Eight community-led teams will pitch their idea for how to enliven N. State Street at Sustainable Connections' 2nd Annual KAPOW Design Competition on Thursday April 21. The event will be held at the Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial Street in Downtown Bellingham. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the presentation starts at 7 p.m.
Live audience voting will determine the People’s Choice Award, and Mayor Kelli Linville will pick Mayor’s Choice. A panel of judges representing the contest sponsors will select a third Superhero Award. Winners will receive funding from contest sponsorships, grants and event proceeds to help make the ideas a reality.
The contest, which is sponsored by Sustainable Connections, the City of Bellingham and the Whatcom County Association of Realtors, is a lighthearted and entertaining way of encouraging community members to share their artistic, interactive and inexpensive ways to make downtown Bellingham more entertaining and attractive. Last year, Dean Fearing's Night Market swept the Mayor's and People's Choice Awards and has since transformed Commercial Street with several evenings of vendors, music, and other live entertainment. The Shadow Sail Theater performance at the Lightcatcher Plaza also delighted children and adults alike last summer after being selected for the Superhero Award.
Several other projects from the inaugural 2015 KAPOW have become a reality thanks to community interest and sponsorships stemming from the event. These include the Bellingham Soapbox (recently installed on Railroad Avenue), the SynchroTree City light interactive light installation (Commercial Street), and the Big Chair (which made an appearance at this month's ArtWalk).
The event has a suggested donation of $10, and attendees who arrive in superhero costumes receive priority seating. Local breweries will offer beer for purchase and a DJ will be mixing music to further enhance the party-like atmosphere of the event.