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New nonprofit hosts historical Langley Walkabout

Local history buffs will have the chance to test their knowledge this weekend at the Historic Langley Walkabout.

They could even win some free raffle tickets.

The Langley Main Street Association, which recently achieved its status as a nonprofit organization, will host its first official event at 11 a.m. Saturday in downtown Langley’s Boy and Dog Park.

The free event, aimed at celebrating Langley’s downtown area, includes a contest matching historical Langley photos with trivia, an antique car show from the Whidbey Island A’s club and classic American sing-a-long music from the South End Jammers.

Raffle tickets can be purchased until the photo contest begins at 11 a.m. by making a donation at Good Cheer Food Bank. The donation will be split between Good Cheer and the Langley Main Street Association.

Otherwise raffle tickets can be earned for free by participating in the walkabout photo contest.

The players will stroll through downtown and visit merchants where photos will be displayed, trying to match historical captions with the images.

Correct answers will earn them better odds at winning raffle prizes that include gift certificates to local restaurants, merchandise from retailers and overnight stays at a bed-and-breakfast.

“The key is to get people to walk around town, see the buildings, learn a little bit about them and then based on the number of answers you get, you get some free raffle tickets,” said Fred Lundahl, a member of the Langley Main Street Association and owner of the Music for the Eyes rug shop in Langley.

He added that the matching game “is not rocket science.”

After the raffle drawing at 2 p.m., Chris Jerome of the Port of South Whidbey will present designs for the harbor expansion, and the Kleiners, the new owners of the Dog House, will explain their plans to restore the tavern.

The day of activities leads up to the third annual DockStock music festival hosted by the Port of South Whidbey at the Langley Marina.

As the walkabout activities draw to a close, “we’ll all just let gravity take us down to the marina and party on ’til late at DockStock,” Lundahl said.

The Langley Main Street Association is one of more than 2,000 Main Street programs throughout the nation aimed at revitalizing downtown areas of small towns and preserving historical buildings.

“Small towns used to be magnets that attracted folks into town for shopping and food and for events and to hang out,” Lundahl said. “And, of course, since malls have sprung up across America and big box stores have sprung up, people have tended to gravitate away from the downtowns of small towns.”

The program encourages people to gravitate back to these areas through community events, beautification projects and historical preservation.

Eric Levine, who is organizing the walkabout, said his childhood inspired him to take on the project.

“One of the main reasons I moved to Langley was to recapture that sense of community that I felt as a boy growing up next to an old-fashioned, two-block shopping district in a small neighborhood in Seattle,” he said. “This project, a reflection of that vision, has been a combined effort with many people contributing their time and energies to a great cause.”

Lundahl said the program is successful because, as a nonprofit organization, donors investing in the projects get a tax deduction, and businesses that donate even receive a rebate on their Washington B&O tax.

For more information on the walkabout or to sign up to volunteer, call Levine at 221-8937.

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