Magic Fariy Hahna Luna entertains visitors on a recent Sunday as part of Langley’s “whalecome” to its Clipper ship passengers. Fred Lundahl adjusts one of the dozen small Christmas trees places around Langley.

Magic Fariy Hahna Luna entertains visitors on a recent Sunday as part of Langley’s “whalecome” to its Clipper ship passengers. Fred Lundahl adjusts one of the dozen small Christmas trees places around Langley.

Langley economy anchored by Clipper Christmas ship

Weekends filled with hundreds more shoppers

Whether the weather outside was frightful or brightful, shoppers by land and sea filled Langley’s stores and restaurants with lots of Christmas cheer and cash throughout December.

“The Clipper arrived with eager crowds both Saturdays and Sundays, with the weather not deterring the holiday spirit,” said Inge Morascini, executive director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce.

The Clipper Christmas Ship delivered hundreds of passengers to the Port of South Whidbey, where they were met with an offer to drive them up in a shuttle van to avoid walking up the steep hill from the marina.

This is the second year that Langley and the Clipper Vacations combined forces to feature a day-long trip from downtown Seattle to Langley.

Ship passengers had a five-hour window to explore, shop, eat, and try new experiences, such as glass blowing at Callahan’s Firehouse Glass Studio.

Some merchants reported a booming business with out-of-town guests, some said the ship passengers scared away locals and others were happy to point out the plus side of shoppers by sea.

“We have so many more people and they don’t take up all the parking spaces,” Callahan McVay observed after helping a mother and daughter duo from the Clipper ship make glass souvenirs.

Volunteer Fred Lundahl said he learned from chatting with Clipper passengers that many had never been to Langley. But they planned to return.

“I’d say about 90 percent of passengers on every trip had never been here before,” he said, “so it opens up a tremendous potential for return visitors.”

International visitors were also among Clipper Christmas customers.

Recently five South Korean “social media influencers,” accompanied Sherrye Wyatt of Island County Tourism. The following day, a large group of travel industry specialists from the United Kingdom arrived as part of an Aer Lingus contingent celebrating its new Dublin to Seattle route.

On the edge of downtown, Clipper passengers were greeted with Langley’s infamous “Whalecome to Whidbey” sign.

Huge cut-out black crows decorated with red bows lined the street as did several elf ambassadors ready with directions, suggestions and answers to various questions.

These tourist-friendly touches were added for the winter Clipper ship visitors after complaints of “not enough greeting bling” were heeded by the Chamber of Commerce.

A dozen small decorated Christmas trees scattered around the village also provided a new look. Nonprofit organizations decorated the trees in various themes in a contest sponsored by the chamber.

Store fronts and windows boasted the most bling of all.

Fair Trade Outfitters won top prize in Langley’s “Deck the Doors” annual holiday contest for merchants.

Fair Trade Outfitters won top prize in Langley’s “Deck the Doors” annual holiday contest for merchants.

Recycled Christmas lights used for a decoration at Wish by the Sea.

Recycled Christmas lights used for a decoration at Wish by the Sea.

Magic Fairy Hahna Luna entertains visitors on a recent Sunday as part of Langley’s “whalecome” to its Clipper ship passengers. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Magic Fairy Hahna Luna entertains visitors on a recent Sunday as part of Langley’s “whalecome” to its Clipper ship passengers. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

More in Life

Rich Murphy uses an old barn as a warehouse for a line of backpacks called Aarn that are designed in New Zealand and sold worldwide. Murphy and his wife, Genie, are the new North American distributers for the backpacks that emphasis balance and reducing strain while hiking. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)
                                Rich Murphy shows tandem packs that can attach to backpacks and be worn in front to help with balance. (Photos by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)
                                The backpacking equipment company called Aarn began when New Zealander founders Aarn Tate and Devi Benson began designing outdoor products to be more “body-comfortable.” The material is extremely tough but light and durable. The store’s balance bags run around $70 to $150 and the full backpacks $200 to $400.
Couple brings New Zealand packs to Whidbey Island

Distributors leap from buying outdoor gear to selling it

Spring into action

The snow has melted, the sun is out and noses are sniffling… Continue reading

Enchanted ecosystem

Wind-damaged tree offers Crescent Harbor Elementary School students an environmental lesson

Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times
A bicycle for Michaela

Oak Harbor High School robotics team puts skills to work for little girl

New service aims to deliver convenience

Crystal Aguilar is here to serve Whidbey — literally. She and her… Continue reading

Whidbey to revel in all things Irish this weekend

Shamrocks, shenanigans, corned beef, colcannon and more

Oak Harbor woman collects personal items for women in need

Gravity impacts everyone, but for women it can present its unique challenges.… Continue reading

New principal: Impactful teachers at elementary level are the ‘foundation’

When talking to Olympic View Ele-mentary School’s newly selected principal, her care… Continue reading

Musselfest madness

Town of Coupeville celebrates the blue and briny mollusk

Oak Harbor pianist has the keys to success

Alex Amick isn’t content to stay in his comfort zone. The Oak… Continue reading

Playhouse presenting ‘She Loves Me’ in April

Whidbey Playhouse in Oak Harbor will present “She Loves Me” April 5-28.… Continue reading

Plan for a wheel good time

Bicycle rides Musselfest weekend are fundraisers for Whidbey Island Bicycle Club