Paragon waitress took lead in Christmas celebration

Jaime Bagnariol has always dreamed of getting a job promoting events, and this year she got her big chance. A part-time waitress at the Paragon Bar & Restaurant and full-time staffer in Nordstrom's accounts-payable department, she organized this year's Holiday Magic event on Upper Queen Anne Hill on Dec. 1.

Paragon co-owner Todd Ivester knew of Bagnariol's interest in event promotion and recommended her for the unpaid job, she said. Her timing was perfect, too. "Some of the people who had done it in the past were burned out," Bagnariol explained.

The event wasn't staged on the cheap, either. "I know we raised almost $10,000 to put it on," she said of money that came from $250 donations from each participating business. "I did the majority of the work after that."

Sponsored by the Upper Queen Anne Merchants Association, the work included hiring entertainment that featured the Dickens Carolers, the Squirrel Butter duo, a guest appearance by Mrs. Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman, among others, she said.

Businesses put on their own shows the night of the event as well as providing cookies and cider, Bagnariol added. "But that was totally up to them."

There was also a fire engine parked in the Safeway parking lot across the street from the Paragon, and a holiday double-decker bus was tooling around the neighborhood as well, she added. And there was a new touch this year: "We got the street trees lit for the first time," Bagnariol said.

"I've gotten a lot of good feedback," she said of the public and the businesses-and business was booming that Friday night.

Bagnariol's not sure if she'll tackle the job next December, but there might be a bonus. "Todd [Ivester] would like to see me get paid if I do it again next year," she smiled.

But this year was fun for Bagnariol even if she didn't get paid. "I'm always filled with the holiday spirit," she explained. "I love all holidays."

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