Holiday spirit comes to Colfax

Annual Winterfest parade, Festival of Trees return this month



Local organizations display their trees at The Center in Colfax for the Festival of Trees, hoping to win the “People’s Choice” award.

FRANKIE BEER, Evergreen news editor

Colfax will host its annual Winterfest on Dec. 4, giving community members and local businesses an opportunity to celebrate the town amid the holiday season.

Winterfest is renowned for its lighted holiday parade, followed by a fireworks show. At 5:30 p.m., local business owners will ride their festive floats down Main Street. The event is free of charge. 

Colfax Mercantile Co-owner Valoree Gregory said the parade is her favorite Winterfest activity because she loves watching families gather along Main Street, waiting excitedly for the parade to start. This Winterfest marks the seventh year Gregory and her business have participated in the event. 

“It’s fun to see the different businesses and families that have had floats in the parade for years and years,” Gregory said.

Leading up to the main event, the Whitman County Historical Society will host a Victorian Christmas at 10 a.m. at the Perkins House, where families can enjoy live music and vintage costumes. From 1-3 p.m., the Whitman County Library invites families to take a socially-distanced selfie with Santa. 

Colfax businesses will extend their hours and offer holiday shopping and specials for visitors during the event. Gregory said she believes it is important to shop locally and become an active member of the community, so Colfax can continue to provide events like Winterfest.

Molly Keogh, Colfax Chamber of Commerce director, said the Colfax Chamber and Colfax Downtown Association sponsor the event as a safe, festive tradition for community members during the pandemic. 

“There’s something for everybody. Old, young, out of town and locals. This is a big, fun family event,” Keogh said. 

In addition, from Dec. 1 to Dec. 28, the Festival of Trees display will be open to visitors at The Center in downtown Colfax. 

The display features 20 trees from local organizations like the Whitman County Sheriff’s Posse and Colfax High School History Club. 

STEAM librarian Nichole Kopp said each organization selected a unique theme for its tree, hoping locals will select it for the “People’s Choice” award. Community members can vote for their favorite tree on the Whitman County Library’s website, and results will be announced on Dec. 22. 

Kopp said she has seen many creative designs since the festival’s origin in 2016, like a tree from Colfax Sportsmen’s Club made entirely of antlers. 

Last year, the library held tours and voting for the Festival of Trees online because of the pandemic. Kopp said this year, the number of participants in the festival grew because local organizations and Colfax residents really wanted to celebrate the holidays in person as a community.