Holiday celebrations for all ages abound in Whatcom County through December, from weekend festivals to one-day or one-night events.
Linda Harkleroad, vice-president of the Ferndale Heritage Society, discovered that the first old-fashioned Christmas in Pioneer Park was held in 1933. The log cabin museums are open to the public for guided tours for four months out of the year, but during Old-Fashioned Christmas, every cabin offers a hands-on craft or baking project for children.
In the schoolhouse, letters are written to Santa and mailed next door in the post office. Attendance has averaged 1,700 over the past few years. Kids of all ages find activities that entertain them, Harkleroad says.
“Crafts in the cabins are typically geared for young kids and their specific age abilities,” she said. “Refreshments are served and horse-drawn wagon rides are also included as part of the whole Christmas scene.”
It’s all about the Dutch over the winter holidays in Lynden. The Lighted Christmas Celebration begins with breakfast with Sinterklaas, a mythical figure with legendary, historical and folkloric origins based on Saint Nicholas, Dec. 2 at the community center, and ends with the lighted parade that evening.
“The whole day contributes to the spirit of Lynden in many different ways, “ says Tammy Yoder, marketing and events coordinator for Lynden Chamber of Commerce, which is the main organizer for the day.
“The breakfast with Sinterklaas continues on with the Dutch influences, and since we now coordinate his visit with the community center’s monthly breakfast, a lot of the older Dutch people get to relive their childhood, “ she says.
The parade itself promotes the family atmosphere, a big part of Christmas. Families and businesses work together on making the parade entries, while another large portion of the community makes a family event out of the evening, by bundling up in the cold with hot cocoa and treats while they enjoy the lights and sounds of the holiday, Yoder says.
The event is organized and sponsored by many people, but the Lynden Chamber of Commerce is the main organizer for the day.
The Holiday Port Festival features performances by local choirs, bands and dance groups; horse-drawn wagon rides; Santa Claus; and children’s art activities at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal.
There are free cookies and hot apple cider but the key attraction is the annual gingerbread house competition, which is not restricted to houses. Past gingerbread house competition entries have featured the Space Needle, the Alaskan ferries, and Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall building. Other entries have featured soccer games, comic book characters, and even a chess board with playable chess pieces.
Check the websites or call ahead for details. Events are in Bellingham unless noted.
Nov. 24-Dec. 31
Deck the Old City Hall
More than 12 decorated trees will be on display in this annual event at Whatcom Museum’s Old City Hall, with kids’ activities, story time and crafts. FREE
Details: 360-778-8930, whatcommuseum.org.
Fairhaven Holiday Festival
Santa and Mrs. Claus greet visitors from 3-8 p.m. Nov. 24 at the gazebo at Harris Avenue and 10th Street, followed by the official lighting of the trees at 5 p.m. at the Village Green. Holiday lights stay lit through the New Year. FREE
Holiday Port Festival at Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven features performances by local groups, family activities, horse-drawn wagon rides, children’s art activities, and the renowned gingerbread competition, with complimentary gingerbread cookies and cider. Santa and Mrs. Claus will also be around. FREE
Details: portofbellingham.com/141/Holiday-Port, 360-676-2500.
Ferndale Heritage Society members decorate historic log cabins in Pioneer Park and offer old-time activities. Kids can visit Santa and Mrs. Claus. $4 adults, $3 children
Lighted Christmas Parade
Lynden’s Christmas celebration begins with a downtown parade of lighted firetrucks, tractors, cars, floats, wagons, and farm equipment. Storefronts offer lighted displays throughout the holiday season. FREE
Details: lynden.org, 360-354-5995.
Lighted Boat Parade
Bellingham Yacht Club members light up the bay with their decorated vessels from Squalicum Harbor to Fairhaven. Viewpoints include Boulevard Park and Bellingham Cruise Terminal. FREE