In the 1950s, there really wasn’t much significant about the City of Leavenworth. It was just another waning timber town in the center of the state – beautiful, but not really offering anything that makes it any more unique than anywhere else.
But city leaders and the local business community took the initiative to transform the town positively by adopting a Bavarian theme in everything from its signage to architecture. And it worked.
Today, Leavenworth is a thriving and picturesque community. Polka music is always playing in the town square, and there’s always some sort of gathering going on, from accordion festivals to one of the region’s largest Oktoberfests each fall. Even chain businesses like McDonald’s, Starbucks or Dairy Queen have been able to adapt their appearance to better fit the community style and standards.
A trip to Leavenworth has become downright wunderbar any day of the year, but a perfect way to see the community is to visit during the Christmas season.
For three weeks each December, Leavenworth becomes a true alpine winter wonderland.
All through the day on weekends, there is an almost storybook feel to the Christmas Lighting Festival, especially since winter weather usually comes with a pleasant amount – but not too much – snow, which makes everything look a little more fluffy and white.
More than 1 million lights are arranged on and around downtown businesses and public areas.
The lighting weekends include other fun touches such as carolers and Christmas characters walking around, and musical groups from the Northwest such as choirs and bands. One highlight of the daytime festivities is the traditional “Arrival of Santa” parade, where St. Nickolas shows up.
You’ll hear Christmas music planning all day long, and you can even buy hot cider and actual chestnuts that have been roasted on an open fire. Can’t get much more Christmas-y than that.
At dusk, there’s even more fun on tap when the lights are all illuminated in a memorable ceremony that includes a lot of spontaneous singing of Christmas classics.
Though the number of visitors to this event grows every year, visitors will say that the festival feels far from a crowded experience, mainly because everyone in the crowd is brimming with Christmas cheer and general good spirits. Standing shoulder to shoulder with someone while signing “Silent Night” definitely creates some wonderful holiday memories.
Leavenworth party planners recommend carpooling or even taking a bus for the occasion – parking is always at a premium, so it’s smart to leave that task to someone else.
Plus, one of the downsides of trying to take a trip to a wonderful wintry wonderland like this is, well, the winter. So rather than trying to navigate icy, snowy roads to get to this special destination, you and your friends or family members can put a group trip together for the occasion.
The BusBank can be an excellent resource for discovering the joy of the holidays in Bavaria – without having to travel too far for it.