We Love Rainier WA, a community enrichment organization, brightened up downtown Rainier by decorating local businesses with Christmas lights and decorations in preparation for the holiday season, recently. In addition to decorating the city, We Love Rainier has several holiday events and activities scheduled.
George Johnson, We Love Rainier WA member, said members Robbie Currie, Mike Emmons and Bruce and Trish Palmer played big roles in decorating the downtown area in Rainier.
“They started at the end of October putting up lights,” Johnson said. “It’s something that we started doing four or five years ago, and they try to get the whole downtown area decorated. They decorate the businesses as well.”
Johnson added, each year, We Love Rainier WA purchases new Christmas lights with funds raised from different events throughout the year. The group attempts to “up” their decorations each year to make Christmas brighter and better for Rainier.
“It’s kind of a slow process because we don’t have a lot of money so we have to get what we can get when we can get it,” Johnson said. “Thankfully we had a good year this year and made a little bit of money at our fruit sale, so that helped us buy some decorations. Our town is only a few blocks long, but we really try to make it sparkle, and we do. We run into some problems, but, ultimately, we make it work.”
We Love Rainier WA will also host a Christmas tree lighting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30 at Holiday Park. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to take a photo with Santa and enjoy Christmas caroling. Johnson added the group will introduce a family-oriented gingerbread house-decorating contest this year, as well.
“We thought that’d be a nice, new tradition to introduce to families at Christmas this year. We came across these gingerbread houses and thought we might use them. We really enjoy Christmas,” Johnson said. “I think the group loves doing this. They love doing this for the kids. That’s who we do it for. Everything we do, we try to do it so these kids can have lifelong memories as they get older. We really like the small-town feel, and our goal is for these kids to be able to look back someday and say ‘remember when we were kids.’ We’re in charge of a lot of the kids’ functions that happen here in town.”
In addition to the tree-lighting ceremony, Johnson said the group will award the top five “best decorated” houses in Rainier throughout the holiday season. Winners will receive a sign to post in their yard as well as a ribbon for their efforts.
“People like Christmas and enjoy the spirit of the season,” Johnson said. “We welcome anybody that has ideas of events that they want to bring to Rainier. Sometimes when you’re all alone it feels insurmountable to do this thing, but knowing you have a group behind you, it can be done. We love what we do. We really do.”
We Love Rainier WA is also collecting clothing to donate for students at Rainier Elementary School during the winter season. Community members interested in donating clothes can bring the items to Rainier Senior Center or Rainier City Hall.
The group is also selling limited edition Rainier-themed Christmas tree ornaments to add to the Christmas tree. The ornament can be purchased for $15 at Rainier City Hall and the Rainier Senior Center and includes a photo of Rainier’s historic church built in 1893 on one side, with “seasons greetings” printed on the back.