Girls Night Out Blog #1
Who is this GNO Veteran?
My name is Cathy. I am a long-time resident of Gig Harbor and one of my favorite activities I LOVE is planning for and spending ALL day taking part in Gig Harbor’s Girls Night Out every year! Yes, I write the date on my calendar! Yes, I make my own map! Yes, I get up at O’dark thirty to stand in line to buy a Goodie Bag! Yes, I call all my friends and find out who will join me in a day of fun! Yes, as soon as I get my Red Bag I sort through my items and organize my stops for the day! Yes, my group gets all dressed up with lights and shiny ‘blings and bangles’ to let others know we are ready to have fun!
Showing off my plan of attack map and well scrutinized coupon book!
In the upcoming months I’m going to share with you some of my tips and tricks I use to navigate Girls Night Out in the Harbor. I will share with you my Map, what restaurants I stop at, some really unique shops and what they have to offer, and of course, my favorite stores and why they stand out!
But, I’m getting ahead of myself here. So, let’s start at the beginning...
What is Girls Night Out you ask?
Girls Night Out is the one day during the year where I - and anyone else who wants to participate and have fun - get to spend the WHOLE day with friends and family to play ‘tourist’ in my own back yard! It’s a day where I take the time to visit EVERY store on the Gig Harbor waterfront that is participating! I get to check out each store and see what they are all about, take advantage of special deals, enter contests, play games, try delicious food, meet the amazing business owners, and hang out with my friends! It’s a fun day! Now, who doesn’t want to do that?
Girls Night Out begins with buying a ‘Goodie Bag’ two weeks before the Girls Night Out date. I get up and stand in line at 7:00 in the morning with others who want to make sure to buy the ‘coveted bag’ at one of the shops that are selling. Usually there are people who come to buy their bags for their ‘group’ (since not everyone wants to get up early, or they work or have kids at home). Everyone wants to make sure they get their bag before they sell out! At that time, you will receive a coupon book that tells you what stores are participating, a map of the waterfront and where the stores are located, as well as what activities and contests are planned for that day. You then have a two-week window to figure out your ‘plan of attack!’ You will pick up your Red Bag full of goodies ON THE DAY OF the event.
It's 9:45am and we are soooo ready, rain or shine!
Girls Night Out is an all-day event that begins at 10:00 in the morning and continues until 9:00 at night on the second Thursday of November. The day begins with picking up your pre-purchased bag, at the store where it was purchased, and then you and your group decide where to go from there. The possibilities are endless! The day is what you make of it! You can go for a couple of hours downtown or fill your entire day with everything there is to do! I plan for the WHOLE day because I just don’t want to miss out on anything! And my group makes it fun! The Gig Harbor waterfront fills with ladies carrying Red Bags full of ‘goodies’ while traveling from store to participating store. This is a day to have FUN, be pampered, and have a special day for you and your friends!
So when I pay for a bag, where does the money go?
In each bag there are fun items as well as ‘experiences’ from participating Girls Night Out merchants. They want you to know them and to come to their store so that they can show you what they have to offer. The money that goes to purchase the Red ‘Goodie Bags’ helps support the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Alliance events and activities that take place throughout the year and enables them to do so much for the downtown area. What a fun way to provide support for so many things that help make Gig Harbor special, including:
* Beautiful summertime flower baskets
* Christmas lights on Pioneer and on the City Tree
* Veteran’s Banner Project
* Waterfront Farmer’s Market
* Merchant Workshops
* Waterfront Walking Tours
* Summer Trolley
* Gigging up the Harbor - Spring Clean-up Day
* Events and projects year-round - like Chalk the Harbor, Holiday Hayrides with Santa and Trick or Treat in the Harbor - that draw people downtown to help keep our beautiful town vibrant!
You can see this for yourselves by watching this special video from the Alliance called “The Story of the Red Bag.” Click here!
Girls Night Out is in November, why are you talking about this now?
I’ve been so excited because I know plans are in the works to make the 2020 Girls Night Out on November 12th the best it has ever been. The Alliance, along with participating merchants, has been planning on what items to add to the Red ‘Goodie Bags’, what offers and details to put in the coupon books, what activities will take place in stores and how to keep everything fresh and exciting. In fact, planning had begun prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. And while I’m so looking forward to attending Girls Night Out this November, I am also aware that all of the merchants on the waterfront are doing what they can to keep their businesses alive during this unusual time.
Ladies, WE can help them during this crisis! Even though many of these stores are currently closed, many are open for business online, phone call, or pick up. We can help by ordering out, buying online, or buying gift cards to use later. For the latest information on the current status of downtown waterfront businesses you can visit the Alliance website at https://www.gigharborwaterfront.org.
After 2 weeks of preparing, my girlfriends and I implement our Girls Night Out action plan.
These are very interesting days as we are navigating our new normal at this time. As I am looking forward to Girls Night Out again this year, I will continue to do my part to be safe and to support my community. This year, proceeds from the sale of the goodie bags will help support the recovery process from the COVID-19 health crisis and its impact on our wonderful downtown. In the meantime, I am looking forward to November and a fun filled day! Stay well, stay safe, and indeed, we are all in this together!