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Local merchants ramping up for Jingle Bells promo

Santa tries to fulfill requests. (Enterprise file photo)

By Nick Longworth

When summer fades into fall and the winter season creeps in, the holiday shopping season will soon begin.

And as sure as the weather will be cold, consumers around Park Rapids can count on the Jingle Bells program to add some incentive to their shopping season.

Running on the steam of over a decade of success (this will be the 12th season), the Jingle Bells program is a holiday-oriented campaign that promotes shopping locally as well as utilizing local merchants in town for holiday shopping needs.

“We like to think of it as providing an incentive to shopping within your community,” said Nicole Lalum, the newly appointed director of the Park Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

“It also helps gain awareness in other service industries as well. The program is open to any business in town that want to participate, whether they are a member of the Chamber of Commerce or not,” said Lalum.

The program has become a staple in the community since its inception. It has also become increasingly popular over the past few years, with over 400 people attending last year’s grand prize giveaway gala.

But don’t expect the same old stagnant event this year simply because of Jingle Bells’ lengthy tenure.

With community support being the only barrier, Lalum wants to make it even better this year.

“We have a completely new brand and logo. We’ll also be starting with a brand new ticket roll starting at #1,” said Lalum.

“Last year we had over 40 merchants participating at the gala and this year we are hoping for even more. The grand prize will be $5,000, followed by 10 - $500 winners. There will also be door prizes given away from participating merchants; some of these may even include mini facials, massages, gifts and gift packages,” said Lalum.

Still, even after such continuous yearly success, the purpose of the program remains participation, not profit.

“Maybe we’ll even have a silent auction. We don’t know for sure, but we want to make it fun, we’re not here to make a profit,” said Lalum.

The Jingle Bells promotion will run from Friday, Nov. 1 to Wednesday, Dec. 11 with the grand prize drawing being gala held on Thursday, Dec. 12 at the Century Middle School cafeteria.