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Bellingham
Saturday, October 24, 2020

Neighborhood gathering aims to bridge a divide

By Micah Evangelista

The chime of harmonicas, guitars and live karaoke danced with the breeze down the streets of the York neighborhood on Saturday as residents gathered for the first annual York Yard Crawl.

The crawl featured neighborhood-wide yard sales, art showings, garden walks and live music.

People and dogs of all ages littered the streets of the neighborhood admiring some of the local crafts or chatting over a glass of lemonade and a cookie at one of the many stands posted on the curbs.

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People attend a sale at the York Yard Crawl on Saturday, July 7. // Photo by Micah Evangelista

 

June Hathaway, a six-year York resident, wanted to have an event that brings everyone in the neighborhood together. In the past, there has been a divide between long-time homeowners and students in shared housing, she explained.

“I really wanted to foster a more positive vibe,” Hathaway said.

The event was inspired by other neighborhood gatherings around Bellingham.

“I’ve been attending the Sunnyland Stomp since it started 10 years ago and I thought, the York is at least as cool as Sunnyland,” she said.

Hathaway feels that many people in the York area have special talents, it just takes a little push to get them to share it with others.

“It’s a way of reminding people that their neighborhoods are full of hidden strengths and hang-outs that only need the gentlest coaxing to rise up and make themselves known,” said Mark Sherman, President of the York neighborhood board of directors.

Hathaway had fliers printed that mapped out the area with places to stop along the crawl, one of those was Crosby Glass Studio.

“I’ve been working with stained glass for at least 10 years,” Erin Crosby said.

 

Stained glass made at Crosby Glass Studio in the York neighborhood. // Photo by Micah Evangelista

 

Crosby had been renting in the York neighborhood for years, and just recently purchased a home there. His skill and attention to detail was obvious. The intricate and colorful designs were a hit among people passing by.

The sound of live music in the distance drew wanderers towards Potter Street. There, East Coast Dave and the Midwest Swingers provided lawn-jams from the porch of the home that percussionist Scott Watts rents with his girlfriend.

“We’re always up for community minded events, it was a blast,” said Dave Maguire.

The trio, made up of Dave Maguire, William Lau and Scott Watts are all long-time Whatcom County residents.

That wasn’t the only live music to be heard, though. Down the street, Betty and Jim McNeely sat outside their home with a yard sale on Gladstone Street.

The couple owns Bread and Wine Fellowship. They live in one half of the building, while running a gospel church in the other half.

Betty sat with a sheet of song recommendations. While members of the community perused the goods for sale, she serenaded the audience with an amazing rendition of “At Last” by Etta James.  

After a few hours of yard-crawling, people headed toward Nelson’s Market, either for a quick refreshment or lunch at Marlin’s Cafe that has been serving the York Neighborhood since 1895.

The event was an excuse to do what a neighborhood is designed to do: get to know the people who live next door and appreciate the hidden skills among the community.

“The York has one of the strongest webs of community of all the 25 neighborhoods of Bellingham,” Sherman said. “Over the years we’ve been known for our active participation in our city’s political life, fighting for our single-family zoning, the historic character of the York.”

 

East Coast Dave and the Midwest Swingers jam from their porch at the first annual York Yard Crawl. // Photo by Micah Evangelista

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