Friday night lights in downtown Bellingham

The Commercial Street Night Market opens at 6 p.m. Sept. 4 in downtown Bellingham.
The Commercial Street Night Market opens at 6 p.m. Sept. 4 in downtown Bellingham. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

It’s going to be a big night for downtown Bellingham this Friday, Sept. 4.

Not only will the Commercial Street Night Market unveil its many artists, vendors, musicians and the like from 6 to 10 p.m. in the 1300 block of Commercial Street, a few blocks away Faithlife will light up the sky with a permanent light show at 9:30 p.m. on the side of the Flatiron Building at Bay and West Holly streets.

Also, Hatch, a retail storefront that’s a program of Downtown Bellingham Partnership, with the aim of inspiring entrepreneurs to lease formerly dormant retail spaces downtown, opens at 6 p.m. with live music and refreshments.

There’s bound to be a good crowd because it’s also the night of the monthly Downtown Art Walk.

The idea for the Night Market was the winner from about 50 proposals submitted to Sustainable Connections’ KAPOW! design competition this summer at Mount Baker Theatre. The idea also won the competition’s people’s choice award.

The Night Market will take place 6 to 10 p.m. every Friday through Oct. 2, while the light show at Faithlife is scheduled to take place on weekends and for special events starting mid-September.

Rose Lathrop, green building and smart growth manager at Sustainable Connections, says “the Night Market is more than a market. It is an experience, with music, entertainment, live demos, food trucks, fashion trucks and 20 vendors offering products unique to the Pacific Northwest. Each night of the market will be special and different. No two night markets will be the same.”

Michelle Bouma, the owner of Mi Shoes on Railroad Avenue, says she chose to become part of the Night Market because it would be a great place to open Belle on Wheels Mobile Boutique, her new women’s clothing store that is a truck on wheels.

She also wants to attract people and families downtown after dark.

“I literally live, work and play downtown, and I want the idea that downtown is a scary, dangerous place to be erased from locals minds,” she says. “I hope that people come to the Night Market and see downtown after dark as a fun and safe place to be. I also hope this event draws attention to Bellingham’s creative population; there are so many of us in this community.”

Cullen Beckhorn says he’ll exhibit independent art books and comics from his publishing company, Neoglyphic Media. He says that donning his alter-ego, “Future Man,” he started the Alternative Library, a cooperative lending library, on Railroad Avenue.

“A big factor for me doing the Night Market is a desire to share the work I’ve been doing in publishing with people around Bellingham who might know me through my work with the Alternative Library, but aren’t aware of the work I’m producing through Neoglyphic Media,” he says.

“I’m really excited about this market, because it is set up to be a highly social gathering that celebrates our local culture creators and gives us a venue to show and sell our work directly in our community,” he says. “Anyone coming to the market might find things that they didn’t know existed here in town, and I expect that the next time an event like this occurs, we’ll be seeing even more people gathering to share their creations and ideas.”

Andrea Mae Warren Lawson, who grew up in Whatcom County, is the owner and maker of MW Soapworks. She says Bellingham Farmers Market is where she “fell in love with handmade soaps,” and she’s seen many shops and restaurants come and go in downtown Bellingham.

“When I heard about the Night Market that Sustainable Connections is putting on to celebrate and support the diversity of makers that we have right here in Bellingham, I knew I wanted to get involved,” she says. “Any event that encourages people to shop local and support their community is a noble one. This little city has so much talent and love that I have no doubt that the event will be fun and successful.

“I am sure I will see many people that I know from the normal downtown community, but I also hope to see people that wouldn’t normally seek out a farmers market or art walk happening upon this little event and enjoying as well.”

Commercial Street Night Market

When: 6 to 10 p.m. every Friday through Oct. 2

Where: 1300 block of Commercial Street

Details: commercialstreetnightmarket.com, 360-647-7093, ext 107