Western Washington University, in partnership with the City of Bellingham, will host the Third Annual Paint B’ham Blue for WWU on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
This year, the Western Washington University Alumni Association has donated an additional $40,000 in energy-efficient LED lights, bringing the total to more than 250 illuminated trees donated for downtown (more than 2600 strands of lights.)
Over the past three years, the WWU Alumni Association has invested more than $90,000 in the Paint B'ham Blue for WWU Downtown Lighting Project, in addition to providing Viking banners on light poles. In the beginning of 2019, the festive blue lights will change to a warm winter white and remain up until March 1 to light up Downtown through the darkest days of the year. The lights will improve downtown safety and will be a welcome sight for new Western students exploring Bellingham after dark.
“Paint Bellingham Blue has become an annual tradition that celebrates the connection and shared community between Bellingham and Western Washington University,” said Mayor Kelli Linville. “I look forward to welcoming new and returning students to my alma mater as fall classes begin. Bellingham is proud to be the home of Western Washington University and students are a vital part of our community. Go Vikings!”
As is tradition, Paint B’ham Blue for WWU will begin when Western President Sabah Randhawa and Associated Students President Millka Solomon lead thousands of new and current students in a procession from Red Square on campus starting at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 – the first day of classes at Western. They will walk down State Street, to the parking lot of the Herald building, where students will sign the “Home of the Vikings” banner. The banner, courtesy of Signs by Tomorrow, will be installed in the Herald building parking lot for a year to show off the students’ signatures. Last year’s event had more than 1,700 students and WWU community members participate, with more expected for this year’s celebration.
Paint Bellingham Blue is such a great way to welcome new students to Bellingham, because it’s also a celebration of the connections between the campus, local Western alumni and friends, and the downtown Bellingham community.
“Paint Bellingham Blue is such a great way to welcome new students to Bellingham, because it’s also a celebration of the connections between the campus, local Western alumni and friends, and the downtown Bellingham community. I think it helps all of us appreciate the continuity between Western and Bellingham, and the greater sense in which we all have a place in this common community,” Randhawa said.
WWU alumni are encouraged to attend the WWU Alumni Reception at the Western City Center and then welcome students with cheers and cowbells on North State Street. The celebration will move from the Herald building parking lot to Depot Market Square, and will include live music, pop-up shops, food trucks, free food samples from Boundary Bay Brewery, the Community Food Co-op, and The Horseshoe Cafe and, at nightfall, fireworks over the Herald building courtesy of Rocket Donuts. The Herald building sign will then turn blue and the Viking flag will wave high over Bellingham.
New this year will be live performances from Project Red Thread, a collaboration of visual and performing artists. As part of Project Red Thread, local duo Noisywaters will perform with the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra on the event mainstage debuting their original song. Other performances from Project Red Thread will occur after the event in the Boundary Bay beer garden.
Paint B’ham Blue for WWU is in partnership with the City of Bellingham, Daylight Properties, Downtown Bellingham Partnership, Signs Plus, Boundary Bay Brewery, Argyle Salon, and Project Red Thread.
The event is sponsored by Peoples Bank, Rocket Donuts, Faithlife, Daylight Properties, Chmelik Sitkin & Davis P.S., Laird Norton Properties - Spectrum Joint Venture, and Woods Coffee.
For more information see B’ham Blue for WWU.