Oak Harbor stroll aims to shoo away the winter blues

— Created January 26, 2022 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

The Oak Harbor Main Street Association invites all those interested in fighting the “winter blahs” to its first ever Winter Stroll through downtown Oak Harbor Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. Participating merchants will have lots of merchandise to browse, plus there will be hot tea, cider, cocoa and treats to warm the taste buds and much more.

The Winter Stroll is hopefully the first of many such events on the horizon for OHMSA.

“Our plan in 2022 is to do themed strolls/walks the last Saturday of the month,” explained Marketing Coordinator Teresa Besaw. (Besaw is also Whidbey Weekly’s graphic designer.) “The hope is to get people walking/strolling around, shopping, seeing and getting to know businesses that maybe they had not checked out before.”

In addition to the warm refreshments, live music has been added to jazz things up even more.

“[There will be] live music at Harborside Village, vendors at The Loft at Fidalgo and Dock and Whidbey Island Macaroni Kid [will be holding a] book swap at Harborside Village,” Besaw added.

Always on the lookout for ways to attract people to downtown Oak Harbor, OHMSA found success with last year’s Sasquatch Walk. The organization hopes to build on that success with these monthly activities.

“Last year we tried last Saturday sale events, they didn’t really take off,” said Besaw. “The Sasquatch Walk was really popular. Several people told us they discovered places they never knew were downtown. Our hope is to continue these discoveries.”

“We are encouraging the community to come downtown and touch base with their favorite shop and also stop in new businesses and see what they have to offer,” said Margaret Livermore, interim OHMSA executive director. “It is important for people to see what businesses are downtown.”

Some businesses are pulling out all the stops, such as PNW Vibes, located in The Loft (at Fidalgo and Dock Streets).

“We have invited a few small businesses to our Loft building to share with our customers,” described PNW Vibes owner Juliana Uluave-Gould. “It helps our shops and businesses to offer sales and appreciation as well for the support, especially after the holiday season. We always want to be engaged with our seasons in Main Street. Especially during these dark months.”

Uluave-Gould said events like the Winter Stroll are a great way for Main Street merchants to communicate with and create plans for customers.

“I think we all like to have something to look forward to,” she said. “We’ve had great success from themed events that we would invite vendors, or entertainment to the experience. This is the season of inspiration and designing. We’ve changed over to the next lineup of designers, restocked on our popular items. It’s a great time to relax and take your time to walk through and simply enjoy our downtown Oak Harbor.”

Uluave-Gould added they are raffling off a swag bag filled with more than $200 worth of merchandise. Tickets are $5 each and will be available throughout the week and the day of the Winter Stroll. All proceeds will benefit North Whidbey Help House.

Find more information on the Winter Stroll online at oakharbormainstreet.org.

“We do not know how many will come downtown for our first event, but hope as people learn about our Last Saturday events that more people come,” Livermore said.

“Get outside and enjoy our beautiful views and discover some shops and restaurants in downtown Oak Harbor,” encouraged Besaw.