Annual Bellingham and Whatcom County Events

Annual events in Bellingham and Whatcom County typically begin on New Year’s Day in January and continue through New Year’s Eve in December. These fun activities range from festivals and garden shows to parades and art walks.

Get an idea of the kinds of things that happen in Whatcom County, and then check the events calendar to learn more details about scheduled events! 

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December

Celebrate New Year’s Day with a quick chilly dip in the swimming area at Lake Padden, then warm up with some coffee, hot cocoa, and snacks. Before your dip, walk or run around around the beautiful lake (2.6-mile loop) as part of your New Year's resolution. Bring a costume, a camera, and a change of warm clothes!

Polar Bear Plunge at Birch Bay

This annual New Year’s Day ritual in Birch Bay draws hundreds of participants and onlookers each year. The Polar Bear Plunge is becoming a destination spot for the holiday. Participants come from as far away as Germany, Tokyo, Chicago, and British Columbia to plunge into the bay’s chilly water.

Meet local and regional makers and taste their products, including Chuckanut Bay Distillery, located right in Downtown Bellingham. The makers will be pouring samples in pop-up tasting rooms within businesses and buildings with interesting history. Sip, nosh, and explore the local craft beverage scene and learn about the rich history of Downtown Bellingham!

Fairhaven Chocolate Walk

With 18 participating businesses and restaurants, the Fairhaven Association's 2nd annual Chocolate Walk will surely be a hit with any chocolate lover's taste buds. Ticket holders will check-in at the Fairhaven Association Hub in Finnegan’s Alley where you’ll receive a chocolate collection bag and a passport map to all the participating businesses. As you stroll around the beautiful Historic Fairhaven, take in the beautiful scenery and perhaps get a delicious lunch at one of Fairhaven's many restaurants.  

Legendary Banked Slalom

This famous snowboarding competition has been held at the Mt. Baker Ski area since 1985. Its list of winners includes some of the biggest names in snowboarding history.

My Circus Valentine

Since 2010, The Bellingham Circus Guild has presented this show that brings together local and regional acts to speak to our common human need for love and connection. Profound and spectacular, thrilling and tender, heartbreaking and breathtaking - this show is not to be missed! Includes both all ages performances and 21+.

The Wings Over Water Birding Festival in Blaine celebrates the incredible variety of migratory birds that flock to Drayton Harbor and Semiahmoo Bay each winter and spring. Attend the festival for a day-long birding expo with free activities for the whole family, including wildlife demonstrations, bird viewing stations, exhibits, displays, craft vendors, and more.

Whatcom Farm Expo

The Whatcom Farm Expo is an annual free event hosted by the Whatcom Conservation District and Whatcom County Public Works. Learn about all the resources available to you, from local organizations to businesses and community groups. Sign up for the expo's E-News to stay up to date and get announcements for the 2023 Whatcom Farm Expo and other events!

Whatcom Cultural Arts Festival

The Whatcom Cultural Arts Festival celebrates the various diverse cultures that populate our great area. People of all backgrounds are invited to show off what makes their culture unique through fine art, craft, food, song, dance, storytelling, and any other creative endeavor.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Bellingham’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a “green” parade to honor our police and fire departments. The downtown parade features a grand marshal, dancers, pipe and marching bands, plus human and green-powered floats. All are welcome.

Runnin' O' The Green 5K & 8K

Join Bellingham's Runnin' O' the Green 5K or 8K run/walk. Costumes are not require, but make the day so much more fun. Stick around after the event to enjoy the Bellingham St. Patrick's Day Parade. Register early for the best rates!

Founded in 2015, CASCADIA International Women’s Film Festival is a Bellingham-based film festival with global perspective, dedicated exclusively to showcasing the films of women directors from around the world.

The festival screens films; hosts educational panel discussions and Q&A sessions with directors and film industry professionals; presents a Script Studio; and stages social events where filmmakers and audience members network.

April Brew’s Day

Join local and regional brewers as they share their micro-brews for a fundraising event benefiting the Max Higbee Center, a nonprofit agency that provides recreational opportunities for teens and adults with developmental disabilities. Admission includes a collectible tasting glass and tickets for tasting beer. Local musicians are featured, as well as food from some of Bellingham’s finest food trucks.

Bellingham Beer Week 

Bellingham loves beer so much that there’s a whole week dedicated to our local brewers. Bellingham Beer Week began in September 2012 and has recently changed to occur in April with a like-minded group of publicans, craft brewers, and supporters of great beers from Bellingham’s Tap Trail. Previously, Bellingham’s many craft breweries and pubs (Chuckanut, Boundary Bay, Kulshan, K2, Aslan, Wander, Structures, Menace, Stones Throw, Elizabeth Station and McKays Taphouse) plan to participate, as well as numerous beer pubs, restaurants, and supporting businesses.

Whatcom County Home and Garden Show

The largest home show north of Seattle and it’s in Lynden! Come see the biggest and best display of products for your home and garden in Northwest Washington. With over 200 vendors there is something for everyone.

Bellingham’s annual Ski to Sea Race is a 93.5-mile, 8-person relay encompassing seven different sports from the snowfields of Mount Baker, down Highway 542 and the Nooksack River, all the way to Bellingham Bay via downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, running, canoeing, bike riding, and kayaking. 

The Fairhaven Festival marks the Ski to Sea finish line. Cheer on the participants and enjoy live music, food, crafts booths, beer gardens, and more. Ski to Sea attracts not only high-caliber athletes, but teams seeking non-competitive adventure and fun.

The Ski to Sea Race and Festival is held on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. The weekend before features a junior version of the Ski to Sea Race, with the Ski to Sea Junior Parade the evening before that race. The Ski to Sea Blossomtime Parade is held Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, as is the Ski to Sea Block Party at Boundary Bay Brewery.

Downtown Bellingham Spring Wine Walk 

Meander around downtown Bellingham shops as they host pop-up tasting rooms featuring a variety of regional wines. Attendees receive tasting tickets to redeem for the wines of their choice while retailers offer special deals.  

WWU Alumni Weekend

The WWU Alumni Weekend (formerly known as Back2Bellingham) is a Western Washington University alumni event filled with over 100 offerings that provide opportunities to reconnect with classmates, friends, faculty, staff, and students while taking advantage of diverse activities designed to help you reconnect with Western. The weekend is also a great way to share the Western Experience with your family.

Blaine Oysterfest

This is an exciting all-day celebration of all things oysters! The festival includes a street fair, cooking demonstrations, and preparing locally-sourced farm-to-table dishes with free samples. There will be shucking contests, slurping contests, Oyster Farm Tours, Oyster Judging Contest with prizes awarded, Plover Passenger Ferry rides, and lots of kids’ activities and free giveaways.

The Farmers Day Parade is a long-standing tradition honoring the economic and social impact of the agriculture industry on the community of Lynden and its surrounding area. The Farmers Day Parade - a parade different from many others - is filled with commercial, agricultural, organizational, and lots of community entries. Only in Lynden can you see a procession of tractors, animals, antique cars, and trucks mixed in with traditional floats, bands, and a variety of children’s entries.

Bellingham SwimRun

Discovered by the Swedes in 2006, they called it SwimRun, because you swim and run, swim and run, swim and run. Utilizing Lake Padden and the beautiful, forested trails that surround the lake, Bellingham SwimRun participants are treated to an inspiring and challenging course. You have your choice of the 15 km sprint length event (yes, in the world of SwimRun, 15 km is seen as a sprint), or the user friendly 5 km super sprint.

Birch Bay Kite Festival

This two-day festival celebrates everything kites with food, vendors, dancing, arts and crafts, beach walks, and more! 

Lummi Stommish Water Festival – Lummi Nation

The Lummi Stommish Water Festival began back in 1946 when World War II veterans were coming home, and Lummi World War I veterans decided to gather in celebration of their safe return. Stommish is a Cowichan word meaning “warrior,” and it has become an internationally renowned gathering, which includes the “War Canoe Races,” a “Sla-hal Bone Game” tournament, and an “Honoring All Veterans” Pow Wow. Stommish is a multi-cultural contemporary Coast Salish gathering which includes fun and enjoyment for the whole family. This annual event features athletic events, traditional singing and dancing, a traditional Lummi-Style salmon barbeque, a carnival and a moonlight concert series featuring Native comedians and local musicians all throughout the weekend. Admission is free and is open to the public.

Deming Log Show

The Deming Log Show features 31 events and exhibitions demonstrating the talents and strengths of local loggers. Don’t miss axe throwing, speed climbing, log rolling, chainsaw bucking, and the ironman. and the ironman. 

Padden Triathlon

The Padden Triathlon is an excellent first, second, or twenty-second triathlon. Short Course and Long Course available with relay teams welcome. Athena and Clydesdale divisions are now offered. Registration is capped at 325 entrants per race.

July is National Raspberry Month and at the peak of the summer harvest season Lynden hosts the Northwest Raspberry Festival, filled with delicious family-friendly fun!  Savor fresh raspberry sundaes on locally produced ice cream, listen to live jazz, and sidewalk shop all in downtown Lynden. Kids’ activities include inflatable games, face painting, a Rookies 3-on-3 basketball tournament, and Very Berry Storytime at the Lynden Library. Other parts of the festivities: the Annual Curt Maberry Memorial Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, a raspberry pancake breakfast at the Lynden Community Center, followed by a 5K fun run/walk, Razz & Shine car show, and wine tasting at Samson Estates located on a working raspberry farm.

Bellingham Festival of Music

Under the direction of maestro Marcelo Lehninger, the Bellingham Festival Orchestra brings together principal players from major American and European orchestras and exceptional musicians from regional and national ensembles to present concerts of classical music at the highest caliber of artistic excellence.

Bellingham’s 4th of July Celebration

Each year, the Port of Bellingham and the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce partner with local organizations to provide the community with a Fourth of July Festival at Zuanich Point Park. Festivities start in the afternoon and end around 10:30 p.m. with a grand finale of evening fireworks over Bellingham Bay! Activities include arts and crafts, kids' zone, a beer garden, live music, and food vendors.

Birch Bay Rollback Weekend Car Show

Head to Birch Bay for a nostalgic day looking at classic cars--and voting on your favorites. This annual event also has live music, activities, and vendors. 

Birch Bay Sand Sculpture Competition

Enjoy vendors, food, and, of course, amazing sand sculptures at this annual competition in Birch Bay! End the night with an outdoor movie. 

Blaine’s Old Fashioned 4th Festival & Street Fair

Come to spend the day celebrating the 4th of July in Blaine with day-long activities that include a pancake breakfast, a parade at noon, an arts and crafts fair with over 80 vendors, a show and shine, live entertainment, and plenty of good food.

Fourth of July with Semiahmoo Resort Golf and Spa

Join the special celebration on the 4th of July, complete with family-friendly beachside activities including lawn games, arts and crafts, face painting, plus live music and our Seaside Sizzle, the ultimate beach barbecue experience. At nightfall, turn your eyes across the way and enjoy the fireworks put on by the City of Blaine.

Downtown Sounds

Downtown Sounds is a series of free outdoor concerts for the entire family to enjoy. The event is celebrated in the Arts District of Bellingham, on the 1300 block of Bay Street. Held on Wednesdays, each night features performances from popular bands and music from various genres, local food vendors, and a 21+ beverage garden.

Bellingham Pride

The Bellingham Pride Parade began in 1999 with just a half-dozen picnic tables at Fairhaven Park. Today, the festivities have grown, and Bellingham Pride is now the second largest pride event in Washington State. The parade starts at Ohio Street and travels south on Cornwall Avenue heading towards Railroad Avenue in Downtown Bellingham. The festival takes place at Depot Market Square with live music, food, vendors, and more.

Tour De Whatcom

Enjoy all the NW has to offer in one beautiful ride: Mt. Baker, Lake Whatcom, valleys, rivers, lush farmland, beaches, and the Puget Sound. Rides vary from 22 to 100 miles – you’ll find a great ride for every member of the family on this supported ride which features rest stops benefiting local charities and an After Party at Boundary Bay Brewery.

NW Tune-up Festival

A community-forward festival, fueled by mountain biking, music, art and craft beer. This three day event features free bike demos, kids events, spectator-friendly exhibitions and competitions that span various pump track categories, visual artists, local craft beer garden, and wide-ranging musical acts on a waterfront stage!

Ferndale Old Settler’s Picnic

Pioneer Park is the spotlight of this annual community celebration in Ferndale, occurring the last weekend of July. Ferndale Heritage Society volunteers open the park’s historic cabins for public viewing. The overall event is organized by the Old Settler’s Association. It includes a parade, baseball tournaments, crafts, food vendors, a talent show, musical entertainment, non-profit expo, flower show, and beer garden. It is the longest continually running annual picnic in the state

Lake Whatcom Triathlon

This is how Bellingham does Olympic-Distance triathlon. The event welcomes beginner to elite athletes in individual and relay divisions. TRI Bellingham!

The Northwest Washington Fair is a six-day event located in Lynden, WA. Highlights include local ice cream by the Whatcom County Dairy Women, draft horse competitions, livestock judging, food and craft displays, a demolition derby, and nightly entertainment in the grandstands.

Bellingham Traverse

The Traverse is a multi-sport event for solo, tandem, and relay teams. The event has a strong salmon theme running through it. Participants (aka spawners) are encouraged to “think like fish” as they go through the course. This is a community event that displays a wide range of athletic abilities from the hard-core to those out in costumes just for fun. The public is encouraged to come out and cheer on the spawners. The event starts at noon at the Bellingham Farmers Market and makes its way through Boulevard Park, Fairhaven, Lake Padden, around Lake Samish, to Fairhaven and Marine Park. Finishers complete the last leg together up Wharf Street to finish at Boundary Bay. The Bellingham Traverse Course includes a 5.5 mi. Greenways Run, 6 mi. Mountain Bike, 18 mi. Road Bike, 3.4 mi. Trail Run, 3.6 mi. Paddle, 0.65 mi. Team TREK to the finish.

Downtown Sounds

Downtown Sounds, which begins in July and lasts through mid-August, is a series of free outdoor concerts for the entire family to enjoy. The event is celebrated in the Arts District of Bellingham, on the 1300 block of Bay Street. Held on Wednesdays, each night features performances from popular bands and music from various genres, local food vendors, and a 21+ beverage garden.

Drayton Harbor Maritime Festival

Head to Blaine for a two-day maritime-themed weekend packed with kids games, crafts, scavenger hunt, the “Prestigious George Raft Race,” pirate costume judging contest, arts, crafts & food vendors, model boat displays, and more!

Puget Sound Antique Tractor Show & Pull

Learn how farming was done in the good old days. This annual threshing bee and tractor show is held at Berthusen Park and includes threshing demonstrations, antique tractors, parades, steam-powered sawmill demonstrations, tractor pulls, and more.

Birch Bay Days and Crab Festival

Birch Bay Discovery Days is a great weekend for the entire family. Fun activities abound with a grand parade down Birch Bay Drive, arts and crafts fair (Saturday & Sunday), and a variety of food vendors. There’s plenty of more to do, including kite flying on the beach, clamming, wakeboarding, and lots of family fun.

Blaine Summer Fun in the Park

Enjoy a day of family fun at Marine Park with activities for the kids, delicious food, good music, and a beer garden. Wrap up the evening with a good old fashioned outdoor movie with family and friends.

Blaine Peace Arch Concert Series

These free one-hour concerts take place at Peace Arch Historical State Park each Sunday in August. The concerts are presented by Washington State Parks Folk and Traditional Arts Program, with additional support from the city of Blaine’s tourism advisory committee.

Noisy Waters Mural Festival 

At this new arts festival, widely acclaimed muralists gather in Bellingham, WA for a weekend of live painting, demos, music, parties and inspiration. The artists have three days to paint 8’x’8’ portable walls which will be auctioned off at the end of the event. The general public will vote for their favorite pieces and the top four will receive cash contracts to paint large murals in central Bellingham!

Whatcom County Farm Tour is an annual event where over a dozen farms around Whatcom County open their doors to the public. The farm tour is a festive day of fresh flavors and local food explorations. See the bounty of Whatcom County on this free, family-friendly self-guided tour. Enjoy leisurely strolls through fields and orchards, exciting interactive activities and the chance to discover the roots of abundant food grown in Northwest Washington. Choose a favorite few stops or be ambitious and hit them all. Held the second Saturday of September and organized by Sustainable Connections.

Bellingham Bay Marathon

Often called “the most beautiful marathon in the Pacific Northwest,” the Bellingham Bay Marathon offers scenic courses, with views of Bellingham Bay, San Juan islands, and North Cascade mountains

Mt. Baker Hill Climb

Ascend 4,098 feet from Glacier to Artist Point in just over 22 miles. This timed race offers Recreational and Competitive division including cash prizes for the top three Male and Female finishers. Scenic Hwy 542 is closed to traffic for this event.

Bellingham SeaFeast is a waterfront & seafood festival in Bellingham. Celebrate our rich maritime culture and heritage, thriving working waterfront, enjoyment and conservation of our water resources, commercial fishing and seafood industries, and the culinary bounty of our corner of the Pacific Northwest.

We look forward to welcoming you to the shores of Bellingham Bay this October!

Doctober Film Festival at Pickford Film Center  

Each October the Pickford showcases Doctober—a month-long documentary film festival dedicated to one of Bellingham’s proven favorite genres, the documentary. Doctober is the largest documentary festival in the Northwest, screening over 60 films in one month. For this festival the Pickford partners with local organizations to bring important issues to the screen; many presentations feature special guests, filmmakers, pre-screening receptions, and guided group discussions.

Whatcom Artists Studio Tour

The Whatcom Artists Studio Tour brings the public into artists' working studios for a two weekend, self-guided tour and sale. The Tour began with ten artists and has grown to be a well-orchestrated tour featuring over 50 artists working in more than a dozen different media, including 41 studios scattered throughout Bellingham and Whatcom County. The tour features both emerging and established area artists. Each studio highlights the work of the primary artist, and some may include additional artists as well, providing a unique and compelling variety of artwork.

Trails to Taps Relay 

Teams of 5-10 runners explore 30+ miles of trails, roads, and parks with leg lengths between 1.6 miles and 5 miles. Each transition spot is one of 10 local breweries and cideries throughout Bellingham. It all ends with an After Party and a pint glass and free fill for participants. Costumes are strongly encouraged, and the costume contest winner receives merchandise from the local breweries and cideries. 

Downtown Bellingham Trick or Treat

Head downtown for the annual Downtown Trick-or-Treat, where families enjoy a fun and FREE alternative to neighborhood trick-or-treating. Bring your costumed kiddos (& kiddos at heart) and stroll around to grab goodies from 100+ participating businesses.

Mount Baker Film Fest

Since 1999, the Mt. Baker Film Fest has been the way independent filmmakers share their work with a local crowd of avid winter enthusiasts. It shares some of the best films to recently have come out of the Baker community, as well as the greater independent ski and snowboard film industry.

The Beastly Frightful Unspeakably Spooky Circus of DOOOOM!

Every October, The Bellingham Circus Guild unleashes this frightfully popular Halloween show! Featuring juggling, magic, high-flying aerial acts, and wonderments that will spook and amaze you. Includes both all ages performances and 18+. 

It kicks off on the day after Thanksgiving, when Black Friday morning turns into a glittering Friday evening in Bellingham’s Fairhaven Historic District and the Victorian-era streets of Fairhaven are officially lit with thousands of tiny lights. The festival begins with an evening art walk through the district’s unique shops. Jingle bells and the familiar clop of hooves set the tone each Saturday (running the end of November-December) in Fairhaven as shoppers and families enjoy free horse-drawn wagon rides through city blocks built in the 1800s. Santa makes his appearance at the Fairhaven Village Inn.

Downtown Bellingham Holiday Wine Walk 

Meander around downtown shops as they host pop-up tasting rooms featuring a variety of regional wines. Attendees receive tasting tickets to redeem for the wines of their choice while retailers offer special deals.  

Allied Arts Holiday Festival of the Arts 

The Annual Holiday Festival of the Arts is a six-week-long (mid November-December) festival featuring the work of over one hundred local artisans and craftspeople. The affordable handmade products range from jewelry to paintings and wearable art to specialty foods. Weekends are packed with activities: hear live local music, catch some artists in action, and bring the kids in for fun art projects.

The annual Holiday Port Festival is the first weekend in December and takes place at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in the historic Fairhaven district. It features performances by local choirs, orchestras, bands, and dance groups. There are free family activities, including horse-drawn wagon rides, children’s art activities, complimentary gingerbread cookies and cider, just to name a few. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there as well. Meanwhile, sugar plum fairies transform the Bellingham Cruise Terminal into a sweet gingerbread house contest. Categories range from youth to professional bakers. Previous entries have created miniature versions of the Space Needle, Santa’s stable, and even the Washington State Capitol.

Bellingham Yacht Club Lighted Boat Parade

Head to Boulevard Park or the Fairhaven Cruise Terminal to see a parade of twinkling boats. A holiday party with music, food and beverages will be celebrated at the Bellingham Yacht Club following the parade. Members, guests and all registered parade participants are invited and several awards will be given for decorating excellence.

Blaine’s Holiday Harbor Lights

Enjoy a full day of family fun activities for everyone starting at 9 a.m. This event is a wonderful way to get into the holiday season with a pancake breakfast, bake sale, holiday bazaar, book sale, tree lighting, carriage rides, Santa sightings, caroling, and more.

Downtown - Fairhaven Lighted Bike Parade

Deck the halls and deck out your bike with for Downtown Bellingham's Lighted Bike Parade. Costumes encouraged, holiday cheer required!

Olde Fashioned Christmas in Ferndale

Bring your sweet tooth to celebrate Olde Fashioned Christmas in Ferndale during the first weekend of December. The city is home to Pioneer Park, featuring a collection of actual log cabins built by the first settlers to the region in the late 1800s. Each year, members of the Ferndale Heritage Society spend weeks decorating the cabins for the holidays as the pioneers would have done, then don period costumes to welcome visitors with traditional holiday cheer. Try homemade applesauce in a pioneer kitchen, write a letter to Santa in the one-room schoolhouse and mail it in the historic post office, sing carols on a horse and wagon ride, and, of course, enjoy a warm treat.

Lynden’s Lighted Parade

This event captures the ultimate charm of a farming community, as well as honoring Lynden’s Dutch roots. John Deere tractors, farm equipment, milk trucks, fire trucks, and antique cars are all wrapped in Christmas lights and joyfully paraded through town. The procession starts at Fairway Center and travels along Front Street throughout downtown Lynden. Visitors should bundle up in warm clothes and bring their own hot cocoa and lawn chairs. Don’t forget to take a tour of unique light displays and decorated storefronts throughout the city during Lynden in Lights. See illuminated designs including Nativity sets, Dutch children, poinsettias, and windmills shine brightly throughout the holiday season.

Annual Ring of Fire & Hope

Celebrating the transition of the New Year, the community of Birch Bay presents the Annual Ring of Fire & Hope on December 31. Taking place after dark, the crescent-shaped shoreline of the bay is lit with hundreds of road flares to signify hope for the coming year.

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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