2nd Annual Lighting Festival Draws Hundreds

With their umbrellas in tow, over 400 people gathered in the streets and beneath building awnings to celebrate community during the 2nd Annual Lopez Island Village Winter Gathering and Lighting Festival on Friday, November 26.

Lopezians as well as visitors to the island warmed themselves with hot drinks around fire pits, nibbled on baked goods, and sang along with the holiday caroling of Take Four.

The Lopez Island Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored this free event, distributed Lopez Shop Local tote bags to the crowd, accompanied with a Holiday Shopping Guide and Coupon Book. Village businesses also stayed open for the Festival, offering a refuge from the rain and a start to the shopping season.

Becky Smith and Daren Holscher, organizers of the event, presented Bill Carpenter, owner of Lopez Village Market, with the Grand Lopezian Award for his service to the people of Lopez Island. Smith called Carpenter a “sound voice of reason in the community,” and gave him three framed photographs of Lopez from different eras.

Carpenter’s connection to Lopez began in 1959 when his parents bought Lopez Village Market, then called the Lopez Store, while it was in the Bay Building, in the space where the Enchanted Needle is now. Lopez had a population of about 600 then, and the Post Office was located in the market.

Carpenter and his wife Bonnie purchased the business from his parents in 1965 after originally visiting Lopez to look for vacation property. In addition to running the market, Carpenter served on the Catherine Washburn Medical Association Board for 20 years, the Lopez School Board for 10 years, and has been on numerous committees.

Lopez Store became Lopez Village Market in 1969 when Carpenter built a new facility and moved the store to its current location. He has since overseen four remodels. Carpenter’s son-in-law Aaron Dye now manages the business.

After Carpenter turned on the Weeks Water Tower decorations at 5pm, a fire truck horn signaled it was time for local businesses to do the same. Sirens sounded and lights flashed from the fire truck and police cars stationed nearby as everyone watched the lights of Lopez Village brighten the dark evening.

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