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OPINION: Bell Tones: Winterlude – or, what to do before the commute

The waterfront offers many exciting events for young people like yourself

Downtown Bellingham, Wash. alight with holiday decorations on Dec. 12, 2023. The city offers a variety of holiday events throughout the month of December. // Photo by Finn Kurtz

A lot of people say I have an old soul. They likely mean that in the sense I enjoy old turns of phrase, dress like a professor and have esoteric, antiquated interests. This is all absolutely true, but there’s another reason why I embrace this aesthetic – it’s an excuse to kvetch about whatever irks me at the present moment.

Okay, it may be true that Seattle, where many of us are from, has a bevy of festive events to enjoy the holiday season. Sure, those who are not from Bellingham may want to go home during break to see friends and family and other such nonsense. But before you peel out of C-lot at mach nine the split second you finish up your last final and barrel down I-5, at least allow yours truly – your resident Bellingham resident — to interest you in some of what your favorite small city (yes, that’s a thing) has to offer beyond being simply a college town (please, I’m begging you, we’re more than a college town). 

Alright, alright, perhaps I shouldn’t get so worked up. Yes, other places in Washington are nice too. But if you’ve read my previous columns, you’ll know that I grew up in Bellingham, and there’s little I enjoy more than introducing my classmates from faraway places to Bellingham beyond campus. I’m an old chunk of coal, admittedly, but I’ve been known to have a pithy remark and inventive suggestion every now and again.

So, while you’re waiting for finals week to finish up, consider this – like me, you probably totally forgot to take advantage of Black Friday. You’ll be scrambling to find a suitable offering to your mother, granddad, aunt, dog, special someone, etc. Don’t worry, pal, because the Meloy Gallery on W. Holly Street has you covered. You can pick up an affordable piece from local and international artists – whether it’s cat paintings by Amy Scherer or earrings from Sandy Wills, the Gallery is offering animal-themed art for your gift-giving needs every Friday through Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.

Well, by this point, you’re sticking around through the weekend post-finals, so why not enjoy yourself a bit more by visiting the Shop Small Holiday Makers Market at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal? Running Dec. 16 and 17, the market offers art, jewelry, food and more from 50 local vendors. This is quickly turning into a piece on local artists, so why don’t I lean into it by also mentioning the Waterfront Artist Studios Holiday Art Mart, also on Dec.16 and 17, which will be held at Waterfront Artist Studios on Central Avenue. 

But by the 17th, I’m sure you want to high-tail it back to your hometown. Understandable (well, my commute is a ten-minute car ride from campus to my neighborhood, so I suppose “understandable” in a purely conceptual manner, but I digress), you’ve done plenty to placate me by, as I say, not taking your car into hyperspace the minute you hit “submit” on that essay. But consider coming home a little bit early and you could participate in the Polar Bear Plunge on Jan.1, 2024, off of Birch Bay. There is even a costume contest!

Well, take or leave my suggestions, I suppose. I do try my best to encourage my fellow Vikings to explore Bellingham. There truly is much to do beyond Western Wednesday’s bar crawls and a stroll along the boardwalk. Though it’s a win-win situation for me either way – the fewer people that stick around, the shorter the lines are for cookies at the various festive events. Happy holidays!

Finn Kurtz

Finn Kurtz (they/he) is the Opinion and Outreach Editor of The Front for summer quarter. He is a history and political science double major and a journalism/news editorial minor in their fourth year at Western. In his free time, he enjoys looking in bookstores, going on walks in the woods, and trivia. 

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