When the sun dips below the horizon, and the year comes to a close, Whatcom County lights up with festivities for all, in true northern style. Here is a 2018 list of must-see holiday events in Bellingham, Blaine, Birch Bay, Ferndale and Lynden. Bring your camera to capture photos of Santa! Then continue the fun on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. New Year’s events are located towards the bottom of this blog.
Fairhaven Winterfest, Nov. 23 – Dec. 22, 2018. Festivities begin the Friday evening after Thanksgiving in the Fairhaven Historic District, with a Holiday Art Walk and the arrival of Father Christmas. Fairhaven Winterfest continues on Sat., Nov. 24 and each Saturday leading up to Christmas with horse-drawn wagon rides through the district, visits with Santa, a Find the Elves Treasure Hunt, Holiday Market and special lighting of the district in thousands of glittering orbs.
Claire vg Thomas Theatre presents It’s a Wonderful Life, Nov. 23 – Dec. 9, 2018. Based on the beloved 1946 film, this musical faithfully follows George Bailey’s life from his childhood dreams to his midlife disappointments and beyond, as we all take a journey to discover whether his life has mattered at all. Cinematically scored and theatrically staged, this adaptation breathes musical life into a familiar story, while retaining the warmth, humor, and pathos of the original. A new holiday classic for devotees and newcomers alike. The Claire vg Thomas Theatre is located at 655 Front Street in Lynden (inside the Lynden Dutch Mall.) Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Thurs., Fri., Sat and 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $10, $12, and $14.
Deck the Old City Hall, Whatcom Museum, Nov. 23 – Dec. 30, 2018. The holiday spirit will be brought to life as the Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall building is decorated with garlands, wreaths, and sparkling lights, and features more than 20 themed, decorated trees. In addition to the festive decorations, the program feature visits with Santa and Wally the Museum Mouse.
- Visit with Santa at Deck the Old City Hall, Sat. and Sun., Nov. 25 & 26; Sunday, December 3, 12:30-2:30
- Visit with Wally the Museum Mouse Saturday, December 2 & 9, 12:30-2:30 pm
- Deck the Old City Hall Cocktail Party, Friday, December 1, 5:30-8p. $50 per person, 21+ event
Olde Fashioned Christmas in Ferndale, Nov 30 – Dec 2, 2018. This is an event for kids, parents and grandparents to share in the joys of Christmas past, as well as Christmas present. Each year, volunteers of the Ferndale Heritage Society meticulously decorate the 12 historic, log cabins in Pioneer Park. Kids can write a letter to Santa in the one-room schoolhouse, mail them in the one-room post office, dance a jig, create a craft and visit Santa.
- Hours are Friday, Nov 30 from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1 from 1 to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 2 from 1 to 5 pm Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for children. Pioneer Park is located at 2004 Cherry Street in Ferndale.
Holiday Harbor Lights in Blaine, Nov 30 – Dec. 1, 2018. A variety of activities occur in Blaine on this first weekend of December. On Friday and Saturday: a Homemade Arts and Crafts Christmas Bazaar is hosted at 674 Peace Portal Drive, and the Blaine Library hosts a winter book sale (610 3rd Street). Saturday features a Holiday Lights Obstacle Dash Run/Walk at 3:00 p.m., a community tree-lighting, and caroling at 4:30 p.m., and visits with Santa at H Street Plaza and Pizza Factory at 5 p.m. A lighted boat parade in Drayton Harbor can be viewed from 6 to 7 p.m. on Saturday. For more details see Blaine Holiday Harbor Lights.
Lynden Lighted Christmas Parade, Dec. 1, 2018. Bring your parka, your warm boots, your lawn chairs and a thermos of hot cocoa to warm your spirit with a dazzling display of lighted fire trucks, tractors, dump trucks, cars, floats, wagons and farm equipment down Lynden’s Front Street, snow or shine! The procession starts at Fairway Center and travels east along Front Street through downtown, beginning at 6 p.m.
Santa Train, Nov 30- Dec 2, Dec 7-9, 14-16, 19-23, 2018. Ready for a “Polar Express” experience? This fun nighttime activity takes place from 5 to 9 p.m. at Minature World Family Fun Center near Birch Bay. As Christmas approaches, the Forest of Imagination changes into a magical wonderland full of over one million lights brightly twinkling in the night! As the train slowly winds its way through this enchanted land, the children’s eyes are bright with wonderment. Parents will also share this magical enchantment, remembering Christmases past when they were young and full of the mystery of it all. This is an outdoor activity. Be sure to dress warmly!
At the end of the 20-minute ride, Santa is waiting for the youngsters and the young at heart to get their pictures taken and tell Santa what they want for Christmas. Every Train Ride comes with a free Hot Chocolate and a Candy Cane from Santa Claus to add to the festive air. Prices are $13.95 adults (ages 13+) and $9.95 children (ages 2-12).
Swing Christmas Carols, Dec. 1, 2018. Swing Connection, Bellingham’s community big band, will hold its annual Christmas concert on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 7 – 9 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 110 Flora Street in downtown Bellingham. The event is free (with a suggested donation of $10) and fun for the whole family. Featured vocalist will be Cheryl Hodge.
The Nutcracker by Northwest Ballet at Mount Baker Theatre, Dec. 1-2, 2018. Get dressed up for an evening at the ballet. Northwest Ballet Theater presents The Nutcracker in a similar style as the original version first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892. Performances are held at the Mount Baker Theatre. Performances are Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10-$35.
The Nutcracker by OPUS and BAAY at Mount Baker Theatre, Dec. 5 – 6, 2018
OPUS Performing Arts and Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth (BAAY) have teamed up to present a fun rendition of The Nutcracker at Mount Baker Theatre on two evenings Wednesday, Dec. 6 and Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. OPUS’ younger ballet students as cupcakes, peppermints, gingersnaps and other denizens of the Kingdom of Sweets, as well as their advanced dancers in the iconic roles of Dewdrop, Nutcracker Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy. OPUS adult ballet students will also perform in supporting roles throughout the evening. BAAY performers ages 9-16 will be showcased as the infamous rat army, manipulators of large-scale puppets, and in choral interludes. Tickets are $20 general and $12 for kids age 12 and younger. To purchase tickets, visit mountbakertheatre.com. The Mount Baker Theatre is located at 104 N Commercial St, Bellingham, WA 98225.
Holiday Port Celebration, Bellingham Cruise Terminal, Dec. 7 – 9, 2018
The Holiday Port Celebration features an incredible Gingerbread House (and gingerbread everything) Competition, sponsored by the Port of Bellingham. Come see holiday creativity at its finest. The fun also includes performances from local bands, choirs, and dance troupes, along with a horse-drawn wagon and tractor wagon rides, art activities for children and photos with Santa Claus.
- Hours for the overall Holiday Port event are Friday, noon to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dec 7-9, 14-16, 2018
Charlie Brown is back at BAAY, and so is Evan Ingalls. After months traveling abroad, they’re both here to invite us to stop and consider again what togetherness means. This holiday season, explore with Lisa and the team as we tell this story, where materialism gives way to the spirit of love and generosity. Performances are held at BAAY Theatre. Performances are held at BAAY Theatre and are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. & Sundays 2 p.m. More details at baay.org.
Music in the Bellingham Library: Whatcom Flute Ensemble, Dec. 11, 2018
The Whatcom Flute Ensemble will perform a free concert of holiday and winter themed music in the Lecture Room at the Bellingham Central Library on Dec. 11 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend and no registration is required. The library is located at 210 Central Ave. in downtown Bellingham.
O Christmas Tea: A British Comedy, Dec. 12, 2018
Following the smashing success of their 2016 and 2017 North American comedy tours, London’s 3-time Impresario award-winning comedians James & Jamesy return with their outrageously funny and brilliantly inventive Christmas comedy O Christmas Tea. Show is Wednesday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Mount Baker Theatre.
White Christmas with Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, Dec. 16, 2018
Join the Whatcom Symphony for a family-friendly concert, including holiday classics like Sleigh Ride, a Festive Sounds of Hannukah suite, and an a capella rendition of Silent Night at Mount Baker Theatre, beginning at 3 p.m.
This season’s Holiday Magic concert will feature over 100 choir students from Happy Valley Elementary, Lowell Elementary, and Geneva Elementary for a fun family sing-along in the first half. At intermission, students of the Stuen-Walker Studio will continue the festivities in the Walton Theatre where all kids are invited to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa—marshmallows included, of course. In the second half, Dudenbostel is joined by vocalists Heather Dudenbostel, Eric Rieger, and others for selections from White Christmas, including Sisters, Snow, and more. Tickets start at $15. Details at whatcomsymphony.com.
A Winter Solstice Concert with SeaMuse, Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.
Celebrate the winter solstice with traditional Celtic and Balkan tunes, seasonal songs and poems, strings plucked & bowed, woodwinds & drums to fire up the longest night of the year, at Firehouse Arts & Events Center, 1314 Harris Ave., Bellingham. A tradition for many years, the concert brings together four friends who love to create new musical compositions and arrangements to share with their audience. Tickets are $18 adults, $6 youths age 6 to 17, and can be purchased at Village Books, Community Food Co-op, and online at seamusebellingham.brownpapertickets.com.
“This is world music in the holiday tradition including Greenthal’s superb originals,” writes Chris Lunn, editor of northwest music quarterly Ancient Victorys. SeaMuse, comprised of Stanley Greenthal, Christos Govetas, Kip Greenthal, and Kim Goldov, plays music from Greece, Turkey, and the Balkans, as well as songs and instrumentals from Brittany, Scotland, and Ireland. A mix of traditional and original, the music and poetry touch on themes of love, challenges of the times, and stories from life experience.
Allied Arts Holiday Festival of the Arts, Nov. 16 – Dec. 24, 2018. This 39th annual festival features the work of over 100 local artisans and craftspeople. The affordable, locally handmade products range from jewelry, paintings, wearable art, specialty foods, and art from found materials. Fill your weekends with live local music, artist demos and workshops, and bring the kids in for fun art projects. The 2018 festival is located at 1530 Cornwall, Ave., Bellingham, WA.
- Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Closed pm Thanksgiving Day and closing at 3 pm on Dec. 24. www.alliedarts.org
Holiday Bazaars: Here’s a link to our updated 2018 list of holiday bazaars, craft shows and shopping events in Bellingham and Whatcom County.
Home for the Holidays, Nov 15-17, 2018. This annual shopping event promises a fabulous selection of seasonal creations to trim your “Home for the Holidays.” Distinctive gift items, a few shabby antiques and delightfully delicious gourmet foods. The vendors who participate have been hand-picked for their very special creativity. www.homefortheholidaysbellingham.com
- Hours are: Thursday – 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday – 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday – 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sleighbells Ring – Bellewood Acres’ Holiday Festival, Dec. 8 – 9, 15 – 16, 22 – 23, 2018
Bellewood Acres is pulling out all the stops for Christmas preparation. The farm is open daily. Shop here for fresh cut trees and wreaths, as well as unique holiday decorations and gifts. Start the day with breakfast in their Country Cafe at 8 a.m., or finish the day with a visit to the distillery, open until 5 p.m. Special activities on the first three weekends of December include the following:
- Santa Claus visits, Saturdays and Sundays, noon – 4 p.m.
- Horse-drawn Trolley Rides, Saturdays and Sundays, 1 – 4 p.m.
- Live Caroling, Saturdays and Sundays, noon – 5 p.m.
- Cookie crafting for kids
The farm is located at 6140 Guide Meridian, Lynden. Bellewood Acres will be closing at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. For more details go to bellewoodfarms.org, or call 360-318-7720.
New Year’s Eve
Annual Ring of Fire and Hope, Birch Bay, Dec. 31, 2018, 7 p.m. Revelers ringing in the new year start with lighting road flares along the Birch Bay shoreline. Anyone can participate. This is a spectacular sight as the bay becomes a ring of fire, signifying hope for the coming year. For a small donation, flares are usually available at the Birch Bay Visitor’s Center.
Masquerade at Midnight at Semiahmoo Resort – Dec 31, 2018 – 5:30 p.m – 1 a.m. Ring in the New Year at Semiahmoo Resort, Golf, and Spa at Masquerade at Midnight, featuring a cocktail reception, dinner buffet, photo booth, games, and of course, a champagne toast. We’re also thrilled to announce that Spaceband will be joining us to rock our way into 2019 with a full dance floor and chart-topping tunes. For reservations see semiahmoo.com.
New Years Eve Party at Overflow Taps in Bellingham, Dec 31, 2018- 6:00pm-1:00am. Ring in the New Year with Overflow Taps! Includes: A complimentary champagne cocktail, meal by Övn Wood Fired Pizza, party favors, photo booth, music w/ DJ Troy Justice at 9:30pm, East Coast countdown and Midnight countdown. $18, get your tickets here.
New Years Eve Party at Overflow Tap in Lynden, Dec 31, 2018- 6:00pm – 1:00am. Includes: A complimentary champagne cocktail, meal by the East Coast BBQ, party favors, photo booth, music with a DJ from 7pm-10pm, East Coast countdown and Midnight countdown. $18, get your tickets here.
New Year’s Day
Polar Bear Plunge at Birch Bay, Jan. 1, 2019, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. This local tradition has been ongoing since 1982 and has become an international destination on New Year’s Day. Be sure to bring towels, a blanket and an extra set of warm clothes! More details here.
Lake Padden Resolution Run and Polar Dip, Jan. 1, 2019, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. For those who like a good fun run before they plunge into ice cold water, try this event at Lake Padden. Silly costumes are encouraged! More details here. (Check the City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation Facebook page by December 31 to find out if the event has been canceled due to algae.)
Polar Bear Plunge in Sudden Valley, Jan. 1, 2019, 10 a.m. – Noon. Join Sudden Valley Community Association for their first Annual Polar Bear Plunge at the Sudden Valley Marina! There will be fire pits, a warming tent, FREE Hot Cocoa and Cider, Hot Adult beverages for purchase, and prizes for best costume.