Friday, June 15th, 2018
Family Fun at the Commercial Street Night Market
Hilary Parker

The Commercial Street Night Market combines a little bit of food, art, music and, of course, shopping into one of downtown Bellingham’s newest evening attractions. The event is hosted by the Downtown Bellingham Partnership, the same organization that puts on Downtown Sounds.

Photo by Sarah Climaco.

For this event, Commercial Street is closed down for vendors, food trucks and local organizations to come together and celebrate downtown Bellingham. If you’re not sure where to go, head down Holly Street and take a right at Commercial – you won’t miss the blocked off street.

The Night Market got its start about four years ago, but my family’s first experience with it was during its special holiday engagement during the December Holiday Night Market. (Spoiler: It was cold! But the holiday lights and general cheer gave the market a great vibe.)

Family enjoys the Commercial Street Night Market, Bellingham

My family enjoys the Winter Commercial Street Night Market, Bellingham

After our brief (and totally fun) encounter with the Night Market last winter, we decided to revisit it during the first market of 2018 in May.

Commercial Street Night Market

When you arrive there are many activities for the family to enjoy – it’s just a matter of deciding! The kids first big decision may be picking between the small rock climbing wall brought in by Vital Climbing Gym and the free arcade game from Ruckus Room. (Be sure to have your kiddos in closed toe shoes, so they can climb the rock wall.)

Photo by Sarah Climaco.

After winning free prizes, we headed for the free face painting. Because summer hasn’t officially begun until you get a unicorn or a football painted on your face.

Photo by Sarah Climaco.

Stilt walkers from the Bellingham Circus Guild made for an impressive welcome to the market, which spans Commercial Street between Holly and Magnolia streets  – the same block as the parking garage, which is still open and accessible during the market. Their silver winged costumes and stilt walking made all of the kids at the Market stop and stare. Last year, the Bellingham Circus Guild brought a variety of performances too – it was exciting seeing them back!

Photo by Sarah Climaco.

Youth from local dance troupe Dancing for Joy performed, followed up by DJ Tru-ah spinning some danceable tunes. Live chalk muralists created art before our eyes – and chalk was on hand for everyone to add their artistic contribution.

Chalk art at Commercial Street Night Market

Vendors range from clothing to woodworking to jewelry to sweet treats, such as truffles and drinking chocolate from Evolve Chocolate. My son loved the drinking chocolate, which came with a homemade marshmallow.

Another highlight was having the kids meet Bellingham police officers. For them, it was like meeting a celebrity on a motorcycle!

Photo by Sarah Climaco.

The Night Market seems to be one of downtown’s best-kept secrets – in talking with friends, only a handful know about it. I think its time has come to get noticed.

Crowd watchers dancers, Commercial Street Night Market

From pizza from Pizza’zza to West Coast Pops, there are a variety of fun food vendors at the Market as well. I ran into my friend Abby Yates at the May market. She and her husband were there with their food cart, Chow Gourmet Hot Dogs.

Photo by Sarah Climaco.

Their menu is full of fun hot dog options – who would have known there could be so many different toppings?  (Thanks for the delicious dog, by the way!) Abby was new to the market as well.

Photo by Chow Gourmet Hot Dogs.

“I can’t believe I have missed out on the Commercial Street Night Market in years past. It was so much fun and everyone there was in such great spirits,” Abby told me in a Facebook conversation after the event. “My daughter had a blast hula hooping, blowing bubbles and checking out all the things to see – from the stilt walkers, the dancers, the bands and all the vendors. … I can’t believe it’s free to attend and so much fun for all.”

Girl and hula hoop, Commercial Street Night Market

You can expect the evening to close out with more live music, and even dance circle or two. And if you’re not sure which dance moves to bring, you and always just hula hoop!

Photo by Sarah Climaco.

The Night Market runs from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. 2018 dates include:

  • June 15
  • July 20
  • August 17
  • September 21
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About the Author:

Hilary Parker is a writer and editor living in Bellingham. She and her children love discovering all that Bellingham and Whatcom County have to offer.