, will be a sight to behold, located at 5th Avenue & Washington Street. Lastly, local makers will sell handcrafted holiday gifts for those seeking unique presents at a Makers Market hosted by Gallery Boom, located on Washington Street. Clear your schedule for a day filled with festive fun at the LoveOly WinterFest!

The Nutcracker at the Washington Center

Our festive journey continues in downtown Olympia with a timeless holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Ballet Northwest will present this enchanting performance at the Washington Center from December 8 to 17, 2023. It's a tradition not to be missed, as the epic ludes to the holiday season for audiences of all ages. Don't miss out on this festive tradition - purchase your tickets and join us in celebrating the holiday spirit battle that unfolds between the mice and the soldiers. Clara and the Nutcracker Prince journey through the mystical Kingdom of Snow and observe the Land of the Sweets. Immerse yourself in the magic of this beloved ballet with its stunning costumes, captivating choreography, and Tchaikovsky's iconic music. Now in its 36th year at the Washington Center, the Nutcracker serves as a charming reminder of the holiday magic and wonder we all cherish. So, mark your calendars and experience Ballet Northwest's The Nutcracker.

Olympia On Ice

Olympia On Ice is a highly revered ice skating rink in the heart of downtown Olympia, open for the holiday season. From November 27th to January 2nd, locals and visitors alike can glide across the ice, basking in the beautiful views of the iconic Capitol Building regardless of your ice skating prowess; whether a seasoned skater or a first-timer, this charming rink brings a festive vibe to celebrate the holiday season. Going into its fifth year, this famous pop-up rink in downtown Olympia provides affordable, family-friendly ice skating daily from November 17, 2023, through January 15, 2024. Don't miss the opportunity to create unforgettable memories on the ice - tickets can be purchased in advance.

Shop Small at the Local Markets

The Olympia Farmers Market, a cherished local institution, transforms into a holiday wonderland during the festive season. From November 27th to December 24th, the market will host the Holiday Market, featuring a variety of artisan vendors, live music, and a delightful holiday atmosphere. Don't miss the opportunity to stock up on freshly baked pastries, locally crafted gifts, and unique finds. These holiday markets give you a chance to find the perfect gift and support local businesses and artisans during this festive season.

As the holiday season approaches, it's easy to become overwhelmed by the whirlwind of activities and tasks. Yet, it's important to remember what makes this season particular - spending time with the people we care about. No matter how you celebrate the holidays, Olympia offers many festive events and traditions. From the exhilaration of ice skating to the charm of our artisan markets, there's something here for everyone to enjoy. So gather your loved ones, embrace the festive spirit, and prepare to make some unforgettable memories. Here's wishing everyone a delightful and joyous holiday season.

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