Monday, December 14, 2009

Light in the Darkest Season

Your intrepid blogger headed out into the wind and the rain tonight to capture some of the light displays put up by different municipalities in South King County. Here's the scene in Kent, just across 2nd Avenue North from the Kent Regional Library (which is currently closed for remodeling). I'm sorry this shot doesn't catch the beautifully lit trees that line the perimeter -- cool blues and greens and purples make this a very serene display. And while the blustery weather made my holiday photo safari a bit damp and unpleasant, I love the reflective effect!

Next up to Des Moines. This is the display at Big Catch Plaza, right as you drive into town. This big tree is lit up every year and is a simple but nice way to welcome folks. Unfortunately, the top is not lit up properly this year. I know times are tough right now, but can't the city cough up enough money for one more string of lights at the top? I wasn't using a tripod, hence the "arty" shot. (UPDATE: As of 12/17, the top of the tree is lit, too! It looks so much better now!)

Des Moines will have another type of holiday light display this Wednesday, when the Christmas ships come into the marina. The City builds a big bonfire at Des Moines Beach Park and hands out free cocoa - it's a nice, friendly, small-town event. Details are on our SoCoCulture online events calendar.

On to Burien: the light display outside the Burien City Hall Library is tasteful but subdued -- alternating lightposts are wound round with sparkling red or white lights, and topped with lighted wreaths. It reminded me of swizzle sticks!

Finally I got onto 405 and did the stop-and-go commute to Renton. Plenty of red brakelights along the way -- but that wasn't really the type of light display I was looking for! I skipped going to Ivar's ClamLights at Gene Coulon Park tonight, because I plan to visit with my whole family sometime in the next week. If you've never visited ClamLights, make this the year -- it's fun to stroll through this delightful display!

I did, however, swing by the Renton Piazza. Check this out:

I couldn't capture it all in one shot -- there's much more to this festive scene. What a dazzling sight for all the bus commuters coming through this transit hub!

But while we're talking about lights and Renton, I have to mention the traffic light problem. I remember the bumper sticker years ago that touted Renton as the Unsynchronized Traffic Light Capital of the World. It's still true at the intersection of Logan and Third -- utter gridlock! (Maybe it's the work of the Grinch?)

Whether modest or extravagant, these light displays really do help to lift the spirits. I want to thank the cities, even in these budget-tightening times, for putting a little sparkle in our lives at this darkest time of the year.

Now I'm going to go brew myself a nice cup of tea and try to dry out!

Best wishes, Barbara McMichael/SoCoCulture administrator

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