As if on cue, the temperature dipped Friday evening and a light fog hung over the Capitol building in Olympia.
Inside the rotunda, hundreds found warmth amid the marble walls and the tradition of an annual tree-lighting ceremony that marks the end of another AWB Holiday Kids' Tree Project.
This year's project raised more than $23,000 for rural families in need. More than 100 AWB member businesses and individuals contributed funds that will be spent by representatives from 14 fire departments in seven counties to buy food, clothing and gifts for families in their communities.
As is tradition, the ceremony included musical performances by Kids in Koncert and introductory remarks from AWB's board chair.
"At AWB, we truly believe that the Holiday Kids' Tree Project is one of the best things we do each year," AWB Chair Doug Bayne said.
The tree-lighting fell on Dec. 7 this year, and Bayne took note of it.
"Today is a memorable day for World War II veterans, both those deceased and living," Bayne said. "For all of us veterans, my fellow veterans that have served, we would ask you to keep them in your thoughts and your prayers. Perhaps in a very near season, they can truly celebrate world peace during the holidays."
AWB President Don Brunell spoke briefly, introducing outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire, who helped light the tree for the last time as governor.
She had an assist this year from First Class Boatswain's Mate Shane Abold of the U.S. Coast Guard, his wife, Erin, and sons Trenton, 4, and Taylor, 2.
After reading an official proclamation, Gregoire invited the young Abold boys, wearing vests and ties, to light the tree.
Moments later, Santa Claus arrived and took his traditional seat at the base of the tree, a 25-foot noble fir donated by AWB member Rayonier.
And another holiday season was in full swing.
TVW streamed the ceremony live on the web. Check it out below if you missed it.