You may take notice when girls clad in corsets, feathers and frilly skirts walk the twilit streets of Fairhaven or Bellingham. Don’t be alarmed – you didn’t travel back in time! Rather, these women are bringing the past to us. The Good Time Girls work to show us the quirky history of our weird town, from touring old brothels to hearing the scary happenings of Bellingham’s past lives.
Wren Urbigkit, a tour guide with this unique group, started off as a fan before joining the mission. “I saw the very first add that Sarah and Marissa [company founders] placed in the paper,” Wren said. “Feminism, history and a good costume? All my favorite things! I went on their very first or second public tour and became a sort of groupie. At the beginning of the season [in 2014] they needed some volunteers for the Holly Street History tours and I, of course, signed right up. At the end of that volunteer stint they asked me if I would like to guide. To me, this was a dream job. I was honored to join such a smart and funny group of history-loving women! I am one of those weird people who loves public speaking and as a kid I had a secret desire to be a stand up comedian, so it’s a natural and fortuitous fit that I can combine with my other passion for history.”
Wren fits right in, as the tour guides mix fun and fact. The goal of each tour is, as their name says, to have a good time.
“My favorite tour is our Fairhaven Sin and Gin tour,” Wren said. “Fairhaven is full of quirky history, from Dirty Dan Harris to those weird concrete plaques found in Fairhaven sidewalks, to the cringy and surprising things working girls could get at the historic Fairhaven Pharmacy. All are things that modern people can relate to and that make history come alive. Also, I love wearing a corset!”
When asked about her most surprising or interesting piece of local history, Wren said, “I have a couple of photographs in my home of the Bellingham Towers. The tower used to have a huge red-lit vertical Bellingham sign on top. It was finished in 1928 and you could see that sucker for miles around. When they had the grand opening for the towers they paid two girls from New York City to come and dance the Charleston at the top of the building! I just love that we had our own little piece of Twenties glamour in Bellingham. The sign only lasted a few years. Apparently it swayed precariously in the wind and groaned and creaked as it did. A little unsettling to say the least. I am holding out hope that someday they will replace it, though.”
Besides dressing up and acting as both entertainer and teacher, Wren is busy with her family, her passion for music and other work. “When I’m not doing tours I am first and foremost a mom to two amazing girls, who are 7 and 10. I also play the cello, which I love. I give lessons to beginners and help my ten year-old, who is in her first year of orchestra. I also work in the ticketing office at The Mount Baker Theatre.”
At the end of 2017, founders Marissa and Sara announced that they will be stepping down from leadership, while Wren and tour guide Kolby LaBree will be taking over. New tours and more good times are just around the corner!