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Fairhaven is looking for help to save this holiday tradition

A horse-drawn wagon rolls down 10th Street outside Fairhaven Village Inn on Saturday, Nov. 28, in Bellingham.
A horse-drawn wagon rolls down 10th Street outside Fairhaven Village Inn on Saturday, Nov. 28, in Bellingham. eabell@bhamherald.com

A Fairhaven holiday tradition is in danger of going dark because of a lack of funding.

Fairhaven merchants have started a grassroots fundraising campaign to pay for the installation of holiday lights in Fairhaven’s trees and the Village Green in late November through December. A Light Up Fairhaven campaign is underway and donation jars are popping up at stores.

A GoFundMe account has also been started to raise $25,000 by the end of September.

The money would be used to pay for the lighting and support other activities that happen during that time. It would also establish a fund so it can be built on for future holiday events, said Diane Reinsch, who co-owns the 1 Paperboat gift store. She also is on the Winterfest committee for the Historic Fairhaven Association. The fund is currently at about $3,000, Reinsch said.

The lighting receives no funding from the city.

In past years the money was raised through sponsorships, usually from Fairhaven merchants, and the work was donated by a few volunteers. The association is attempting to secure sponsors, but the hope is that it becomes more of a community effort, Reinsch said.

“Our goal is to create a magical village and we want everyone to be proud of being a part of it,” Reinsch said.

RTS Fairhaven Lights 2
Evan Abell eabell@bhamherald.com

Along with the lighting, Fairhaven traditionally has winter carriage rides, musicians and entertainment that would be supported by the fund. If money goals are reached, one addition the committee is proposing is decorating the large tree near the Village Green and making that part of the tree lighting ceremony.

As word gets around about the fundraiser, Reinsch is encouraged by the initial buzz and responses. It is a tight deadline, however, so she hopes the response remains strong in the coming weeks.

Along with the GoFundMe website, details about the Fairhaven Winterfest can be found at Fairhaven.com.

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