Good Time Girls: Sharing local history, sin-and-gin style

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Beneath a sky fleeced in the sort of grayish cowl that usually begets the inevitable press of spring rain, a small crowd of people stood assembled at the stoop of the recently defunct Time In Play Caf . Amiably milling about, bodies bent against the minute bluster rolling off the bay. Traipsing up the street, hems of skirts dangerously flapping in the breeze, arrived a pair of ladies. Warmly introducing themselves as Annie Jo and Maggie Pearl, respectively, we were informed that we would shortly be embarking on an hour-long tour of some of Bellingham’s saloon-era historical locations. Turning down Holly Street, braced against wind in the stiff architecture of their corsets, they lead the way.

The pair of ladies in question are the conceiving duo of one of Bellingham’s most interesting and rapidly growing small businesses, the Good Time Girls. Known more commonly by their full names, Sara Holodnick and Marissa McGrath, the Good Time Girls hope to show some of the foundations of Bellingham’s past and invigorate the downtown scene. “Part of our mission… is to just try to do more to bring more people to do more things, downtown,” McGrath stated.

The tours are currently a mile long, starting around Old School Tattoo and ending at the waterfront, Bellingham’s former redlight district. Along the way, all kinds of interesting facts and historical tidbits are dispensed, buoyed on the verbose personas of Annie Jo and Maggie Pearl. The evening is capped off with a drink and a bit of merry making.

The Good Time Girls represent a chance for profound discussion about the history of our bayside community. “Bellingham was built by all kinds of people. Prostitutes and loggers are an important part of that too,” Holodnick said.. With Both Holodnick and McGrath holding degrees in the social sciences, they also see the Good Time Girls as an opportunity to talk about issues related to women, without some of the current political charge.

With an increase in tour demand (often times reaching the maximum capacity of 20 guests for their Friday night excursions), the Good Time Girls are expanding both their business and historical scope. Previously covering more information in a single downtown tour, the Good Time Girls will soon make this into two, offering the current downtown expedition and a separate tour centered exclusively in Fairhaven. To accommodate this increased load, Holodnick and McGrath have hired four tour guides. Holodnick and McGrath will mainly cover the Downtown outings, while the newly hired guides will be in charge of the Fairhaven trips.

Even more, though, is planned by the dynamic duo. An all ages tour will begin in mid June, “which will definitely be really interesting but we will not be saying f#!$, or talking about syphilis,” joked McGrath. “There’s tons of interesting stuff you could tell your grandmother, or your niece,” she continued.

Also, while the downtown and Fairhaven outings take place mainly in the fairer seasons of spring and summer, an October tour, aptly named Gore and Lore, will focus on the variously terrible murders and possible hauntings in our city. The hope is to eventually expand this tour to the Fairhaven area as well.

Already working with Hammerhead Coffee, who offer the Good Time Girls’ morning-after brew, the dream is to connect further and deeper with other interested businesses and parties, especially in the downtown area.

Tickets for the tours are available through the online service Brown Paper Tickets. The alternative is showing up and trying your hand at purchasing a ticket at the outset of the guided expedition, however some guests are turned away because of maximum participants. For more information, visit goodtimegirlsbham.com, or their Facebook page at facebook.com/goodtimegirls.