Get To Know the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association

BIDA provides public support in many ways: by building community through a vibrant downtown; facilitating local involvement in downtown interests; marketing the destination to visitors and locals; and promoting the aesthetic design and economic vitality of the downtown corridor. We partner with local businesses in marketing special offers and events throughout the year.

We acknowledge that the land on which we gather is within the aboriginal territory of the suqʼʷábš “People of Clear Salt Water” (Suquamish People). Expert fishers, canoe builders, and basket weavers, the suqʼʷábš live in harmony with the lands and waterways along Washington’s Central Salish Sea as they have for thousands of years. Here the suqʼʷábš live and protect the land and waters of their ancestors for future generations as promised by the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855. We pay respects to their elders past and present.

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As a Main Street America™ Accredited program, Bainbridge Island Downtown Association is a recognized leading program among the national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development. All Main Street America™ Accredited programs meet a set of National Accreditation Standards of Performance as outlined by the National Main Street Center.

Bainbridge Island is one of twelve historic downtowns designated by Washington’s Trust for Historic Preservation. BIDA assures that the community meets and exceeds the stringent guidelines for this program, and in 2012, BIDA won the Excellence on Main Street Award for Outstanding Achievement in Promotion. The program enables Bainbridge Island to participate in the Main Street B&O Tax Credit Incentive which gives B&O/PUT taxpayers such as many of our partners the ability to keep tax dollars in our community. The program has the potential to return $133,000 to our community in 2019. BIDA works with our state representation to support legislation to enhance the program; through our advocacy efforts with the Washington State Archaeological and Historical Preservation group, the 2017 Legislature raised the cap from $1.5m to $2.5, effective January 1, 2018. Learn more about Main Street America.

One of BIDA’s core initiatives is to develop and maintain solid relationships with the City of Bainbridge Island, the City Council and the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce to initiate and develop programs to enhance the economy of the island.

BIDA publishes and distributes the Bainbridge Island Downtown Walkabout Guide, which features a map of downtown, a current Washington State Ferries schedule, and key information about all of our Partner businesses and organizations. Categories include: Art; Eat & Drink; Museums; Play; Real Estate; Services; Shop; Stay; Tours & Transport; Wellness; Walkable Wine Tasting; and Beyond Downtown. 180,000 Walkabout Guides are distributed annually to 270 visitor locations, with an emphasis on key feeder markets like Seattle/King County hotels, Hotel Concierges, Ferries, Washington State Visitor Centers, Cruise and Ferry terminals, and local businesses.

BIDA also hosts concierge tours to assure those directing visitors our way have the latest information on our attractions, shopping, restaurants, festivals and events. The Seattle Concierge Guild and the Hotel Concierge Association are two of the largest referral networks for visitors to Bainbridge Island.

We work closely with many community partners to promote a vital local economy, including:

City of Bainbridge Island
Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center
Visit Bainbridge Island
Bainbridge Island Lodging Association/Destination Bainbridge
Rotary Club

With the generous support of community and business sponsors, each year BIDA produces several special events downtown. These have each in their own way become cherished community traditions that bring out hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of attendees to experience a bit of our small-town charm. All events are free to the public.

First Friday Art Walk: BIDA coordinates and promotes First Friday Art Walk each month to encourage locals to experience Downtown Bainbridge, and to promote the arts. This popular program has continued to grow and now has over thirty participating businesses, with attendance exceeding 400.

Girlfriends’ Day Out: Traditionally held the weekend before Mother’s Day, this event draws local and regional shoppers who look forward to celebrating spring and taking advantage of special promotions offered by local businesses.

July 3rd Street Dance: Over 15,000 locals and visitors attend this exciting annual event. Winslow Way is closed and three live bands perform from a raised stage. A popular DJ provides music for the younger fans, and food vendors offer a wide variety of meal choices.

Trick or Treat Downtown: Winslow Way closes from 6-8pm as 4,000 trick or treaters descend on downtown in costume to enjoy live music and treats distributed by local businesses.

Holiday Tree Lighting: BIDA produces six weeks of Holiday events including the annual Holiday Open House, Small Business Saturday, and the holiday tree and tree lighting ceremony, complete with Santa’s arrival via escort from the Bainbridge Island Fire Department, accompanied by Mrs. Claus and their Elves. A comprehensive Holiday Event Guide is direct mailed to all Bainbridge Island residents and distributed throughout Seattle and via Washington State Ferries.

Buy Local: BIDA created, produced and launched the “I Buy Bainbridge” campaign targeting locals and featuring a distinctive “98110” logo. The program continues to evolve and grow.

Banners and Kiosks: BIDA manages the over-the-street banner program and the downtown kiosk program in three locations to provide opportunities for local organizations to promote festivals and events.

Celebrate Bainbridge: BIDA partners with the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, City of Bainbridge Island and Rotary Club to promote a full range of summer events beginning with the annual Rotary Auction and ending with the July 4th Celebration and Parade. Light pole banners and promotions are jointly marketed via direct mail, social media and other channels to provide a full two weeks of exciting Island events celebrating summer.

Island Ambassadors: BIDA organizes and coordinates the summer Island Ambassador Program, whereby students are able to earn volunteer hours by interacting with visitors and locals. They disseminate current information and provide a friendly, welcoming presence.

Downtown Streetscape: BIDA developed a “streetscape” program, which provides plants, benches and flower baskets along the main street, Winslow Way, and some adjoining areas.

BIDA provides public support by building community through a vibrant downtown; facilitates local involvement in downtown interests, markets the destination to visitors and locals; and promotes the aesthetic design and economic vitality of the downtown corridor.

BIDA publishes and distributes the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association Walkabout Guide. 180,000 Walkabout Guides are distributed annually to 270 visitor locations, with an emphasis on key feeder markets such as Seattle/King County hotels, Hotel Concierges, Ferries, Washington State Visitor Centers, Cruise and Ferry terminals and local businesses.

BIDA partners with several local tourism organizations such as the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, the Bainbridge Island Lodging Association, and Visit Bainbridge Island, which supports all of these groups. Visit Bainbridge Island  promotes and develops itineraries and outreach to strategic partners, with the goal of promoting business to the Island during off-peak months of November through April. Target markets include Seattle conventions, Destination Management organizations, conferences and visitors from all market segments.

We continue to develop strategies to help Partners remain viable in changing times. The focus is on the experience of an Historic Main Street.

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