One of Lynden’s founding fathers will be honored in the second annual Billy Waples Day, Sunday May 7, and the community is invited to join the celebration from noon to 5 p.m.
The festivities include free chowder and ice cream cones from Drizzle, bread from Avenue Bread, giveaways and promotions by Village Books, tours of the Inn at Lynden and a Beer Garden hosted by Overflow Taps.
But the real attraction is the Passport to Prizes giveaway. Guests who pick up a Passport at any one of the merchants and get it stamped are eligible to spin the wheel for a chance at a multitude of prizes and entrance to Grand Prize drawings that include five overnight stays at the Inn at Lynden, and “Billy Bucks” – $5 coupons that can be used as cash for goods from any merchants inside the Waples Mercantile Building.
The annual celebration of W.H. “Billy” Waples (1875-1962) was initiated last year by Matt and Teri Treat, co-owners of the Inn at Lynden, Jeff and Debbie McClure and the Waples Mercantile Building retailers. “Billy Waples was a visionary in Lynden,” said Matt Treat. “His original enterprise was The Lynden Department Store and he was known for offering free chowder feeds and providing “scrip” to help carry the community through the Great Depression.”
Mr. Waples owned the Lynden Mill & Light Company, which operated a lumber mill in town and was responsible for bringing electric lighting to the city’s streets. In addition, he was a driving force in bringing the first railroad to Lynden and establishing the Lynden Fair.
“Our complimentary cups of chowder and Billy Bucks “scrip” are a salute to the generosity of this great man,” said Matt Treat, co-owner of the Inn at Lynden. “Mr. Waples’ department store carried a wide variety of goods and the unique collection of businesses here today, all under the one roof he built on Front Street, continue his legacy in Lynden.”
There will be a live, on-site radio broadcast and the Lynden Fire Department will also be making an appearance. “On a day we are honoring a man who dedicated much of his life to bettering Lynden, we thought it would be fitting to also honor Chief Barr, who is retiring after 35 years of service to the Lynden Community,” Treat said. “Ordinarily a hotelier would shudder at the thought of a fire truck in front of their building, but on this day we welcome it!”
The 35-room Inn at Lynden opened its doors December 2015 in the century-old Waples Mercantile Building in Lynden’s historic downtown district. Just eight years previously, the building was almost completely destroyed by fire damage. Today, the historic structure balances luxury, style and comfort with many tributes that honor Lynden’s rich history, and is one of only a handful of hotels in Washington State on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Inn shares space with a number of boutique retailers including Village Books, Drizzle, Bellingham Baby Company, Overflow Taps and Avenue Bread.
Images available on request.