My husband is a huge fan of the Christmas season, and I’m a willing participant in his delight. He’s been collecting penguin ornaments since he was a small child, we now have more than 150 of them, and aside from lights and some ribbon garland, the tree is exclusively adorned with penguins, I also began a tradition of purchasing a Nutcracker for each year we’ve been married (we’ve been married a long time, so that collection takes up a lot of space, but it’s worth it), I don’t even want to get into his Christmas Village collection…We’ve even gone so far as to travel far and wide to other cities and countries to view their Christmas celebrations and pick up one-of-a-kind pieces for our collections. When we first moved to the island and discovered all the events celebrating the season—Christmas in the Country, the Downtown Association Open House and Tree Lighting, the Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship with live Carolers through Eagle Harbor, and so much more (click here to see a list I’ve compiled of events), his enjoyment and excitement rivalled that of a child given free rein in a toy shop.
However, our first Christmas was truly special—it was a quiet weeknight, the tree was decorated and lit and the fire glowing warmly, when suddenly we heard Christmas music, distant at first, but getting closer by the minute. We went outside, and low and behold, coming down the street was a brightly lit-up Bainbridge Island Fire Department Truck, playing wonderful Christmas music to the delight of the neighborhood. Honestly, it was magical.
We’d moved by the following Christmas and our new home is set far back from the road, so we sadly missed the truck last year, but I wasn’t going to make that mistake this year!
I reached out to the Bainbridge Island Fire Department to get the schedule for this year, and Janine Courtemanche, Community Risk Reduction Coordinator at BIFD was kind enough to get back to me, as well as giving me a bit of history on this annual tradition.
It began more than five decades ago as a fun way to celebrate the season and spread holiday cheer throughout the island. The truck is driven by both career and volunteer fire personnel. In order to visit the entire island, it is divided into thirteen areas, which they tour for thirteen days leading up to and including Christmas Eve. The 2019 tour begins on Thursday, December 12th and continues until Tuesday, December 24th from 5pm to 9pm. This year they’ve added a special (and fun) addition to the tour, a real-time tracker. You can click here at the beginning of the tour to keep track of the truck.
Although the Holiday Music Truck was never intended as a charity event, many islanders have shown their appreciation and love of this annual tradition by providing treats and donations to the Music Truck crew while en route, and they love that! Treats and goodies are greatly appreciated while they’re touring the island, and the crew often bring them back to the station to share with their fellow firefighters. However, if you’d like to make a monetary donation, please consider donating to the Bainbridge Island Volunteer Firefighters Association (BIVFFA) through the One Call for All campaign. The Department prefers not to collect cash while en route. All toy donations will be made to the Children’s Hospital or Toys for Tots.
As a safety reminder: please be sure to keep children and pets a safe distance from the truck as it moves through your neighborhood.
*A special thank you to the BIFD and Janine Courtemanche for taking the time to tell me more about this wonderful event, and to provide images and logos for the article.