The Bothell-Kenmore Chamber of Commerce is putting on its third holiday-themed wine, beer and spirits walk on Dec. 14 in downtown Bothell.
Starting at 5 p.m., ticket holders are to check in at First & Main Design Market. There, they will receive a map showing which Main Street businesses are participating in the event and receive a wristband and tasting tickets. A ticket includes 10 tastings.
“It’s a fun, festive time,” chamber marketing manager Elizabeth Tackett said. “You can stroll and meander from shop to shop. I like to say we sip, socialize and shop.”
The previous incarnation of the end-of-the-year wine walk took place in September. But about three years ago, Tackett said the chamber, in part because of construction work, realized that more residents might be interested in attending the event if it tapped into things like holiday gift shopping.
“We wanted to bring more business, more people, more of the community down to Main Street,” she said.
Since the change, Tackett has been seeing more shops opting to participate. There is also more of an emphasis now on some of the additional components, like photo booths and live music. Participants are encouraged to dress up; Tackett loves seeing people’s “flashing antlers and elf boots and their bells.”
She said many of the participating businesses have voiced an appreciation for the spotlight the wine walk puts on Main Street.
“The best reward we see is when we have a business owner saying that this is the best thing that’s happened to Main Street all year,” Tackett said. “Another really rewarding part is just seeing our community happy and meeting their neighbors. We come together in more of a walkable community and we get to see so many of our neighbors living in the apartments coming down and getting to know their neighbors and small businesses. It’s always encouraging when, months later, we talk to someone that says, ‘I’m a client of such-and-such because I got to know them at the wine walk.’”
This year, 40-plus wines, beers and spirits will be offered at the event. Nineteen businesses are participating.
Tackett said when the chamber is deciding what drinks will be offered, the organization is attentive not only to which vendors are able and willing to collaborate but also the variety provided.
“It’s kind of a Rubik’s cube,” she said with a laugh. She added that this year, about 50 percent of the menu is wine-based, with other options being distributed from there.
Although supporting small businesses is one of the wine walk’s biggest aims, Tackett spoke of fostering togetherness as a priority.
“I hope the thing people take away from it is that Bothell and Kenmore both…are very much community oriented,” she said. “We love offering events right here where people can stay and enjoy themselves in their hometowns…It’s supposed to be a fun, happy time.”
For more information about the event, go to the Bothell-Kenmore chamber’s website at bothell