Girlfriends, goodie bags, door prizes and more are coming to Gig Harbor businesses as Girls’ Night Out kicks off the holiday shopping season from noon to 9 p.m. on Nov. 14.
Red will be the color of the day as balloons pave the way to participating merchants.
The fourth annual event, sponsored by the Downtown Waterfront Alliance, is a collection of more than 40 businesses that come together for a day of shopping, dining, demonstrations and giveaways.
“We brought this to the harbor modeled after a similar one in Olympia,” DWA Executive Director Mary DesMarais said. “We took the idea, and it morphed into its own experience we feel is like no other in the area.”
The event bring shoppers downtown to showcase businesses.
“There’s a great energy brought with the event,” said Josh Sherwin, the special projects coordinator for the DWA. “We have been planning since May, and the merchants are really excited. It’s a great opportunity to establish relationships with their customers.”
Sherwin is in his third year as the chair of the Girls Night Out committee.
“We listened to the feedback and made changes accordingly,” he said. “All the businesses will be open until 9 p.m. Everyone is in for the ‘shop and dine from noon to nine.’”
Along with evening hours will be a free limo service for shoppers.
“This will add an element of fun and adventure,” Sherwin said. “There are two limos with set stops to take shoppers from one end of the harbor to the other that was made possible by seven businesses.”
One of the most anticipated opportunities is to purchase a “goodie bag.” The logo bags will be filled with items that will be donated by participating businesses. The DWA has upped the number of goodie bags from 400 to 500. The bags will sell for $10.
“There are some amazing items donated by our merchants,” Sherwin said. “They are on presale at some businesses now and will be on sale until the event, unless they sell out.”
DWA already sold half of what is available. Businesses donate a minimum of 250 items or up to 500, making each goodie bag slightly different.
In all the bags will be a lighted compact pocket mirror from Anthony’s HomePort restaurant, a jade bracelet from Treasure Tradewinds Gallery, a calendar from Wilds Birds Unlimited, an ornament from Sea Hags and a key chain from Ship to Shore.
“The office will be a sea of red when we put the 15,000 items into bags all in one day,” DesMarais said.
“The first thing I see ladies doing is spilling out their goodie bag when they pick them up and see what’s in them to compare with friends,” she added. “This year, the quality of items is better than ever.”
The tote bag, donated by Java and Clay, also includes a coupon book to use for the day to shop and additional offers that expire at later dates.
Weathered Cottage, one of the sponsors for the limo service and print production, will celebrate its one-year anniversary on the event.
“Last year was a scramble to get everything together and open on (Girls’ Night Out), but it was worth as it was really fun,” Weathered Cottage owner Stacie Hannah said. “This year, I am excited, knowing what to expect and having worked to plan and prepare.
“Being part of the planning committee and seeing all the creativity going into the event has been a lot of fun,” Hannah said.
The shop carries reclaimed and repurposed items, as well as handcrafted pieces on consignment.
“I am looking forward to hosting the women who are coming together to have a good time with us,” Hannah said. “We’ll be taking Christmas photos, holding paint demonstrations and have a grand prize drawing.”
Some of the other events will include the “Finholm Shop Hop.” Shoppers will have an opportunity to get a passport stamped as they visit participating shops and restaurants to be entered into a drawing for gift certificates.
Many merchants will have door prizes, demonstrations, music and food throughout the day. Gallery Row will put a puzzle piece in each goodie bag. When women visit the store and place their piece in the puzzle, they’ll win the donated artwork if their piece fits in a picture.
DesMarais said downtown parking will be available, and the United Methodist Church on Pioneer Way has offered parking, too.
Girls’ Night Out has grown each year, and word of mouth is spreading.
“Bags are being sold out of Gig Harbor to people in Puyallup and Bellevue who are coming this year,” DesMarais said. “There are so many shops going all-out this year. It is a great reminder that downtown has an excellent selection of stores for people to shop at for the holidays.”
For more information, visit www.gighaborwaterfront.org.