Snowflake Lane Turns Seattle Area Town into Most Festive in America

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The Bellevue Collection's Snowflake Lane, one of the most beloved holiday events in Bellevue, Washington, kicks off its 10th annual season. Each night, from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, the bustling streets of Bellevue, are magically transformed into an extravagant winter wonderland.

Photograph by Bill Brooks

Snowflake Lane at The Bellevue Collection, where hundreds of teen performers transform the streets of Bellevue into a memorable holiday destination.

Drum roll please. Snowflake Lane, one of the most beloved holiday events in the Seattle area, kicks off its 10th annual season. Each night, from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, the bustling streets of Bellevue, Wash. are magically transformed into an extravagant winter wonderland. Falling snow, twinkling lights, enchanting characters and lively musical dance performances set to such holiday classics as Jingle Bells and Run Run Rudolph, mark this much-anticipated tradition.

The 20-minute nightly outdoor show, which starts at 7 p.m. and is free to the public, draws 10,000 spectators each night to the streets surrounding The Bellevue Collection, the Pacific Northwest’s largest shopping and entertainment destination.

Nearly 250 of the area’s most talented teen performers are the stars of the show, entering weeks of rehearsals from late October through November to prepare for the nightly event which began on November 28. Auditions for the show’s Toy Soldier Drummers, Jingle Belle Dancers, Snow Storm Drum and Dance Crew, Jingle Elves and Snow Princesses were competitive but fun.

“We’ve been coming to Snowflake Lane with our parents for years and couldn’t wait for the chance to audition,” said Joe Hafner, a 18-year-old triplet who finally made the cast as a Toy Soldier Drummer in 2012, along with his brothers, Peter and Will, who are both Reindeer. “This incredible production means so much to so many people and we’re all thrilled to be part of the Snowflake Lane family and show.”

Dressed in lavish costumes, Snowflake Lane performers treat holiday revelers to a jolly good time with professionally choreographed song and dance numbers produced by Greg Thompson of Greg Thompson Productions. Posing for snapshots and handing out candy, to the delight of those who line the streets from Bellevue Way to NE 8th Street each night, is all part of the act for these one-of-a-kind Snowflake Lane characters, who have become holiday fixtures in the lives of so many over the years.

Joining the country’s list of retail streets whose over-the-top holiday transformations have become legendary, must-see destinations, Snowflake Lane is no longer the city’s best kept secret, drawing spectators from near and far.

Kemper Freeman, CEO and chairman of Kemper Development Company and the visionary behind The Bellevue Collection, the retail heart of Seattle’s Eastside, envisioned creating an engaging holiday experience in Bellevue and found his inspiration on New York City’s Fifth Avenue and Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

“On a trip to New York, I was really struck by Saks Fifth Avenue’s snowflake-themed light show and wanted to bring something just as memorable and magical to the people of Bellevue,” says Freeman. What started as an event to create a festive holiday atmosphere, Freeman says, has evolved into something much more meaningful than he could ever have imagined for his native community: a life-changing experience for hundreds of young performers and tens of thousands of spectators. “After weeks of intense preparation, these teens literally give their hearts and souls to the Snowflake Lane production night after night, bestowing enough holiday joy on our community to wrap the world many times over.”

This gift to the community costs Freeman, a life-long Bellevue resident, and his family an estimated $1 million annually, including wages for each teen performer, whose contribution to the community, Freeman says, is priceless. “Year after year, they amaze and delight. Because of them, Snowflake Lane has become a special holiday tradition, especially for families with small children who dream of becoming Snowflake Lane performers when they grow up.”

About The Bellevue Collection
Owned by Kemper Development Company, The Bellevue Collection is the largest shopping and entertainment destination in the Pacific Northwest, serving 23 million visitors annually. The Bellevue Collection includes Bellevue Square, a super-regional upscale shopping center, Bellevue Place, a mixed-use property featuring the Hyatt Regency Bellevue and small boutiques and Lincoln Square, anchored by the Lincoln Square Cinemas, restaurants, home furnishings and The Westin Bellevue hotel. With a distinctive collection of 250 of the finest shops, 25 sit-down restaurants, a 16-screen premier cinema, 1,100 luxury hotel rooms and over 10,000 free retail parking spaces, all in one location. The Bellevue Collection is a shopping, dining and nightlife and entertainment experience unlike any other in the region.

About Greg Thompson Productions
For more than 30 years, Greg Thompson Productions has been one of the most prolific production companies in the world, staging hundreds of shows for theatres, casinos, cruise ships, television and film. Based in Seattle, Washington, Greg Thompson Productions has produced more than 800 shows in 18 countries on three continents, including hundreds of musical revues, from pop to rock, country to Motown, circuses to showgirls. Greg Thompson Productions has produced the Snowflake Lane holiday show since its inception in 2005.

For more information visit http://www.SnowflakeLane.com or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as we capture a decade of memories at #SFLmemories.

Contacts:
Jennifer Bebon, jenniferbebon(at)maxcompr(dot)com, 203.913.2384
Anna Schryver, anna(at)maxcompr(dot)com, 608.225.5476
Gillian Good, gillian(dot)good(at)kemperdc(dot)com, 425-460-5834

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