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Community Tree Lighting set to kick off holiday season

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is once again partnering with St. Joseph’s Area Health Services Hospice and the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association for the Community Tree Lighting and Yuletide Sampler to “Light up a Life” for hospice.

The event is scheduled to take place on Main Avenue with festivities kicking off at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29. As in previous years there will be caroling, a visit from Santa and the switch will be thrown to light up the tree.

“I’m just really excited to see the whole event,” says Nicole Lalum, the new director at the Chamber. “It sounds like such a Norman Rockwell moment for the Park Rapids community; that everyone can come together like that. I can’t wait to be a part of it this year.”

For 26 years, St Joseph’s Hospice has partnered with the Chamber to ”Light Up A Life” for Hospice, lighting the community Christmas tree in honor, in memory, and in thanks of loved ones. Each year, a bereaved hospice family represents St. Joseph’s Hospice during the ceremony, and this year the family of Marilyn Olson will be sharing their story.

The tree is donated by Steve and Glenda Johnson with Citizens National Bank and a lot of volunteers are taking time to get the tree moved to downtown early next week where it will be decorated in time for the event on Friday.

“This is a volunteer effort,” Lalum said. “And the enthusiasm with which everyone has met their tasks just shows me what a great community this is.”

The Yuletide Sampler begins at 5 p.m. as well and is an opportunity for attendees to visit local stores, sample some nibbles and start their holiday shopping.

People can begin to gather on Main Avenue at 5 p.m. as the sound of carols ring out. The program itself starts at 6 p.m. with the tree lighting and downtown Yuletide Sampler to follow.