Shine Bright

A host of holiday happenings

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

On a recent late-afternoon sojourn through downtown Bellingham, rain was falling and darkness was swallowing the remaining light. I’d spent the previous two days dealing with a flooded basement, so even though the weather wasn’t ideal, it felt good to be out of the house and breathing fresh air as I navigated my way from the York neighborhood to Holly Street to meet a friend for happy hour.

I was running early, so I popped into the Greenhouse to peruse Christmas decorations and suss out possible gifts for family members. The festive displays buoyed my dampened spirits, and as I made my way down the main thoroughfare, numerous restaurant parklets were full of people gathered around glowing heaters. Collectively, their lights and warmth helped brighten the night.

In coming days, the urban core will get even more welcoming as Downtown Bellingham Partnership ramps up its “Shine Bright Bham” campaign—a combo of district attractions and holiday events and promotions taking place from Thanksgiving weekend through the end of December to celebrate the holiday season.

“We’re eager to collaborate with businesses and community partners to make Downtown Bellingham a welcoming destination for holiday spirit and spending,” DBP Program Director Lindsey Payne Johnstone says.

Beginning shortly after family and friends have gathered around the dinner table to give thanks at feasts both large and small (and hopefully vaccinated) those venturing out into the world will find more than 30 downtown storefront windows decorated for the season.  Choose your favorites from three categories—Best Selfie Station, Most Festive Parklet, and Stand Out Design—and cast your votes on the DBP website. By doing so, you’ll be entered to win a one-night staycation at Hotel Leo.

Additional events include Shop Small Saturday on Nov. 27—which encourages people to “go big by shopping small” at independently-owned businesses—as well as the First Friday Art Walk from 5pm-9pm on Fri., Dec. 3; Twinkle Tuesdays; a Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:30pm Sat., Dec. 4; a Holiday Happenings online calendar; a carefully curated Downtown Online Marketplace; a Downtown/Fairhaven Lighted Bike Parade taking place Sat., Dec. 11; and Santa Saturday Dec. 18 at Boundary Bay Brewery’s “Candy Cane Lane.”

Along with the Greenhouse, Hotel Leo, and Mallard Ice Cream, Puget Sound Energy is also showing its support for the campaign.

“PSE is proud to help Bellingham shine this holiday season and support our small business community,” Community Engagement Rep Liz Purdy says. “After another year of adapting to changing circumstances, local business owners have worked hard to keep the lights on and continue to serve our community—let’s celebrate the brightness together!”

Holiday happenings will also be taking place in historic Fairhaven through December, beginning with a Holiday Market and Tree Lighting from 11am-5pm Sat., Nov. 27 at the Fairhaven Village Green. Artists and crafters, local businesses and nonprofits and entertainment from the likes of the Bellingham Showstoppers and Bellingham Circus Guild will also be part of the festivities.

Additional Fairhaven Winterfest activities include visits with Father Christmas on Nov. 27, Dec. 4, Dec. 11, and Dec. 18; Holiday Cocktail Kits from Fairhaven bars and restaurants (to be picked up Nov. 26 and 27);  the return of the Fairhaven Firelight Stroll on Dec. 4; and the aforementioned Lighted Bike Parade on Dec. 11.

“Join us in feeling the magic this time of year,” organizers say. “Stroll among glimmering tree lights under winter sky, enjoy holiday decorations, listen to the clip-clop of horse hooves on cobble stone, the echo of train whistles, smell the boughs of fir and wood smoke in the chilly air.” 

For more details about Shine Bright Bham and Fairhaven Winterfest, go to http://www.downtownbellingham.com/holidays-downtown or http://www.enjoyfairhaven.com.

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