by DJ Martinez (photos and words)
Friday night was lit in Rainier Beach, as the the Rainier Beach Merchant Association’s 4th Annual Light Up the Beach Holiday Challenge took place. This year’s theme; Peace, Joy, and Love, was exemplified & felt throughout the South End neighborhood as more than 30 businesses and community organizations, joined hundreds of community members to participate in some holiday cheer, despite a little rain.
“Look at everyone having a good time! At least it’s not as windy as last year,” recalled event disc jockey, DJ Smooth T, who set the vibe for the night with some old school R & B at the Rainier Beach Veterinary Hospital’s parking lot.
A little farther north on Rainier Avenue, folks of all ages enjoyed a visit with Santa at the Rainier Beach Community Center.
“It was great to be a part of this year’s event and to engage with so many of the residents,” said Tariq Sahali, local artist and community member who played Santa this year at the RBCC, complementing another Santa stationed at the neighborhood Safeway.
Sahali volunteered for the job only hours earlier. “I enjoy working with youth and don’t take myself too seriously. So playing the part allowed me to make families laugh.”
Light Up the Beach goers also enjoyed a horse and sleigh ride around the community center. Kids and adults alike lined up to take rides in the lighted carriage, while the tunes of Schoolyard Talk played over outdoor speakers.
According to local resident and Red Wing Cafe patron Ana Campos, Rainier Beach Merchants Association put together another successful event. “Me and my family come every year, and we’re looking forward to next year already.” In a rapidly changing landscape, the local community is hoping this tradition sticks around.
More Photos Below