For those interested in a holiday shopping experience that is different from standing in long lines or on the computer, small Whatcom County businesses are offering another option.
Fairhaven will kick things off with its holiday festival Friday with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus from 3 to 4:45 p.m., according to Fairhaven.com. The annual lighting of the trees is at 5 p.m., while the holiday art walk is 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Horse-drawn carriage rides also will be offered on Saturdays during the holiday shopping season.
Many businesses throughout Whatcom County also will be participating in Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26.
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In downtown Bellingham, businesses are offering discounts and a passport stamp program that involves prize giveaways. After collecting six stamps, shoppers can enter a drawing for prizes, including outdoor-, food- and clothing-themed packages.
The businesses also will offer a variety of refreshments and their own giveaways.
Lynden businesses are also participating in Small Business Saturday events.
The downtown area has been sprucing up for the holidays, said Lindsey Payne Johnstone, events manager at the Downtown Bellingham Partnership. The city has installed new LED snowflakes along Holly Street, while Sustainable Connections is hosting a business window display competition.
During the month of December, parking at the bottom and top floors in the Commercial Street Parking Garage is free.