Annual tree lighting to kick off 'Heart of the Holidays'

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association are bringing a new spirit to the holiday season. "Heart of the Holidays" is the all-encompassing theme promoting a community holiday spectacular with...

The Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association are bringing a new spirit to the holiday season.  “Heart of the Holidays” is the all-encompassing theme promoting a community holiday spectacular with numerous events planned to “Catch the Spirit of the Season.”  It’s a new approach to marketing Park Rapids events for the official start fo the Park Rapids holiday retail season featuring a “Norman Rockwell-esque” community tree lighting on Friday, Nov. 27.  

“What we’re doing with Heart of the Holidays is really bringing all things under one umbrella of promotion,” said Nicole Lalum, executive director of the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, “That way, no matter what you’re doing or what you’re interested in, you can check with us to find the information on what’s going on.”  The Chamber will offer “Love Local” buttons where participating businesses offer discounts to shoppers who display the holiday buttons. Along with the discounts to button wearers businesses will have gift card giveaways.  Other promotions include the Enterprise Christmas Card Promotion and the KK Radio Network Christmas Cash Promotion.

 Gone this year is the Jingle Bells promotion, retired by the Chamber in favor of this new Heart of the Holidays approach.  “The Chamber is a member-driven organization,” she said. “And based on our members’ feedback regarding Jingle Bells, we decided to take a break from the program.”

Lalum said in working with its members they came up with this new approach in the community that would better promote what businesses have to offer and highlight the level of service and variety of products right here in Park Rapids.  “We’re proud of the Heart of the Holidays retail events and believe community members will respond with enthusiasm to the promotion.”  

The season gets going in full swing with the Yuletide Sampler, Community Tree Lighting Ceremony and the dramatic arrival of Santa Claus on Friday, Nov. 27, downtown at Second Street and Main.  Visits with Santa Claus continue Dec. 5, 12 and 19 at Bella Caffe.  A few events under the Heart of the Holidays are happening to lead up to the Nov. 27 event. The Winter Wonderland Snowflake and Candy Canes Holiday Show was held last weekend at Century School to kick off the season.  The Park Rapids Area Community Band Concert is Sunday, Nov. 22, 3 p.m., at the high school auditorium and the inaugural Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk is scheduled for Nov. 26, 9 a.m. starting at the Essentia Health lobby.  


The Salvation Army Bell Ringers will be at various locations around town Nov. 27-Dec. 19.  Park Theatre will host Free Christmas Matinees starting Saturday, Nov. 28 and will take place each Saturday through Nov. 19. Donations of nonperishable food items for the Hubbard County Food Shelf are welcome.  “We’re very excited by the level of collaboration that we’ve held throughout planning for the holiday retail season in Park Rapids,” Lalum said. “With the Downtown Business Association, the newspaper and the radio stations, we’ve partnered well in coming up with a variety of promotions and multiple ways businesses can participate. We’re starting to establish that connection of ‘love local,’ showing what it means to the entire community when each person commits to spending their dollars where their heart is.”  Small Business Saturday is Nov. 28 with the Chamber and DBA promoting a love local, shop local theme.  

“The more we support local business, the more they can support our initiatives and the more the community as a whole can progress,” Lalum added.  Other events include the Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at Long Lake Theater Dec. 3-6 and Dec. 10-13; The Classic Chorale Christmas Concert, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 6, 3 p.m., at St. John’s Lutheran Church. CHI St. Joseph’s Health Auxiliary’s Christmas Sweets, Treats and Treasures at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church on Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Christmas Showcase, Dec. 17, 5 p.m. at Armory Square.  The Park Rapids Holly Ball Community Celebration also takes place Dec. 17, 5 p.m., at Armory Square. This event culminates grand prize giveaways announcements for all promotions.  

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