As a summertime celebration of our nation’s birth, the 4th of July is among the most cherished of American holidays and Bellingham events.

And this year, Peoples Bank — a mainstay of the Whatcom County business community — will be the title sponsor of Bellingham’s annual 4th of July Spectacular, the day-long festival held at Squalicum Harbor’s Zuanich Point Park, in collaboration with the Port of Bellingham and Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BRCC).

After several years of pandemic-related restrictions, the 2023 Peoples Bank 4th of July Spectacular is shaping up to be a vibrant return of full-fledged community celebration, complete with live entertainment, a beer garden, and beautiful fireworks over Bellingham Bay.

Three live bands and performers from the Bellingham Circus Guild will highlight the festival’s live entertainment. Photo courtesy Peoples Bank

Bringing People Together

Kamyar Monsef, Peoples Bank’s chief retail banking officer, has lived in Bellingham for over 25 years. He has fond memories of watching the fireworks from various parks, and of attending waterfront activities with friends and family.

“The 4th of July is an event that all of us at Peoples Bank have greatly valued throughout our lives,” he says. “This is just one of those events that brings the community together.”

So, when the BRCC found itself needing a new title sponsor for the event, Monsef says the Bank didn’t hesitate to ensure the decades-long fireworks tradition continued. The festival additions from the Chamber and Port, he adds, have truly turned the 4th of July celebration into something special.

“Together we have created an event for everybody,” Monsef says. “No matter your age, or whether celebrating with family or friends,  there’s a lot of fun things to do.”

Guy Occhiogrosso, chamber president and CEO, says the 4th of July represents a time when Americans of all backgrounds can come together. In creating a festival of events beyond fireworks, the chamber is helping fulfill its mission to create a great place to live, work, and play together.

“People can enjoy the fireworks from multiple places in the community, in multiple different ways,” Occhiogrosso says. “The event intends to create a sense of place at various locations for people who want to engage with each other a little deeper.”

Stephanie Wiley, community outreach manager for the Port of Bellingham, says the 4th of July festival brings out people who traditionally might not spend much time at the harbor and waterfront’s public spaces. 

 “We love the overall sense of community and gathering that happens during the festival,” she says. “And the fireworks are always a great show. We are thrilled to have Peoples Bank on board as our title sponsor.”

Entertainment Abounds

The Peoples Bank 4th of July Spectacular begins on Tuesday, July 4 at 2 p.m., and continues until the fireworks show at 10:30 p.m.

Children will be able to enjoy games and art projects provided by Inner Child Studio in the Kids’ Zone, while performers from the Bellingham Circus Guild will also be on hand to entertain. Plenty of local food vendors will be on-site, and this year’s beer garden will feature great brews from Kulshan Brewing Company, Boundary Bay Brewery, and Bellingham Cider Co.

Peoples Bank will be providing beer garden volunteers, as well as handing out giveaways throughout the day.

Schantell Porter, the chamber’s program and events manager, is especially excited about the live music she booked for the festival: Analog Brass, The Whags, and The Walrus.

“We have three really great bands that are going to be playing, and they’re all very excited,” she says. “It’s going to be a great day.”

Getting There and Back

As one of the largest community events of the year, parking and traffic are always something to be mindful of.

Walking or biking is always a great idea, and this year, Let’s Bike Bellingham will be offering a free bike valet service. Bike parking will be monitored during the festival’s entirety. There is limited parking at Squalicum Harbor, and Wiley says the Port is working with NW Safety Signs to help traffic management. Nevertheless, it will be crowded when the fireworks end.

“There will be a lot of vehicles trying to get out of the park at the same time so it just takes a while,” she says. “Be sure to have some patience.”

Occhiogrosso also reminds residents that with the city’s fireworks ban, the festival’s fireworks display is the safest, most legal way to enjoy your 4th of July pyrotechnics.

No matter where you might watch the fireworks from, Monsef says the fact it provides a chance to gather with those you care about makes Peoples Bank’s sponsorship of the fireworks a great thing.

“People celebrate this event from all over town,” he says. “The gathering of people and community is its  true value.”

Hours of fun festivities for people of all ages will take place this July 4th at Zuanich Point Park in Bellingham. Photo courtesy Peoples Bank


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