Leavenworth's Village of Lights comes alive, draws visitors from across the globe

It's officially the most wonderful time of year in Leavenworth.

Friday the Bavarian village kicked off its annual Christmas Lighting Festival.

Saint Nicholas arrived in town to greet families, tell stories and hand out gold-covered pears to all the little kids.

"Seeing them happy makes you extra happy, so it's the best," said Rilee Hendershot.

This time of year, Washington's Winter Wonderland comes alive with the sights and sounds of the holidays.

"When the lights turn on it's just a magical moment," said Carly Mueller, Kris Kringl manager.

City workers estimate there's close to a million lights in town. Strands of lights are wrapped around trees, cover store fronts and illuminate the streets.

"It's just magical, we really, really love it," said Christa Kight.

Sidewalks are packed with people sightseeing, celebrating, and shopping at stores, like Kris Kringl, where it's Christmas all year long.

The city expects to see close to 100,000 people this month. Tourists travel to Leavenworth from all across the globe.

"No matter what religion you are, no matter what language you speak, everybody just kind of comes together and there's just this big wow factor where we turn on all the lights and everyone's kind of celebrating being with friends and family," said Morgan Eastman, Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce event director.

While in town, many people head to the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm where kids line up to meet Santa Claus and his reindeer.

Leavenworth Reindeer Farm is the only reindeer farm open to the public year round that offers a fully immersive, hands on educational experience.

"It's been surreal for the kids because we've never experienced anything like this," said Brendan Kight.

Leavenworth radiates Christmas cheer. They've been lighting the town each December for 53 years.

"It's wild, crazy, fun, exciting, it's our favorite time of the year," said Mueller.

The Leavenworth Christmas Lighting Festival is held every weekend in December until Christmas.

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