Since the 1980s, on the second Saturday of December, neighbors, families and tourists have celebrated the Pathway of Lights.
The idea was brought to Green Lake Community Center by a woman who was inspired after seeing a similar event on a trip to the southwestern U.S. The named was coined through a community contest.
In its inaugural year, luminaries encircled only the community center and the event was marked with horse-drawn hayrides. Throughout the years the event continued to expand. While guests used to light the luminaries by passing candles to one other, large community groups are now needed to help with set up. Local performers and artists are stationed around the lake to entertain walkers.
Despite its growth, the event has maintained its intimate, community feel as the same volunteers and families return every year.
Green Lake Advisory Council Member Sue Ruuska and her husband have been involved with Pathway of Lights since its inception. Sue, known as the “bag lady,” and her husband, the “sand man,” would put together the paper bags and sand and their daughters, then 8 and 11, would run the luminaries around the path.
Now, Sue can be spotted at the event with her 3-year-old granddaughter.
“I like to watch people come with funky costumes and decorate themselves with glow lights,” Sue said. “Some people come with candles, some people bring their kayaks decorated in lights and others come with a group of friends and start caroling.”
This year, the Pathway of Lights will take place from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12 at Green Lake. Guests are invited to stroll the path lined with luminaries, listen to sounds of the season and enjoy refreshments.
Participants can bring their own candles or lights to add to the festive ambiance and as always, newcomers are encouraged to start their own traditions.
Pathway of Lights is a food drive benefiting FamilyWorks and participants are asked to bring non-perishable food items if they are able. Special thanks to event sponsors Green Lake Masonic Lodge, PCC Natural Markets and Seattle City Light.