Improving the local economy and revitalizing the downtown area of Ferndale are the two main goals of the Ferndale Downtown Association. By sponsoring community events, such as this year’s Harvest Festival and the Spring City-Wide Clean Up Day, the association is an integral part of the Ferndale community. As such, the association is always looking to get more individuals involved in their mission and greater outreach programs.
There are 25 members of the downtown association and all work in conjunction to create sponsored events throughout the city of Ferndale. The annual Harvest Festival, Spring City-Wide Clean Up and Outdoor Holiday Light Competition are the association’s main events throughout the year.
The Spring City-Wide Clean Up Day was the first event the downtown association put together when they originally formed in 2005. Every spring, the association and residents of Ferndale come together to pick up litter, recycle objects and work on small weeding projects throughout the town. The event usually lasts for four hours.
All projects and events sponsored and put together by the association are funded via member dues and donations the association receives. The group always encourages any of those interested in helping out downtown Ferndale to come to their meetings which happen quarterly.
Most recently, the Ferndale Downtown Association is looking to help businesses in need of new locations. The goal is to put small businesses back to work by helping them find viable locations for their stores. By working together with small businesses, the association will help them find leases and work toward their goal of revitalizing and re-establishing Ferndale’s local economy.
The association utilizes the National Main Street Center’s four-point approach in order to meet and ultimately surpass the goals they have set for their city. The four-point approach system focuses on economic restructuring, promotion, organization and design. The downtown association plans to use these four aspects to establish Ferndale as a vibrant and desirable downtown location. The main focus of the revitalization efforts takes place between Ferndale’s Main Street, Pioneer Bridge and the new Ferndale Library.
The members of the association take pride in watching their events grow into annual mainstays. The Ferndale community has responded well to the various events organized by the association and events such as The Harvest Festival and Spring City-Wide Clean Up Day have come quite a long way since their inception.
The idea for the Harvest Festival started nine years ago, when association members decided they wanted to have a fall-oriented festival for the entire Ferndale community. This year the festival took place in a parking lot the association rents from the city of Ferndale. The lot is in between the Ferndale Boys & Girls Club and the Pioneer Pavilion Community Center. As always with October in the Northwest, the Harvest Festival organizers were prepared for rain, they even had tents on hand, and the rented lot came with a covered pavilion. Fortunately, it was an absolutely beautiful day – sunny and in the low 60s. We couldn’t ask for a better Oct. 15 in our part of the country. The rain behaved and decided to stay away.
Five members of the downtown association were on hand at the festival to make sure everything ran smoothly. And local students from Ferndale High School’s leadership class provided extra assistance to run some of the activity booths and stations.
Taking place from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. the Harvest Festival isn’t the longest of events, but in those two hours the organizers managed to pack in lots of fun activities for both kids and adults alike. Pumpkin bowling was a big hit for adults and children alike. Aiming on adding at least one new event a year, the Harvest Festival planning committee decided pumpkin golf would be the best new addition for this year’s festival. Participants used real golf balls and mini golf clubs to try and hit the balls into the carved-out mouths of small pumpkins There was no doubt, pumpkin golf was a hit with the kids. Throughout the day the station was constantly in use.
Innovation and the willingness to try something new are important to the Ferndale Downtown Association team. This mentality is how the association approaches all of their events and programs. The team aims to make both their events and city more vibrant as they continue working toward a new and revitalized Ferndale.