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Winning tickets announced at annual Jingle Bells gala

Becket Sileo organizes his tickets and compiles a list of all the numbers. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)1 / 2
Dawn Penning, left, and Chris Nason organize their tickets - in hopes of winning - before the drawing begins. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)2 / 2

For one green ticket holder, Christmas comes a little early this year.

The $5,000 grand prize winner of the Jingle Bells sweepstakes has ticket number 5128487.

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the $10,000 cash prizes and second chance prizes Thursday at the annual gala celebration.

No winners were present for the cash prizes, however one winner claimed a ticket in one of the $1,000 categories, which means the drawings stopped after five tickets.

In each of the other categories, 10 tickets were drawn. If the first winning ticket is not claimed, then the second will win. If the second isn't claimed, then the third, and so on.

Santa Claus took the honor of drawing the tickets out of an oversized bin that housed more than 700,000 tickets.

The Jingle Bells gala was held at the Century School cafetorium, where a lot of disappointed voices were heard by attendees who were out of luck.

But many won door prizes and all kids present got to meet Santa and hang out with Parker, Park Rapids' mascot.

Chamber director Katie Magozzi introduced Parker at the gala saying that he's Santa's present to the community this year.

He comes from the North Pole, "where the elves engineered him," she said.

Parker will help guide residents and visitors of Park Rapids during the Main Avenue construction project. He will point to back door entrances as well as promote businesses of the area.

If only Parker could pay off some debt.

For the rest of the community counting on Jingle Bells tickets to pay off credit cards after the Christmas shopping season, there is still time to sort through the Jingle Bells tickets and claim winning numbers - but no later than Friday, Jan. 8.

Second chance prizes will be returned to businesses if not claimed by the deadline.