Fife celebrates its ‘Wonderful Life’

Pizza, storytime and Santa Claus.

That was the holiday jackpot William Tennison, 7, and his family hit in Fife on Sunday.

The event, It’s a Wonderful Life in Fife, featured gift vendors, a reading of “The Night Before Christmas” and, of course, a screening of the event’s namesake.

Karolyn Grimes, 73, who as a child starred as George Bailey’s daughter Zuzu in the holiday classic, talked about the film and helped Saint Nicholas read the Christmas book to the crowd.

William said he’d never seen “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But he knew a thing or two about the night before Christmas, and what he wanted this year.

“Beyblades,” a type of battling top, he said when asked before Santa Claus made his rounds of the event at Louie G’s Pizza.

The event also collected presents for children in need. Organizers offered discounted admission with a donation to Toys for Tots or food for Northwest Harvest at the door. That’s the spirit of the film, said Grimes, who lives in Port Orchard.

“The movie is about contributing to your community, making a difference and changing lives,” she said. “Each life is important, and each life matters.”

She wants children to grow up watching the film, she said.

“You remember watching it with your mother and your father,” Grimes said. “That’s a wonderful gift.”

William and crew didn’t plan to stay for the Sunday showing.

“It’s hard to get them to sit down and watch black-and-white movies,” grandma and Tacoma-area resident Laura Tennison explained, though she’s showed William and the other grandkids bits and pieces of it.

Maybe when they’re older they’ll finish it, she said. What’s William’s favorite holiday film, then?

“You know where he has the spiky hair? Jack Frost?” he said.

“Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause,” Grandma translated.

Toni Martin of Sumner said she was at the event Sunday to support her favorite pizza joint. She remembers seeing “It’s a Wonderful Life” in Tacoma with her sister a while after it came out in 1946, when she was a teenager. Grimes’ line is her favorite.

“I like Christmas stories,” she said. “It made you feel good. It’s a nice movie. The one I like the best is: ‘Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.’”