‘Lights & Ice’ Returns with Festive Flair

 By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The largest holiday lights display in Washington State is back! And there are even more lights than last year, twice as many to be exact. Quil Ceda Village’s massive luminescent lagoon is made up of a whopping six million holiday lights that brighten the winter sky every evening now through January 15, 2024.

Viewing of all the seasonal displays that adorn Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip Bingo, and Quil Ceda Village retail center is free and open to the general public.

“We launched this grand event in 2022 and it became an instant favorite with visitors. It is bigger and even more spectacular this year. We encourage folks to add this tradition to their ‘must do’ experiences this holiday season,” said Kevin Jones, general manager for Quil Ceda Village. 

Completing the makeshift winter wonderland is a 40’ x 80’ outdoor ice rink that became a hit for Tulalip families last year in search of a new holiday tradition. A year ago, Tulalip elder Denise Hatch-Anderson brought her then-nine-year-old granddaughter Barbara to the rink. The young culture bearer took a tumble a plenty while learning how to balance and shift her weight around on ice skates, but she was determined to learn and learn she did.

Now, a full year later, Denise again brought Barbara. Accompanying them this time was 12-year-old Francis. While their elder looked on, the two energetic ice skaters went around and around the oval-shaped rink while some of their favorite tunes played over the speaker system. They still tumbled now and then, but each time they went down with a laugh and rose up with a smile.

“I love seeing Tulalip create these events for our families to come together and have a good time. Having an ice rink here makes it possible for my grandchildren, and I’m sure many others, to have the opportunity to actually learn to ice skate and see how much fun it can be. Barbara kept asking ‘Is it back yet? Is it back yet?’ She was so excited to skate again that Francis decided to come see what it was all about. He took right to it, and, for me, when he started pow-wow dancing on the ice, that was everything,” beamed grandma Denise. 

Off the rink, there was a variety of locally-sourced grub available from Tulalip-owned vendors like Ryan’s REZ-ipes, Kirk’s Smoked Salmon, and Jared’s CORNer. These vendors and more will be a fixture outside the rink area located next to the QCV amphitheater. 

Appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Clause will occur every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between 4pm – 8pm through December 23rd. For more information about hours of operation for the skating rink, food vendors, and special guest appearances, please visit quilcedavillage.com

‘Lights & Ice’ is a family-friendly environment with picturesque backdrops perfect for holiday cards, social media posts, and memory-making excursions. Such was the case for local expert ice skater Dana Posey and his family troop he brought to the rink. While his three granddaughters braved the ice, using the assistance of a bright orange helper device when needed, Dana skated frontwards, backwards and in circles around them while offering enthusiastic pointers. 

“We have a growing hockey community here in Tulalip. From fans of the Everett Silvertips to newcomers to the game since the arrival of the Seattle Kraken, more and more people are getting interested in hockey,” said Dana. “Having a rink allows for our kids to get out and experience life on the ice. And I’ll tell ya, ice skating is great exercise.” 

Drone photo courtesy John C. Storbeck

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience ‘Lights & Ice’, even if it’s just to take in the breathtaking, dazzling display of six million holiday lights. 

Quil Ceda Village presents ‘Lights & Ice’

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Millions of dazzling Christmas lights make Quil Ceda Village (QCV) impossible to miss for an endless number of passers-by driving along I-5 this holiday season. The beautiful illuminations, which span the entire color spectrum, provide a timely electric décor wrapping towering trees and ground level shrubbery at the Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip Bingo and Tulalip Amphitheatre properties.

“This is years is in the making,” explained QCV general manager Martin Napeahi. “We’ve been thinking of different events we could have at our Tulalip Amphitheatre for families. Last year, we partnered with Blue Line Entertainment to sponsor a skating rink at the Everett waterfront. After seeing the success of that rink, we decided to bring it here to Quil Ceda Village.

“The atmosphere is electric. It brings added excitement for our customers at the outlet mall and guests at the casino to have another way to experience the holiday season,” continued Martin. “This Ice & Lights event is really geared towards our families and is a fun, festive experience for all to enjoy. Between the food vendors and craft vendors, this is an opportunity for our tribal entrepreneurs to make some extra cash. It’s a really great feeling to be able to bring this to our community and help boost the local economy.” 

An additional boost of excitement invigorated the local community during the debut of an ice-skating rink at the amphitheater, located between the Resort Casino and Seattle Premium Outlets. Tulalip families and friends were afforded the privilege of first skate on the evening of November 21st after a proper opening ceremony held by Tulalip and QCV leadership.

While some ventured around outside in search of the perfect family Christmas photo, others sought their first ever experience at ice skating. The enthusiastic naivety of Elementary-aged children rushing to put their skates on and hit the man-made glacier provided smiles, candid photo moments, and a laugh or two by elders seeing the kids quickly plunk to their butts on the ice.

Present to witness the ceremonial switching on of the lights was Patrick Walker of Gig Harbor, owner and operator of P. Walker Inc. who was contracted to install QCV’s electric atmosphere.

“Tulalip’s entire Quil Ceda Village display entails 3.1 Million lights. There’s two million at the casino, eight-hundred thousand in the amphitheater and another two-hundred thousand at the bingo hall,” said Patrick. “Timeline-wise, we started on October 3rd and worked seven days a week up until November 22nd. I’d estimate it was about six-thousand man hours in total from an average crew of 15-18 hardworking guys. We had nothing but good experiences working with the Tribe, and I can attest to the fact that in the entire state of Washington there’s not another light display bigger.”

Open to the public now until January 8th, QCV’s ‘Lights & Ice’ is set to feature a variety of food vendors, craft vendors, weekend Dickens Carolers, and even cameos by Santa and Mrs. Clause. For more information and hours of specific festivities, please visit www.quilcedavillage.com