Wings ’n Wishes attracts hundreds

Santa and Mrs. Claus greet children upon their arrival at the Wings ‘n Wishes event. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

 

By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

Santa prepares to greet children at the Wings ‘n Wishes holiday evening on Dec. 6. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

A large crowd gathered at East Wenatchee?City Hall on Dec.?6 to usher in the Christmas season at the annual Wings ‘n Wishes holiday event.

Cold temperatures did not hinder parents,?children and community members as they stood around the?city hall steps while the Sterling?Intermediate School Choir sang a medley of Christmas carols to begin the festive celebration.

?We Wish You a Merry Christmas,? greeted those gathered, followed by ?Deck the Halls,? ?Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,? ?Feliz Navidad,? ?Jingle Bell Rock,? ?Silent Night,? ?Let it Snow? and several other beloved carols, ending with ?Santa Claus is Coming to Town.?

Mayor Steve Lacy welcomed the crowd. ?First of all I want to thank these young people and Mrs. VanderSluis for providing music for us,? he said. ?I also want to thank Numerica Credit Union, our sponsor of Wings ?n Wishes and I want to give a big welcome to all from the City of East Wenatchee.?

The Sterling Intermediate School Choir sings Christmas carols. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

?I want to thank all the people who had a part in planning and working to make this a success,? Lacy continued. ?The Leavenworth Reindeer Farm brought the reindeer you see over in the corner. Columbia Crane brought the tree that we are going to light in a few minutes. And as always, thanks to the East Wenatchee Street Department and Police Department for controlling us all.?

Lacy went on to thank several volunteer groups?? Banner Bank, East Wenatchee Rotary, Wenatchee Kiwanis, Barry?s Automotive and the East Wenatchee Events Board for their contributions.

Next Lacy commenced the tree lighting ceremony?? 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, everyone yelled and the large tree and numerous displays around the building burst into light.

While waiting for Santa to arrive, people could chose between watching the two reindeer graze, standing in line to receive a cookie and hot chocolate or lining up at the end of the building where a fire blazed and volunteers made s?mores for all.

Two volunteers at another table in the hub of activity encouraged everyone to sign their names on large sheets of butcher paper.

?This is for our sister city in Misawa, Japan,? volunteer Karen Breeven said.

Holiday lights show Miss Veedol carrying Santa to East Wenatchee. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

Wings ?n Wishes is one of several celebratory events sponsored by the City of East Wenatchee in honor of Miss Veedol, the plane Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon flew on their historic flight from

Misawa, Japan, to East Wenatchee.

?We will be sending this to Misawa after tonight,? Breeven added. ?It will be displayed in their city hall or international center.?

Breeven is a board member of the Wenatchee Valley Misawa Sister City Association. The board oversees the exchange of delegations to and from Misawa during each year. Their mission, according to their website, is ?to strengthen the climate of friendship between the cities of Misawa, Wenatchee and East Wenatchee by promoting cultural exchange. The association is dedicated to furthering the historical significance of the first non-stop trans-Pacific flight by Clyde Pangborn and Hugh Herndon in October 1931.?

?Anyone who wishes to go with our delegation to Japan each August can fill out an application,? Breeven said. ?I went in 2012 and loved it. I can?t say enough about the Japanese people. They are so gracious and caring.?

Signatures gathering during Wings ‘n Wishes will be sent to Misawa, Japan. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

A delegation from Misawa also comes to Wenatchee yearly, rotating between coming for Wings ?n Wishes or the Apple Blossom Festival.

?This year a large group, maybe 35 or so, will be coming to the Apple Blossom Festival,? Breeven said. ?We also take them to various sites around the area such as an apple packing plant, Leavenworth and Cashmere. We have a great time and they love it,? she concluded.

A loud siren and flashing lights announced the arrival of Santa in a fire engine escorted in front and behind by police cars.

Santa emerged from the fire truck, walked up the sidewalk flanked by excited onlookers, and entered?city hall where his throne and long lines of children awaited his arrival. Mrs. Claus was also on hand to assist in the celebration.

With the arrival of Santa, another Christmas season is once again in full celebratory mood in East Wenatchee.

 

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