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Jingle Bells gala event is Thursday

Local Girl Scouts are busy whipping up holiday treats for their bake sale at Thursday's Jingle Bells drawing. Brownie Scout Kelsey Berghuis taste-tests one of her sugar cookies...for inspection purposes only, of course.

Santa's coming early, with a sleigh full of gifts.

The 11th annual Jingle Bells Sweepstakes and community dinner festivities begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at Century School.

Jingle Bells distribution ended at the close of business hours Monday with last minute ticket drop-off accepted at the Chamber through Wednesday.

Due to rule changes this year, odds for winning are greater, Chamber exec Katie Magozzi reports.

One ticket has been given for each $10 purchase, up to a maximum of 10 per transaction this year. Last year, approximately 850,000 tickets were thrown into the pot. This year, winners will be drawn from an estimated 500,000 tickets.

Eleven winners will claim Jingle Bells prizes - one $5,000 grand prize with 10 ticket holders winning $500.

Also this year, a $500 cash prize will be awarded to the business that gave out the $5,000 winning ticket.

And arriving for the festivities Thursday holds more than just a delectable dinner served by Chamber Ambassadors.

Drawings for an "extensive array" of door prizes donated by area merchants will be awarded just to those attending, including Hafner's poinsettias. This is the first time door prizes will be claimed the evening of the event.

Winners of the Jingle Bells drawing, however, need not be present to win. Ticket holders have until Friday, Jan. 4 to claim prizes.

Girls Scouts have been at work in the kitchen creating cookies for a bake sale during the evening.

The Chamber Ambassador's dinner menu is cheesy potato soup, twice-smoked ham sandwiches, crackers and pop or coffee at $2.50.

Dinner sponsors are Midhaven Farms Secret Garden, J&B Foods, Coborn's, Nei Bottling and West Forty.

Santa will be on hand to hear Christmas requests.

Governor's Fishing Opener raffle tickets will be on sale.

And merriment will prevail.

Winning ticket numbers will be posted in the Park Rapids Enterprise, at and and at participating merchants and the Chamber. No ticket numbers will be available over the phone.