Enjoy the magic of winter at Snowflake Lane in Bellevue, plus other things to do this week

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What’s Happening Dec. 3-9

Did you know there’s a place in Bellevue where it snows every night? At 7 p.m. on the dot, Snowflake Lane fills the streets with falling snow, dazzling lights, festive music, performers and more.

For many Puget Sound residents, Snowflake Lane is a yearly tradition. “I ran into a kid the other day and he said, ‘I’ve been coming here all my life!’ ” said Greg Thompson, Snowflake Lane’s longtime producer.

Thompson and Kemper Freeman — the owner of the Bellevue Collection — dreamed up the festive show 20 years ago at a lunch between friends. Thompson said that after Freeman saw Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City during Christmastime, he wanted to bring a similar spirit of holiday cheer to Bellevue — and he went to Thompson for help.

“We realized we couldn’t do anything in the street. So, the first year we built about 50 or 60 drum stands, and they were about 3 or 4 feet high. We put them up and down the street in front of the Bellevue Collection,” Thompson said, adding that they also hired drummers to play along with music and a few Christmas characters “that were dressed up that walked around the street.”

“And it was a big hit. I mean, everybody loved it, they had a great time,” Thompson said.

After a few years, Snowflake Lane became so popular that it completely filled the sidewalks, forcing people to walk on the street. Event organizers turned to city officials to turn the sidewalk occasion into a parade “with 16 floats, 50 drummers, 50 color guard performers and 50 Snowflake Lane dancers. And then we had this snowman and reindeer and all the Christmas characters you can think of. We ended up with a cast of about 300 people,” Thompson said.

Now in its 17th year, Snowflake Lane returns from last year’s hiatus and has adapted for COVID-19. With half as many performers this year compared with a nonpandemic year, performers will be wearing masks and will not participate with audience members like in years past.

Although the parade has adapted due to the pandemic, the same holiday cheer is expected to fill the streets each night. Visitors can also schedule photos with Santa at the Snowflake Lane Factory through Dec. 24.

“I think it’s one of the few things that you can do with your family where it’s a traditional thing. You go with your family and you’re all outside together. There’s this Christmas-in-the-city kind of feeling that you get,” Thompson said, adding that “it isn’t the money it costs to put it on, it’s the excitement we get and the enthusiasm we get from people in the community who just love it so much.”

Snowflake Lane takes place through Dec. 24 from Northeast Fourth Street to Northeast Eighth Street in Bellevue. Find more information at: snowflakelane.com

What else is happening

Here are some other events happening Dec. 3-9 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, please fill out the form at the bottom of the post.

Lotte Hotel’s Holiday Market — Dec. 2-3

Over a dozen small businesses will pop-up in Lotte Hotel for a holiday market 4-7 p.m. The majority female-owned businesses include Dyme Designs, Euni & Co. and Molly Ray Parfums. There will also be music by DJ Brian Hartbeat, a donation-based gift-wrapping station, a raffle, seasonal sweets and beverages and more. Free. 809 Fifth Ave., Seattle; 800-930-5813; lottehotel.com/seattle-hotel

“TIMBER: a sound + light experience” — Dec. 2-5

Math rock meets sound bath in this immersive and meditative 60-minute wash of rhythm and light at 8 p.m. (Dec. 2) and 3 and 8 p.m. (Dec. 4-5). Written by composer Michael Gordon, this iteration of “Timber” features a custom-made instrument integrated with light design for a fully immersive audio and visual experience. Purchase tickets online; $12-$25. 6520 Fifth Ave. S., Seattle; eventbrite.com

A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol — Dec. 3-5

Based on audience suggestions, Unexpected Productions’ improvisers will weave Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in all sorts of hilarious ways at 7 p.m. Purchase tickets online; $25/door, $20/online. 1428 Post Alley, Seattle; 206-587-2414; unexpectedproductions.org

Holiday Cookie Decorating Class — Dec. 4

Round up the kids and enjoy decorating sugar cookies together, along with Four Seasons Hotel Seattle’s pastry chef Danielle Grogan at 11 a.m. The class includes cookies, decorating supplies and light refreshments (adults can add on mimosa kits). Purchase tickets online; $45. 99 Union St., Seattle; 206-749-7000; fourseasons.com/seattle

Christmas Regale — Dec. 4

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of modern holidays and experience an old-fashioned Christmas at Fort Nisqually 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Participants can join in greeting the yule log with toasts, Christmas carols, coffee roasting with Valhalla Coffee Co. and ornament making. Guests will have a chance to saw off a piece of the log to take home for their own holiday fire. Father Christmas will be available for visits and photos. Purchase tickets online; $13-$50. 5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma; 253-404-3970; metroparkstacoma.org/place/fort-nisqually-living-history-museum

Seattle Center Winterfest Ice Sculpting — Dec. 4

Join Seattle Center to see a world-class ice sculptor create a new vision in ice at noon. Master carvers Chan Kitburi and Janson Iwakami will carve seasonal and holiday-themed sculptures, a perfect backdrop for holiday photos. Free. 305 Harrison St., Seattle; 206-684-7200; seattlecenter.com

Holly Days Old-Fashioned Festival — Dec. 4

North Bend’s cherished holiday festival returns 5-8 p.m. This old-fashioned festival includes a live stage, firepits with marshmallow roasting and s’mores fixings, visits with Santa and the lighting of the community tree with Mayor Rob McFarland. Free. 102 W. North Bend Way, North Bend; 425-888-1211; northbendwa.gov

Guided Nature Walk | Finding Fungi: Mushroom Foray — Dec. 4-5

Seward Park Audubon invites visitors to explore the fascinating world of mushrooms with lead naturalist Ed Dominguez 9-11:30 a.m. or 1-3:30 p.m. Dec. 4 or 1-3:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Fall mushroom season continues, and with the recent rains, Seward Park’s meadows and forests are sprouting a variety of mushrooms; boletes, turkey tails, shaggy manes and witch’s butter add color to the park and provide clues to the fungi just beneath the forest floor. Register online; free. 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle; 206-652-2444; sewardpark.audubon.org

Artwork Discussion with Frye Art Museum — Dec. 7

King County Library System hosts a virtual class to bring art to participants at 1 p.m. This open-ended artwork discussion led by a Frye Art Museum educator invites participants to create a personal connection with the artworks while building community with each other. Register online; free. kcls.org

“Living Nativity” — Dec. 9

To spread joy and cheer this holiday season, join Seattle Nativity School for its annual Living Nativity event 5-7 p.m. Students will perform a living nativity for everyone to enjoy. Bring your family and friends, dress warm and enjoy complimentary hot cocoa. Free. 4200 S. Mead St., Seattle; 206-494-4708; seattlenativity.org