Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home
Macy's, Bon Marche building, The Bon, Thanksgiving, holiday star, Seattle, Washington, USA, fotoeins.com

Seattle: Thanksgiving holiday star & fireworks

As a wae lad, I was fascinated by comparative branding and marketing, and that’s how I got to thinking about the differences and similarities between Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company in greater Vancouver and the American Bon Marché in Bellingham and Seattle. But I don’t ever recall a tradition of lighting a star for October/Canadian Thanksgiving.

In downtown Seattle, a grand building opened in 1929 for the locally-owned Bon Marché department store, operating for over 7 decades until “The Bon” became Macy’s in 2005. A holiday star designed by Bob James in 1957 would become a fixture for the city and her residents. In September 2019, Macy’s declared the downtown Seattle location would be closing at the end of February 2020. At the time, the announcement included no plans for lighting the holiday star.

However, the star looks to be coming back for one more (final?) illumination, as a local lighting company agreed to refurbish and reassemble the star in time for the 2019 Thanksgiving season. Festivities occur Friday November 29, beginning with the annual Thanksgiving parade followed by the star’s lighting and fireworks.

•   MyNorthwest, 27 Nov 2019.


Lighting up memories from 2016

We witnessed the lighting ceremony in 2016; some images and video are provided below. At around 330pm, we arrived to Westlake Park (4th Avenue and Pine Street) where spectators began to gather next to Seattle Police barricades put up for neighbouring demonstrations earlier in the day. Crowds increased over the next two hours as overcast skies darkened with sunset passing into dusk. At about 525pm began a slow lighting of the star, ending with fireworks over the building.

Fireworks, you say?

Oooooooh … aaaaaaah …

For its historic commercial and architectural significance, the Bon Marché building was declared official landmark by the city of Seattle in 1989. The building has also been inscribed onto the U.S. National Register of Historic Places since 2016. Another detailed history of the building can be found at HistoryLink dot org.

Macy's, Bon Marche building, The Bon, Thanksgiving, holiday star, Seattle, Washington, USA, fotoeins.com

340pm at the holiday star, northwest corner of 4th Avenue and Pine Street.

Macy's, Bon Marche building, The Bon, Thanksgiving, holiday star, Seattle, Washington, USA, fotoeins.com

Holiday star, its core bright like a beacon.

Macy's, Bon Marche building, The Bon, Thanksgiving, holiday star, Seattle, Washington, USA, fotoeins.com

At around 525pm, the star’s illumination begins, as each ray gets a charge.

Macy's, Bon Marche building, The Bon, Thanksgiving, holiday star, Seattle, Washington, USA, fotoeins.com

Bob James designed this holiday star in 1957 for Bon Marché, known locally as “The Bon”.

Macy's, Bon Marche building, The Bon, Thanksgiving, holiday star, Seattle, Washington, USA, fotoeins.com

Flares on the roof accompany the illuminated star; short video of fireworks below.

Macy's, Bon Marche building, The Bon, Thanksgiving, holiday star, Seattle, Washington, USA, fotoeins.com

The fully illuminated holiday star, from 4th Avenue and Pike Street.


Fireworks, in 2 minutes


I made the video and photos above on 25 Nov 2016 with a Canon 6D mark 1. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-g7i.

•   Amazon on top floors “over” Macy’s, more than symbolic? 30 Sep 2019.
•   Macy’s closure: KOMO4 (28 Sep 2019), KIRO7 (30 Sep 2019), Seattle P-I (3 Oct 2019).
•   The Bon building, as no. 5480 in Pacific Coast Architecture Database (PCAD).

7 Responses to “Seattle: Thanksgiving holiday star & fireworks”

  1. Marie

    I always enjoyed the star when I lived in Seattle. Too bad Macy’s has been the death of the local department stores and is now closing many of its downtown locations. Hopefully, the star will live on for many more years.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Marie. Recent moves to online shopping (e.g., Amazon) and the ongoing diversion of shoppers from city centres to suburban malls can help explain why flagship department stores aren’t as successful as they once were in years past. I have some fond memories of downtown stores here in Vancouver. As for the holiday star, I hope the star finds a new home and the annual Thanksgiving tradition of lighting the star can continue for years to come. Thanks again for stopping by and for your comment!

      Like

  2. pattimoed

    Wonderful post, Henry. The star in your first image is fantastic. I enjoyed the video, too. Have a great holiday–if you’re celebrating the American one!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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