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Each year, Winterfest brings festive magic to the historical village of Fairhaven. This season, the annual celebration kicks off on Saturday, November 25 with a very merry packed schedule.

Week 1

  • Small Business Saturday
  • Winterfest Silent Auction at the “HUB” 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Visit with Father Christmas at The Village Inn from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Carriage Rides at The Village Inn from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Holiday Pop-Up Market at Firehouse Arts & Events Center from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Live Entertainment and Tree Lighting at 10th & Mill from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Winterfest Art Walk from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

“Winterfest encompasses the community and our beautiful and classic area,” says Fairhaven Association Executive Director Heather Carter. “Fairhaven is such a great and walkable community, and we like to add a little something every year to Winterfest events. The main events are every Saturday, starting on November 25.”

On November 25, the annual tree lighting ceremony will commence at 4 p.m. accompanied by live entertainment. Photo courtesy Fairhaven Association

Small Business Saturday will highlight the heart of Fairhaven, local craftsmen, artisans, and entrepreneurs while encouraging visitors to shop locally with the newly introduced Frequent Shopper Card. “For every 50 dollars a guest spends at any of our village businesses, they can turn in the card and be entered to win some prizes,” Carter says. “All of your holiday shopping can be done here in Fairhaven.”

The first weekend event also features the popular official tree lighting ceremony at 10th and Mill at 4 p.m.

“The Artwalk is back, and it takes place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.,” Carter continues. “We’re doing what we call the Winterfest Kickoff and Silent Auction here at our hub, which is located at 1106 Morris Street. We will have postcards and maps of the village and PortaPixie Events is doing a free souvenir photo booth in Finnegan’s Alley.”

Take a romantic carriage ride every Saturday during Winterfest between noon and 3 p.m. Photo courtesy Fairhaven Association

Week 2

  • Visit with Father Christmas at the Village Inn from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Carriage Rides at The Village Inn from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Firelight Stroll at Lake Padden Creek Trail, Harris Ave from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Winterfest Bonfire at Stones Throw Brewery from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Romantic and simply magical, the Firelight Stroll has long been a favorite pastime for Winterfest enthusiasts. “The Stroll is a huge event we’re super proud of,” Carter says. “It’s a luminary walk through the Lake Padden Creek Trail. It is the same night as the Lighted Boat Parade and the Gingerbread Festival that takes place down at the port, and it’s really fun because people can spend the whole day here in the village and into the night.”

At the end of the day, there will be a family-friendly bonfire at Stones Throw Brewery featuring little bonfires with s’mores and their holiday ale.

The Firelight Stroll is one of the most beloved events every year at Fairhaven’s Winterfest. Photo courtesy Fairhaven Association

Tales of the Season

On December 7, join in and listen to a set of winning stories written by Whatcom County residents centered around an intriguing theme from 6 to 7 p.m.

“This year, the Tales of the Season writing contest is themed ‘A Midwinter Night’s Dream,’” says Carter. “We encourage local people to write a story of about 300 words to be submitted. We go through and pick selected stories, and then we have a reading at Village Books. Last year, we had over 25 stories submitted.”

The 2023 Fairhaven Winterfest begins on November 25 and concludes the weekend of December 16. Photo courtesy Fairhaven Association

Week 3

  • Visit with Father Christmas at The Village Inn from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Carriage Rides at The Village Inn 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Lighted Bike Parade Fairhaven Departure at Hillcrest Church

In week three, the festivities continue with a dazzling display of illuminated cyclists riding through town. “The Lighted Bike Parade is a great collaboration we have with downtown Bellingham,” says Carter. “We encourage people to decorate their bikes with lights. The Fairhaven departure is up at Hillcrest Church with the downtown departure from Depot Market Square. Then, they all meet at Boulevard Park where they have a contest for best decorated bike alongside some entertainment and food trucks.”

Week 4

  • Visit with Father Christmas at The Village Inn from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Carriage Rides at The Village Inn from 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Winterfest concludes in week four without any major events — just pure holiday spirit.

“It’s a real nostalgic, old-fashioned experience for people,” Carter says. “We want people to purchase from these artisans, local craftsmen, and small business owners rather than going online and shopping at a big box store. We want people to celebrate our amazing village.”

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