Band to play live for Holiday Fest

Pullman Chamber of Commerce staff, interns spent days decorating locally grown pine for tree lighting


Courtesy of Britnee Packwood

The 2016 Holiday Fest in downtown Pullman featured choir performances. This year, they are including more local businesses and featuring the local band Paradox at Rico’s Public House.

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen reporter

Holiday Fest decided to use a locally grown Austrian pine planted in about 1995 for this year’s tree lighting.

“It’s really important and great for Pullman identity to have a locally grown tree,” said Britnee Packwood, Pullman Chamber of Commerce events coordinator, “especially because it has been so long since we’ve had one.”

Packwood and her team of interns spent several days gathering and placing decorations for the tree so that it would light up Cougar Plaza in the best way possible, she said. Santa Claus, hired by the Chamber of Commerce, will also be in attendance.

“It’s about providing a place for people to gather and celebrate what the holidays are about,” Packwood said.

Holiday Fest will include an “after-party” of music by Pullman cover band Paradox. This marks the newest addition to the annual event.

The band will play after the Christmas tree lighting on Cougar Plaza. Tawny Szumlas, owner of Rico’s Public House, said Paradox has been a staple of Pullman entertainment for many events. However, this is the first time a musical act will play during the Holiday Fest.

“This will be a great chance for people to see how vibrant Pullman’s nightlife actually is,” Szumlas said. “What’s great about the [Holiday Fest] is that it will expose people to what is available downtown.”

The music, geared mostly toward adults, will keep the festivities of the day going, Szumlas said. Since most of the events are child-friendly, a chance to engage in festive drinks, like their hot buttered rum, brings in crowds of people.

“In a small town, entertainment is not just handed to you. You have to search for it, which can discourage some people,” Szumlas said. “The Holiday Fest is a great way to encourage more attendance.”

In addition to the music night, one of the largest events this year is the tree lighting, Packwood said.

There will also be plenty of opportunities for college-aged students to enjoy and patronize some of the local businesses, Packwood said.

A few of these opportunities include the Kiwanis Club of Pullman’s Pancake Breakfast in the morning, followed by a Marshmallow Roast at Paradise Creek Brewery, Packwood said. The brewery will offer free s’mores, hot chocolate and festive alcoholic drinks for those of age.

Holiday Fest is also a part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Pullman 2040 program, Packwood said. This is a plan to implement programs by Feb. 13 to improve some of the community’s issues, based on surveys of Pullman citizens.

This is a large driving factor of the Holiday Fest’s inclusion of more businesses this year.

“Holiday Fest has been around for a long time as a way to showcase the best of Pullman businesses,” Packwood said, “but this year, because of those initiatives, we’re really focused on strengthening the identity of Pullman during the holiday season.”

There is no cost for Paradox’s concert, Szumlas said. Minors are allowed in before 7 p.m. but must leave at 8 p.m.

Holiday Fest will go on for most of the day Saturday with the tree lighting at 4:20 p.m. in Cougar Plaza followed by the band Paradox performing from 7 – 8:30 p.m. at Rico’s.

More information is available on the Pullman Chamber of Commerce website.